Susiesharp's 75+ 2013 Reading
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#1-Touch & Go by, Lisa Gardner
Release date Feb.5th, 2013
I was lucky enough to receive an early review copy from Netgalley & Dutton Publisher
Lisa Gardner cements her title as the queen of suspense this is another edge of your seat, keep you guessing, oh why didn’t I see that coming, kind of book.
It was great to see Tessa Leone again (I would highly recommend reading Love You More before this book so you understand Tessa’s background) it was a nice follow up so we we’re able to see how her and her daughter are doing since the events in Love You More. Tessa is now working for a private security firm and one of their top clients seems to be missing and not just him, his whole family.
As always with Lisa Gardner’s books it is very hard to review without giving anything away, but I will try…I really enjoyed Tessa in this one and her interaction with Wyatt a small town sheriff whom I also really liked and hope to see more of the two of them in future. We get a little touch of DD but that was all that was needed, I will admit to hoping when the FBI swooped in it might be one of the Quincy’s but no such luck! Then there is the kidnapped family who we get to know intimately flaws and all and you can’t help but hope everything works out for them. The kidnappers are interesting too she doesn’t give us cardboard cutouts but fleshed-out characters who we also get to know. As I said Lisa Gardner knows how to write a great suspense filled novel, I was up until 2 am for a few nights in a row and had to force myself to go to bed because I didn’t want to stop reading!
Another hit for Lisa Gardner highly recommend!
4 ½ stars
#2-Christmas at Eagle Pond by, Donald Hall
This is a short novella about a young man’s/boy’s Christmas at his grandparent’s farm in 1940 it is literally just a slice of life, he talks about working on the farm and milking cows and talks with his grandfather it is a nice story but I guess I kept waiting for more to happen but nothing happens it is just a snippet of time that takes you back to a slower easier time. I liked the ending and could feel the snow and smell the farm, and I too wanted a ride in the sleigh.
I enjoyed the postscript by the author of what this event in his life really was, make sure you read all the way to end the end to get the rest of the story.
A charming nostalgic tale I would recommend for a read around Christmas.
3 ½ stars
I received this from netgalley & the publisher for a fair and honest review
Hi Susie, just dropping by to place my star, I'm looking forward to following your reading again this year.
Speaking of wonderful things, I have come across this meme on various threads and love all the different responses. I remember doing this at the beginning of last year as well. All the answers are filled in by using book titles of books read in 2012. Thanks DeltaQueen50/Judy for reminding me of this one!
Describe how you feel: A Grown-up Kind of Pretty
Describe where you currently live: Beyond the Bougainvillea
If you could go anywhere, where would you go?: Heading Out To Wonderful
Your favorite form of transportation: Sky Dragons
Your best friend is: Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend
You and your friends are: Timeless
What's the weather like?: Winter Shadows
You fear: Ashen Winter
What is the best advice you have to give?: This One and Magic Life
Thought for the day: Stay Close
How I would like to die: Ready Player One
#3-The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis Narrated by, Adenrele Ojo , Bahni Turpin, Adam Lazarre-White
I have never been one for Oprah’s books usually a sticker saying she picked it makes me run the other way but this one sounded like one I’d really enjoy…however…
I am not sure what to say about this book it is well written but the choppiness of all the stories made it a little hard to follow, it seemed like just when you were starting to care about one of Hattie’s children the story would jump to another. Also Hattie was not that likeable it doesn’t seem like she was a good mother or that August was a good father or that they were good together. It seemed like losing those first 2 babies turned Hattie’s heart to stone yet she went on to have more and more children and didn’t seem to love any of them all that much. Also each of these children is extremely flawed and I think the author is saying it is the way they were raised but it seemed no one rose above no one did better it seemed that the poverty that gripped Hattie gripped her children too and it set them down paths to unhappiness. I’m sure this is a realistic depiction of some families and how circumstance will mark you forever but I think I would have liked this story much better if even one these children had been given a happy ending of some kind. Also the ending was so abrupt I thought I had missed downloading a part.
The audio production: this book was narrated by, Adenrele Ojo, Bahni Turpin,& Adam Lazarre-White I have only listened to Bahni before and I am a huge fan, I was also very impressed with the other two narrators they both did a great job but Adam Lazarre-White was hands down the new narrator find for me he is fabulous reminded me a lot of Dion Graham he has that silky low voice but Adam’s had a little more gravel to it which I really enjoyed I will be looking for more narrated by all these narrators!
I would read another book by this author because her writing was very good but this book was just kind of middle ground for me.
5 Star Narration
#4- Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing by Megan Smolenyak
I found this book interesting but I do want to stress this book will not tell you how to search on your own it is written by a veteran genealogist about some of the cases she has worked on. Okay now that I have that out of the way… this book was with fun all the stories and history.
I found it very interesting that the First Lady Michelle Obama’s family only took 3 generations to go from slaves to the white house I found that fascinating because I come from a family that had 5 generations living for many years as I was growing up.
The unclaimed person’s chapter and the ones about finding soldiers families were probably my favorite chapters because bringing these people home to their families is a wonderful project even when some of these families didn’t even know they had these relatives.
The author’s research is very thorough and I found the chapter about the tombstone fascinating, what she had to go through to get this tombstone where it belonged.
I was fascinated by all the DNA testing I am a fan of Who Do You Think You Are? & PBS Finding Your Roots and would love to have the ancestral composition done just for my own curiosity and may spring 100 bucks to 23andme to get that and be entered into the database.
If you are interested in other people’s history and like seeing how family can be found I would recommend this book.
3 ½ Stars
#5-Frozen by Mary Casanova
I really liked the character of Sadie Rose, she is a tough cookie but I also liked that we saw this softer side as her memories of when she was young came crashing down on her, the memories of the night her mother died and she almost froze to death in a snowbank but that night she not only lost her mother but her voice too but that was eleven years ago and now Sadie is having flashes of both memory and voice and the memories are not at all what she expected.
Of course you kind of have a little inkling of the truth behind what happened to Sadie’s mother but I didn’t care I wanted to see how the story played out. I liked Sadie’s journey from mute half prisoner to talking woman of the world. The awful truths about herself and her mother and father could have easily done a person in but not Sadie Rose they only made her stronger. I loved the other characters in this especially Hans & Aasta they were my favorites. My only small problem with the story is I’m not sure at the end if (hmm how do I saw this without a spoiler) …if things would have worked out so quickly or would more of a fight been put up or that that was enough “justice” for her parents. ( Read the book and hopefully that sentence will make sense to you).
This was a great young adult historical fiction set not that far from my home I thought the author did a great job at evoking the time and place in this book I just think the ending will be a problem for some people (I was a little iffy on it myself) but overall I enjoyed this book and would read others by this author as I very much enjoyed her writing. This would have been a solid 4 but the ending felt a bit rushed and not as believable as I had hoped.
3 ½ stars
I received this book from netgalley & University Of Minnesota Press for a fair and unbiased review
#6-City of Women by David R. Gillham, narrated by, Suzanne Bertish
There was so much sex in this book that it really took away from what could have been a fascinating story about the women of Berlin during the war this book had it all, hiding Jews, the SS coming to search your home but the real story of the time seemed to get lost in all the sex these women were having. There are times when I was really enjoying the suspense of the story and it’s really good then she says something like kiss me to whoever will listen and it just takes me out of the story because it’s so farfetched that while all this stuff is happening that she would say it. I know I sound like such a prude and really I’m not but I am one that would rather not have a description of body parts or who was on top of whom I’m more of a, they went in the bedroom and closed the door type of person and my own imagination can fill in the blanks.
BUT I did like this book I just wish there had been more of the historical story and less sex. I had to keep listening I needed to know Sigrid’s fate and the fate of all the people she has been helping. I did really like her story I’ve read plenty of books about England during the war but never one about Berlin and the women left behind, I hope that the parts about them helping Jews and not totally buying into the Fuhrers beliefs were true but I’m just not sure they had as much sex as the author would like us to believe. Ok enough talk about the sex.
I will say I liked this story, and as I said was fascinated by the setting of Berlin during WWII it makes you wonder how many Germans had Jewish friends, lovers, neighbors and the choices they had to make about these people in their lives would you choose what Sigrid’s mother in law did or what I feel is even more reprehensible what Egon did. But you can’t really judge what you would do in this situation because unless you are there with the threats over your head you have no idea what you would do. I am hoping everything turned out in the end *no spoilers*.
I loved Suzanne Bertish’s narration of this, her voice is like a cross between Lauren Bacall and Ingrid Bergman so throughout this book the images in my head were like an old black & white movie and Sigrid was played my Lauren Bacall and all the other women were Ingrid Bergman. I would definitely listen to this narrator again I truly enjoyed her narration! (PS if you don’t know who I am talking about in this paragraph you need to tune into TCM more often or find the Big Sleep starring Bogie & Bacall and the movie Gaslight for Ingrid Bergman).
3 ½ stars
I received this book from the librarything early reviewer program but fell behind on my reading and ended up buying it on audio.(which I am so glad I did!)
I love seeing what you are reading. Not that I have a shortage of books I want to read, but there is always something good here.
I've got to learn to read faster.
#7-Little Bee by, Chris Cleave narrated by, Anne Flosnik
“People wonder how they are ever going to change their lives, but really it is frighteningly easy.”
This was a beautiful story and I fell in love with Little Bee, her attitude on life ,the storyteller and the scars were such beautiful metaphors for life be happy you survived and don’t let what happened to you dictate your whole life. I loved this quote;
I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.”
I liked the way the author made these distinctions in language and speech the way Charlie puts things and the halting way Little Bee talks I thought said volumes about these characters (see below how great this is on audio!). When Little Bee changed her name I thought she changed it to something beautiful and strong and she picked it herself and for me it felt like her first step to freedom, a freedom she never stopped believing she would have I think that’s what I loved about her she is a survivor but she doesn’t just survive she lives. I also enjoyed what she said about proverbs where if she tells a little story then says “that is a proverb in my country” people will suddenly shake their head yes, yes and look solemn. This cracked me up because I could see this working!
I kind of wish there hadn’t been the Lawrence storyline, I guess it made Sarah more human? more flawed? But maybe I didn’t like this storyline because I didn’t like Lawrence, even though we never really get to know Andrew I can’t help thinking he was a better person than Lawrence could ever be but that’s just my opinion of him. Andrew was such a huge part of the story yet we never really get to know him we only have the reasons the people left behind have deduced as to why he died the way he did we never get to hear from him what led him to that end. There I times Sarah does annoy me it’s in the little things it gets a little better in the scene with Charlie at the river but then she rides off and I felt just leaves Little Bee to fend for herself with the police. I felt she was at times self-centered but then there were times of such huge compassion Sarah was kind of an enigma there were times I liked her and many times I didn’t.
I loved Charlie/Batman too I felt so sorry for him but I loved watching his relationship with Little Bee grow and couldn’t help wondering if this growing relationship was one of the reasons when Sarah thought about sending Little Bee away is that she was jealous with no one to blame but herself.
Audio production: I not only fell in love with Little Bee I fell in love with her narrator Anne Flosnik ,she was perfect in her narration, her voices for Little Bee, Sarah and Charlie were fantastic I thought she did great on Little Bee’s broken Queen’s English and the odd way Charlie talked was that much more enhanced by her narration, her accents and inflections were so great! I will be looking for many more from this wonderful narrator!
4 Star book
5 Star narration
Hi Susie, you've been reading some really interesting books this month. The last couple are already on my list, but I have no idea when I will get to them. I love participating in the 2013 Category Challenge but it doesn't leave much, if any, room for spontaneous choices.
#8-Unloched by Candice Lemon-Scott
When I finished this book all I could think was Meh that was a waste of my time. I think this could have been a good book, but first you tell us these twin girls had this great bond, then when something awful happens to the one sister the other sister sees it very differently and they pretty much never speak again. In the synopsis of this book it says the truth is finally revealed, well not so much. I also couldn’t understand why as Trina got older why she didn’t see what happened that day differently/truthfully and realize she had hated the wrong person that day. And the ending was so abrupt I wanted to see the reconciliation not this vague did they make up or die I’m just not sure. This book was easily put down it never grabbed me and took me forever to read this very short novella.
I’m just going to stop there give it a try maybe you will like it better than I did but for me it was just Meh!
1 & 1 1/2 Stars-Meh don't bother not worth your time
I received this from netgalley and the publisher for a fair and honest review.
#9-The Old Buzzard Had It Coming by, Donis Casey narrated by, Pam Ward
I requested this title from the Audiobookjukebox to review because of the title and I enjoy cozy mysteries, I did expect it to be a little more fun (because of the title) I expected more humor, it was also very formulaic.
I enjoyed the characters, Alafair was fun and I liked the setting of place and time and thought it was well done in taking us into a different time. As I said this was a little predictable we of course know that Alafair will figure out who killed the old buzzard and there were the usual red herrings. I enjoyed the different people in town from both sides of the track.
This is the first book in a series and I would get the second book and just hope it gives a bit more meat to the story. I did enjoy getting to know Alafair and her family and I do look forward to reading about them again.
There were times Pam Ward’s narration reminded me of Lorna Raver but not quite as good. She did do a good job at all the different voices and I would listen to her narration again. I just couldn’t help the Lorna Raver comparisons.
The Old Buzzard Had It Coming -- you gotta love the title whether or not the book itself is a favorite.
#10-Agatha Raisin and Vicious Vet by M. C. Beaton narrated by, Diana Bishop
I haven’t read the first book in this series so I do think I was missing a little bit of background on Agatha, honestly I’m not sure what I thought of her, some things I learned about her in this book, she is looking for a man, she thinks every man should fall in love with her and she wants to wear a bikini. Now this last one had me confused because the narrator of this book sounded older and I’m not sure how old Agatha is supposed to be but certain things she does and says didn’t feel right for the voice narrating this audiobook.
Diana Bishop narrated this version and I enjoyed her voice and her cadence of the piece I’m just not sure if she sounded too old for Agatha or if I have Agatha’s age all wrong. But I wouldn’t hesitate to listen to this narrator again.
I liked how the Cotswold village was almost it’s own character and I did enjoy the very British feel of this one, I think if you are a fan of cozy mysteries and are a bit of an anglophile I think you will enjoy this series. There are some funny moments, and this is a cute little cozy in a series that I have been meaning to try, I did enjoy this and may read more of them in the future but it didn’t make me want to run out and get the next one immediately.
LibraryThing is very confident that I probably won't like this series, but it does sound like something I'd enjoy when I'm in the mood for something cozy.
I love to see what LT thinks I'll like and what I won't but I take their predictions with a grain of salt. Thanks for putting this series on my radar, susiesharp.
#11-Received from netgalley
Publication date : February 12, 2013
Out of The Easy by, Ruta Sepetys
This book was so hard to put down, it grabbed me immediately and didn’t let go till the very last page and I was sad it was over. In New Orleans in 1950 we meet Josie she lives above the bookshop she works in but she didn’t always live there, she used to live with her mother at a brothel her mother still lives there, Josie started sleeping in the bookshop after she had had enough of the icky men and her mother stealing from her. When her boss Charlie figured out she was sleeping at the shop he put a room together for her and she has lived there ever since.
I loved Josie, her spirit was great and her dreams big, she wants to go to Smith College but can the poor daughter of a prostitute be accepted to a fancy school like that? But Smith College is expensive if she is accepted where will she get the money. Josie wants this so bad that she gets herself if a few situations that found me screaming at the book and hoping beyond hope that certain things don’t happen to her!
The supporting characters in this book are such a memorable bunch including her mother’s Madam Willie who is actually more of a mother to Josie than her own mother ever could be. The driver Cokie who always believed in his Josie girl and even gambled his own money to try to help her pay for college because he had no doubt she’d be accepted he was one of my favorites in this book. Then we have the 2 boys, Patrick, Charlie’s son who knows all of Josie’s secrets but does she know all his? And Jessie, badboy mechanic with a somewhat similar upbringing to Josie and will do anything for her. Then there is Josie’s mother what a piece of work this woman is she makes you cheer for Josie even more once you get to know her!
I truly enjoyed this book and will be recommending it to anyone and everyone young adults to adults will enjoy this book, I have already pre-ordered this for our library. I will now be going back and reading Ruta Sepetys first book and will be looking forward to anything else this author writes!
4 ½ Stars
The author has a great video on her site about how this book came about check it out here http://rutasepetys.com/books/out-of-the-easy/
#12-Fever: A Novel by, Mary Beth Keane
Published by, Simon & Schuster, Inc. Scribner
Pub Date Mar 12 2013
We have all heard of Typhoid Mary, but do any of us really know her story I know I didn’t. This is historical fiction so I’m sure liberties were taken in the telling of the story but that did not in any way stop this from being a fascinating read. Mary is an Irish immigrant, a cook and lives with a man without being married to him, so even before the Dept. of health comes for her she has a few strikes against her, it being the very early 1900’s. The author not only tells us about Mary but also gives a slice of life of New York City in the early 1900’s, the class structure, the housing, the jobs and even a horrifying glimpse at the triangle fire.
When Mary is first approached by Dr. Soper, you can’t help but wonder as she did if he is just making this all up to make a name for himself and using Mary for his own ends and honestly right up to the very end I wasn’t sure, was it just coincidence that some of the families Mary worked for got sick, people were getting sick elsewhere too so how was it Mary’s fault? This is just one of the questions that will really make you think while reading this book. I still don’t quite understand why Mary only infected people when she was cooking and how that didn’t happen every single time she cooked, she cooked for many families that never got sick. Even though Mary isn’t the most likeable person in the world you still can’t help but feel for her, here she is doing her job living her life and out of nowhere comes this man who calls himself a doctor telling her she is infecting people with typhoid and should come with him for tests. Now in the 1900’s or 2000’s what woman is going to take this man’s word and just go away with him, I too would have thought he was nuts!
When Mary is picked up by the police on Dr. Soper’s orders she fights it, she just can’t understand, she is not sick so how can she be passing it on to others, and you can’t help but sympathize with her, would you have thought any different? When she is taken to North Border (a small island with a hospital with TB patients) which was something I couldn’t understand, was Mary immune to every disease out there? Why weren’t they worried about her catching TB when they put in the hospital there? They did eventually build her a cabin, which would have said to me guess what you’re not leaving! Mary is fighting all of this tooth and nail and still I couldn’t help but empathize with her. She finally gets a lawyer who is trying to get her released , but all the doctors that testify during the court proceeding seem to make Mary out as feral child who needs supervision or a wanton murderer making people sick on purpose, and of course there is always a dig about her living arrangements. Needless to say this court hearing doesn’t go in Mary’s favor so she is hauled back to North Border.
A couple years later when she is finally released there are very specific stipulations, No Cooking, and she must check in with the Dept. of health every three months. Well we have learned by now how stubborn Mary is and she doesn’t believe anything these doctors are saying about her, she is good for a little while but she does love to cook and one thing leads to another and Mary does go back to cooking and everything is fine for awhile until things aren’t anymore and Mary finally has to face the facts of her life.
Mary and her live-in boyfriend Alfred have a volatile relationship and is on again off again whenever he gets to drinking too much, but Mary loves him, this was just an added element of this book to tell us of her relationship but it was a good story even if their relationship was dysfunctional, it tells us about Mary and what kind of woman she was.
I could not stop reading this book and am now going to read some others about Mary because I found her and her case fascinating. I am left with some question; Do you think this kind of thing could happen now? Do you think it does? How do you think the press would have handled this situation in the present day? Would you have thought as Mary did? Or would you have seen the truth and not gone back to cooking? It is really hard to step into someone’s shoes and say well I would have handled this differently, I would have listened to the doctors (when actually Soper was NOT a doctor) or would you have vehemently denied it like Mary did, I myself would have run as Mary ran when they first tried to bring her in, and when you have been completely isolated from everything and everyone you know and held a virtual prisoner, when in your mind there is nothing wrong with you would you have gone back to the job you loved?
Ok, can you tell I loved this book and that it really brought up so much to think about, I think this book will become a must have for bookclubs , and I will be recommending to anyone who asks (or doesn’t) for my opinion. This book tells a great and fascinating story, gives a great “feel” for the time period and setting and will leave you thinking about it for a long time after you are done.
What are you waiting for? Go pre-order this one NOW!
I received this book from Netgalley and the publisher Simon & Schuster
I haven't been reading much this week because I am in the South! I am on vacation in Thibodaux, Louisiana been to a couple Mardi Gras parades and some plantations so having a real southern experience!
That sounds like so much fun! I visited New Orleans only once ant that was years ago, but would not enjoy it at Mardi Gras time -- too many people for my non-crowd-loving self.
Thanks I had a great time!! Hard to come back to the cold and everyday life wish I could have had another week!
#13-The White Forest by Adam McOmber narrated by, Susan Duerdan
I will be honest with you I listened to this book right before I went on vacation and now a week and half later there is not much I remember about this book except that the narration was great. So that should say something right?
This book grabbed me right away with its atmosphere and gothic feel, and then towards the end lost me. I liked Jane’s story …
Above are the only notes I made other than about the fabulous narration.
So I went back and looked at other reviews and synopsis’ to try to jog my memory but honestly I just remember being a bit disappointed in the ending, as I said it grabbed me right away then let go and I think that is where my memory of this book ends. It seems I liked the way the author wrote so I would try another one by him. I also seem to remember being disappointed with the reveal of The Empyrean and the whole love triangle (if you even want to call it that) but really that’s about all I remember about this story. So I will stop trying to remember and just say give it a try it does have great atmosphere and maybe I just read it at the wrong time, the narration alone is worth the listen!
Susan Duerdan’s narration of this book was fantastic, all of her characterizations, accents and pacing were spot on and were consistent throughout the book. She did a great job at bringing this book and characters to life including a young French boy, along with the many other characters effortlessly. She has earned a spot on my list of narrators I will get on audio instead of paper book.
2 ½ Star Book
5 Star Narration
#14-The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James narrated by, Pamela Garelick
This is a straight up ghost story, with gothic undertones.
Sarah Piper gets a job through a temp agency working for a ghost hunter; Sarah is broke so she takes the job even though she’s not sure what kind of oddities she will run into. Soon Sarah is flung into a situation that was not covered on her resume; she ends up being the only person that can actually see the ghost of Maddy Clare not just feel her presence as others have said they do, but Maddy not only allows Sarah to see her she also gives her visions of what happened her and why she hates men and is seeking revenge. Once I knew Maddy’s story I was all for rooting for the ghost!
Of course, there had to be a romance angle, which I didn’t think added much to the book, maybe that’s because I wasn’t too impressed with Matthew and thought he was kind of a jerk. I wish this storyline hadn’t even been in there.
Even though what happened to Maddy is pretty easy to figure out and who the culprits were was pretty plain, I still liked this story because Maddy had some serious ghost skills, she could make people believe they were walking in her shoes, or send someone inside their minds to fight with their own demons, she could kill and maim, and burn stuff down she is pretty bad ass.
Pamela Garelick was a new to me narrator and I thought she did a good job, there was distinct differences in each character so you always knew who was talking. She has a husky English accent that I enjoyed listening to and I would look for other books she narrated.
If you enjoy a good ghost story I would give this book a try!
3 ½ stars
Full disclosure: I received this audiobook from the Audiobookjukebox and the publisher for a fair and honest review.
#15-Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz
This was a very interesting story it is fiction but the author says at the end that it was inspired by the true events of one man’s life. I chose this book because of the description saying he had survived 10 different concentration camps which fascinated me; however there were times when the descriptions of these different camps left a lot to be desired the first camp we got more of a feel of what he went through. Then the salt mines was only 7 pages long and it never really says just how long he was there, it felt like this section was only there to tell you what happens to Judenrats.
In Birkenau when Yanek is taken straight to the showers but only water comes out because the Nazi’s like playing games, I’m just not sure if this is something that really happened often? Also he says that he was in Birkenau for a couple months but this section is only about 20 pages.
In Auschwitz when he is getting into the train station and sees the new prisoners still in their own clothes and carrying luggage, still believing that everything will be ok, this was a powerful visual of the prisoners who were dirty and skeletal and these new people thinking that would never be them.
Once he is leaving Auschwitz to walk to the next camp, they are hearing more allied troops getting closer hoping they will come rescue you but seeing things just get worse and worse.
Yanek was told by his Uncle Mosche to be invisible and to not show caring for anyone lest it be used against you Yanek held that belief throughout all the camps only going against it a couple times and it seemed that every time he went against it something awful happened. I also can’t help but wonder how those words followed him throughout his life after surviving the camps.
I think this would have been an even more compelling book if the author had gone into more detail of each camp, as it is, it is one story from each camp, like that is the only thing that happened the whole time he was there. But I did learn new things I never realized they moved prisoners so often (or at least this book makes it seem like they do). Also this is a book for young people so maybe the shorter stories are better but I still wish there had been a little more to it.
In the afterward we find out that Yanek now Jack survived, went to America and was drafted into the Korean War all I could think was wow hasn’t he been through enough you’d think he’d be exempt! Luckily he survived another war and went on to be married and have children and grandchildren and he and his wife speak about their experiences in the Holocaust , I will be doing some more research to find out more about Yanak/Jack.
Recommend for middle grade readers.
3 ½ stars
Full disclosure I received this book from netgalley and the publisher for a fair and honest review.
#16-Safe House by Chris Ewan, narrated by, Simon Vance
Full Disclosure: I received this audiobook from the Audiobookjukebox and the publisher AudioGo for a fair and honest review.
This was my first Chris Ewan but it definitely won’t be my last! On the Isle of Man Rob Hale a heating and plumbing guy who is also a motorbike racer takes a job at a remote plantation house to fix the water heater when he arrives a shifty man with sunglasses on answers the door and shows him to the garage while doing the work a beautiful woman named Lena shows some interest in Rob and asks for a ride on his bike, he comes back that next day and they go riding and crash when Rob wakes up in the hospital and asks about Lena no one seems to know what he’s talking about they say he was alone on the bike and this is where our mystery begins. There is not only the mystery of Lena and what happened to her but it somehow connects to the death of Rob’s sister with the help of private detective Rebecca, Rob sets out to find out just what is going on.
I enjoyed this mystery very much it kept me guessing till the end, it had so much going on but I never got confused by all the characters and side stories that all end up back at the same place. I also enjoyed the fact that there was nary a swear word in this hard edged thriller that was refreshing! I enjoyed the character of Rob it was nice to have an everyday man as our hero and also to have a very strong woman in the character of Rebecca she was tough and in charge without being over the top. I also like the fact that there was a bit of humor in the character of Rob’s grandpa and he was just that a character!
There is so much going on in this book that I don’t want to say too much because it may give things away and ruin this book for you, so I will just say this is a great mystery/thriller that I highly recommend on audio!
Simon Vance’s narration is as usual phenomenal he has such a great range of accents and inflection, accents for Rob and the other residents of The Isle of Man were great and he also had an American, a few different Europeans and Londoners accents each done with ease. Simon is always a go to narrator I will always pick the audiobook over the paper book if he is narrating!
As I said this is my first book by this author and I will be getting his Good Thief’s books especially since they are also narrated by the wonderful Simon Vance.
#17-Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger, narrated by, Moira Quirk
I will start this review off by saying I absolutely adore Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series especially on audio narrated by Emily Gray and I do admit to missing her voice on this book, I am not saying Moira Quirk did a bad job she was actually very good but there were times when I really wanted it to be Emily the biggest difference was timing Emily’s comedic timing is better than Moira’s and she pronounced Genevieve different too, and when it is a character from the other series it was glaring and bothersome to me because of my love for Carriger’s other series and Emily Gray’s narration of said series. I am NOT saying Moira Quirk was bad please don’t think that, she was very good I just could not help the comparison the Emily Gray. Moira was a new to me narrator and her accents and characterizations were very well done and I would definitely listen to more by her.
Now onto the book, this was fun and cute maybe not as much fun as the Parasol Protectorate series but it is the first book and I expect these to get better and better just as Gail Carriger’s other series did. Sophronia was a good character , and it was fun seeing Madame Lefoux as a girl and we also have a Maccon it is the Lord’s great-great-great granddaughter Sidheag ( not the Lord himself unfortunately) but we do get Professor Lyall (Pre-Biffy unfortunately) also I am hopeful there will be more of him in future books . I did enjoy meeting the new characters and I absolutely loved the mechanimal Bumbersnoot and want one for myself! I look forward to seeing more of Sophronia she seems like a character that will have trouble following her wherever she goes and that is the fun of it all. Dimity is quite a character too. Also the finishing school itself is not what it seems it is not where young ladies go to become good wives it is a …well read it and see what kind of school it is! **No Spoilers** We again have this wonderful Victorian Steampunk World that Carriger introduced us to in the Parasol Protectorate, we again have all the wonderful steampunk machines we have come to enjoy from past books. I also adore the names she comes up with, how she does it is beyond me!
I think this will be a great introduction to the world of Gail Carriger for young adults who will then go on to read more of Carriger’s books; I think they will become lifetime fans as I have. This book is fun stuff if you are a fan of the Parasol Protectorate don’t let the Young Adult classification scare you off it is still the humor and fun that Gail Carriger is known for. I am so glad we only have to wait until November for the second book in this series!
#18-Shadow Girl by Patricia Morrison
This is a sad but powerful book about a 12 year old girl in Canada whose father is an alcoholic, her mother left when she was 4 so it has been just the 2 of them for years. The story starts out with Jules trying to keep her dad happy even when she knows he’s been drinking but no matter how bad it gets Jules still loves her dad. When she is left alone she goes to the shopping center and hangs out in the toy department in Zellers there she meets a very nice salesclerk who lets her play and read and is nice to her, something Jules is not used to. When the sales lady Mrs. Adamson starts noticing something isn’t right with Jules and she gets Jules to admit her dad has been gone over a week so she calls social services and so begins Jules’ journey into the foster care system.
This book started a little slow for me but from page 40 I read over a hundred pages in one sitting and had to force myself to go to bed and quit reading. I felt so bad for Jules the foster home she ends up in is a nice home but the family never makes her feel very welcome and she still feels very much alone, social services does find her dad but his visits are sporadic at best and he doesn’t seem to want to make the changes he needs to make to fix the situation and bring their family back together. The hard part in this story is how much Jules loves her father and just wants to go back to how it was before.
Jules walks through life feeling like a shadow
“To be loved, to be happy, to be cared for, nourished body and soul. These things were never granted to shadows. And that’s what she was—a shadow being.”
You can’t help but care for Jules, I do wish I knew what happened to her after she grew up did her upbringing affect her for the rest of her life especially in her relationships with others? I think this is a good middle grade book that will make kids think and care. I recommend this book for school and public libraries.
I received this book from Librarything Early Reviewers Program for a fair and honest review.
#19My One Square Inch of Alaska: A Novel by Sharon Short
I was expecting a 1950’s coming of age story and I got that but I also got so much more with this great story. Donna a high school senior and her little brother Will live in Ohio their mother is dead and their father has taken up drinking and isolates himself from his children and the world. Donna takes care of everything around the house including cooking and taking care of Will plus going to school, working at her grandmothers diner and doing alterations at a dress shop where she dreams of getting out of Ohio and becoming a seamstress or a designer. Will is trying to win a cereal/TV Show contest eating as much cereal as he can to send in his box tops to win his very own one square inch of Alaska, but Donna starts noticing that Will’s health is deteriorating and so begins their amazing journey.
This book was so much more than I expected it to be, it is about grief and friendship, family, dreams and first loves and this all comes together to become a great story. It is hard to review this book because there is so much going on in Donna’s life and I don’t want to give anything away to harm your enjoyment of how the story unfolds. You will fall in love with Will, with his kind heart and naiveté and his outlook on life even through the difficulties. My other favorite character is MayJune who brings this light and calm to both Donna & Will. There is also the story of Will and the junkyard dog he rescues which is a great story on its own. Least favorite characters would have to be their simpering father, the never happy grandmother and Hank (who I wish we could have found out finally got his in the end!).
I really enjoyed this book and finished it in 2 days it will grab at your heart and make you feel for the characters. This book has a similar feel to books like Saving CeeCee Honeycutt or The Homecoming of Samuel Lake it is very well written and I will be looking for other books this author has written.
I would highly recommend this book to young adult and adults alike and could also see it becoming a bookclub book because it will have some interesting discussions with a myriad of topics this book evokes.
4 ½ Stars
Full Disclosure I received this book from the Librarything Early Reviewer Program and the publisher for a fair and honest review.
Hi Susie that's a great review of My One Square Inch of Alaska and I am adding it to my wishlist.
#20-The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan, narrated by, Cassandra Campbell, Julia Whelan,and Danny Campbell
This was an interesting story with very well done, fully fleshed out characters , and with what I love about historical fiction, it made me go do research so I had Degas’ Ballerina portraits and the little dancer sculpture on my computer so I could look at them while reading. These characters are all very flawed but really just trying to survive the world the best they know how.
The story of these girls was fascinating and I loved the liberty the author took to combine Emil’s story with Antoinette & Marie’s I think it added such a great layer of depth to the story, where if it hadn’t been there, this book would have had less “meat” to it. There is a third sister in this story but to me she was just a secondary character to Antoinette & Marie, yet even though their mother is a smaller part of the story too I really felt her presence whenever she was in a scene, like when she was visiting Antoinette but really she wasn’t there to see her daughter it was just an excuse for a few extra hours off work. I thought this epitomized who this woman was.
This is also a great look at life especially for the poor in the late 1800’s and how once their father dies they have to find work somewhere, there were much worse “professions” than being a dancer or even a nude model for an artist and we all know what that is. These girls don’t have it easy and go through some pretty tough times and tough men. Also the insight into the paintings of Degas that I think everyone has seen even if they don’t realize who the artist is was fascinating, he seems to be one of the few artists that actually had a modicum of success while he was still alive. I have always found his work fascinating because of its day in a life aspects’ so that made his part in this book extra interesting to me.
Cassandra Campbell narrates the older sister and Julia Whelan narrates the younger, both were very good, while their voices are similar (like sisters) but you could always tell which sister was speaking. Danny Campbell’s narration of the newspaper clipping interspersed in the story was at first jarring but once I got used to it he was fine but I do need to comment that his voice is a cross between Casey Kasem and Johnny Heller and at times was a little moviephone sounding but I still liked his voice because it is husky and smoky with a little gravel to it. There is also a couple times where the ladies sound like they are from the streets of NY instead of Paris but when I looked at the print version I saw that this is how the author wrote the speech patterns so can’t really fault the narrators. I guess it was kind of like ok all street waifs sound the same in this time period no matter what country they were from so just go with it. I did like that they went all in on no accents there were a couple times where other characters had a slight accent just a slight rolling of the R’s , but the two main character had the same accent all the way through, it was an American accents but I would rather have that than listening to a badly done Pepe Lepew sounding French accent so I believe the right choice was made on this narration.
I highly recommend this book it is good historical fiction with a little look into the world of Degas, a little mystery and the daily life of the downtrodden of the late 1800’s.
I received this book from Audiobookjukebox and Blackstone Audio for a fair and honest review.
#21-A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri Narrated by, Sneha Mathan
I received this book from the Librarything Early Reviewers Program but was having a hard time with the names so I bought it on audio and I’m very glad I did!
When Saba is 11 years old she remembers her twin sister Mahtab and her mother getting on a plane to America and leaving her and her father in Iran…This is what she remembers but is this what happened?
I felt Saba was an unreliable narrator she makes up this whole life for her twin sister Mahtab and her mother they go to America and she has this free American life and goes to Harvard and becomes a journalist which is Saba’s dream. As a reader you will have an inkling in the back of your head as to what really happened where they really are but until it is actually revealed you want to believe Saba. Also the reveal for me wasn’t what I expected but I don’t want to say too much more about that!
Saba is not always likable but yet you feel for her. Saba always felt like she was missing out so she made up these wondrous stories of what her sister was accomplishing in the US even though she had a pretty normal upbringing considering it is Iran in the 80’s it isn’t till she is older ,well marrying age, that this doesn’t quite hold true anymore. I kind of felt bad for her father at times, I felt like she treated him like a second class citizen when he was all she had and was trying his best, and I was glad to see that as she got older she realized this.
This is a really good story though at times a little hard to follow, it was nice to read a story about Iran that didn’t have so much violence , yes there is some but it comes from something/someone different than you will expect it to. This is the story of a family and a young girl’s life without her twin and mother and how that affects her entire life and who she becomes.
Sneha Mathan narration is well done her accent is not to strong; I think it's just the right amount to convey they are in Iran. She has a great voice and I thought she really helped convey the emotions of everyone she narrated. This was my first book narrated by Sneha Mathan but I don’t think it will be my last as I really enjoyed her voice.
#22-Memories of the Old Plantation Home: A Creole Family Album by Laura Locoul Gore
I bought this book because I recently visited the Laura Plantation. This was a fascinating look at Laura’s life and life on this Creole plantation that was run for the majority by women. It covers many years of life and gives a good accounting of what life was like on the plantation.
When we visited the Laura Plantation it was a fascinating look into life there and so I had to get this book and I’m glad I did some of the stories were of course part of the tour but others were more a slice of life that I found very interesting.
You don’t need to go to the Laura Plantation to enjoy this story ( if your ever in that neck of the woods I would recommend visiting though) but if you would like to read a firsthand account of someone who lived on this actual plantation I would highly recommend Laura Locoul Gore’s memories.
3 ½ stars
#23-The Revenge of Moriarty: Sherlock Holmes' Nemesis Lives Again by, John E. Gardner, Narrated by, Robin Sachs
Received from Audiobookjukebox & AudioGo
11 hours 56 minutes
I am a Holmes fan but I maybe shouldn’t have read this one so close to finishing Lyndsay Faye’s Dust & Shadow because this one just didn’t measure up. Also I am a huge fan of narrator Robin Sachs I requested this book because I thought it was told by Moriarty (and it is at times but not enough) because as I said after Faye’s book Simon Vance is my audiobook Sherlock Holmes. As much as I love Robin Sachs I don’t feel this was one of his best narrations at times he sounded a bit bored and that made me feel bored, at other times his characterizations were fantastic I would get excited and sit up and pay attention with some of the characters but at other times it lulled me and made me wonder if I was even listening. Towards the end of the book when there were some different characters is when Robin Sachs shined on this audio and I think the feeling of boredom came from the text and maybe Robin was just as bored as I was. This book is no way diminishes my fangirl love for Robin Sachs.
I did not realize this was a second book in the series however this one is a decent stand alone, but there were times he would mention something about what happened in the last book and leave me wondering what all I did miss. So I would recommend starting with the first one. This story was ok it just didn’t really ever grab me but I did feel like it does fit in the Sherlock Canon, because let’s face it not all of Doyle’s Holmes stories are completely riveting either.
This is a hard review to write because I liked this book and didn’t like it at the same time and I am trying to put my finger on what it was I didn’t like and maybe it is the fact that it is the middle book in a trilogy and I hadn’t read the first one so this was anti-climatic for me and maybe if I go back and listen to the first and third maybe I would get a fuller story. I was hoping this story was told fully from Moriarty’s point of view and thought I’d learn more about Moriarty there were a few things *no spoilers* that made me want to finish this entire series hoping those questions would be answered. However I am just not sure I like Gardner’s writing style there were times this book dragged and then would pick up only to drag again, I guess that was my main problem the story was not consistent it was very up and down and not in a good way.
I’d say if you are a Holmes fan no matter what you will like this book but I would highly recommend starting with book one and that these books need to be better identified as a trilogy (assuming it’s just three) but I see that not audible or goodreads lists these as a series which I will have to see if I can remedy at least on GR maybe will send a message to audible because I think these need to be read in the correct order.
Thornton- Hope you enjoy it and if you ever get a chance to visit it is very interesting!
#24-Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Our bookclub was chosen to receive advance copies of this book from the publisher but we didn’t expect a 500+ page book so that was off-putting right away for some but once you get past the first 100 pages it was a fast read.
This book started out slow for me the first 100 pages I was confused then all of a sudden I couldn't put this book down and I think it took me as long to read the last 400 pages as it did to read the first 100. There are times this book is confusing and I can see how people would give up on it but I am really glad I had to read this for bookclub so I didn’t give up after my usual 50-100 pages because that is when it gets good!
I really liked Ursula in all her different “lives”. She didn’t always make the wisest decisions but that is the crux of this book it is the different paths your life can take, if you do this then this is how your life will go and if you turn the other way and change that decision then this is what could happen. I also liked the family story we get to know the Todd’s is so many different ways because of the different decisions made by Ursula, and how her decisions affect what happens to others. I also got a kick out of Aunt Izzie she was a fun character.
The storyline’s about England during WWII are amazing you really get a feel of what it was like while the bombs are going off, the dust and dirt and coming around a corner to find a familiar street totally unrecognizable, when she was working as a relief worker helping find and identify the victims were heartbreaking and had such a real feel. Ursula never really has very good taste in men no matter if it is a husband, lover or passing dalliance, I felt she was actually her happiest when she was living on her own.(Well most of the time, there is the gas incident).
As Ursula goes through life again and again she does have hazy memories more a déjà vu at times, other times just a feeling of dread, and sometime a straight up knowing of what will happen if certain events take place, yes I’m looking at you Bridget please don’t go to the fair! (Or her let’s kill Hitler phase) But she never fully realizes what is happening or why she sees the things she does or feels what she does about certain events. Each of her “lives” is varied some she dies young, some she has a husband and children, some she lives out a longer life and some of her “deaths” will shock you when the repeats start you almost feel like you are the one having déjà vu. I will say though that some of the stories start and it’s almost suspenseful as you wait to see how she dies this time.
I actually liked that the author didn’t fully explain what was happening to Ursula, be it reincarnation, déjà vu, past life or whatever you think it may be. I also am left wondering if her mother Sylvie wasn’t going through a similar “life”.
This book is one that I think will stay with you long after you read it, I am done now but still thinking of Ursula. I would recommend hanging in there if the first 100 pages are getting you down because once you get over that hump then it will really grab you! Kate Atkinson has written a fascinating, unique book that I think is deserving of all the buzz it is getting, just know this is very different than the Jackson Brodie series.
#25-Juliet in August, by Dianne Warren narrated by, Cassandra Campbell
I must admit I found this book boring, if it hadn’t been for Cassandra Campbell’s narration I would not have finished this book. This is a slice of life book in the most literal definition it is a day in the life of an assorted group of people in the small town of Juliet, Saskatchewan and no one has a very exciting life. I never really became attached to anyone in this town/story, and didn’t ever come to care about any of them. It is well written but maybe just not my cup of tea, I can’t help but wonder if I need more action and suspense from my books, so maybe it is just my taste that made me not like this book as much as some.
I guess I did end up caring for Norval (sad face). The last 2 or so hours I started finally caring a bit about the characters. This is a very quiet book it is a slow story with nothing really exciting happening. These stories don’t have a cohesive link to make them all fit together perfectly, they are jagged and just don’t seem to fit with fluidly. The characters seemed very one dimensional the ones I felt any affinity to were Norval and Shiloh.
Cassandra Campbell’s narration is very good with softness when needed, she was able evoke the emotion I believe the author was trying to convey. I only had a small problem with a mispronunciation of the town of Regina which is not pronounced like a name but Reg-I-na (with an eye sound on the I not an E sound). I am honestly not sure I would have finished this without Cassandra’s narration her voice always makes me want to keep listening.
3 star book
4 ½ star Narration
#25-Juliet in August, by Dianne Warren narrated by, Cassandra Campbell
I must admit I found this book boring, if it hadn’t been for Cassandra Campbell’s narration I would not have finished this book. This is a slice of life book in the most literal definition it is a day in the life of an assorted group of people in the small town of Juliet, Saskatchewan and no one has a very exciting life. I never really became attached to anyone in this town/story, and didn’t ever come to care about any of them. It is well written but maybe just not my cup of tea, I can’t help but wonder if I need more action and suspense from my books, so maybe it is just my taste that made me not like this book as much as some.
I guess I did end up caring for Norval (sad face). The last 2 or so hours I started finally caring a bit about the characters. This is a very quiet book it is a slow story with nothing really exciting happening. These stories don’t have a cohesive link to make them all fit together perfectly, they are jagged and just don’t seem to fit with fluidly. The characters seemed very one dimensional the ones I felt any affinity to were Norval and Shiloh.
Cassandra Campbell’s narration is very good with softness when needed, she was able evoke the emotion I believe the author was trying to convey. I only had a small problem with a mispronunciation of the town of Regina which is not pronounced like a name but Reg-I-na (with an eye sound on the I not an E sound). I am honestly not sure I would have finished this without Cassandra’s narration her voice always makes me want to keep listening.
3 star book (barely)
4 ½ star Narration
#26-The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level (In Real Life) by Chris Hardwick narrated by the author
This was surprisingly a very good self-help book; I am not saying that I didn’t think this book was going to be entertaining I just wasn’t sure that the advice he was going to give would be good. I am a big fan of Chris Hardwick and have been for awhile and even more so with his show the Talking Dead.
I really liked his nerdist way of self improvement I thought his advice for a character tome was great and XP points when you are on track, I thought this was a fun way to keep track of your successes. I thought his chapter on panic attacks was spot on and could tell he had truly gone through these to be able to explain them and how to overcome them was really good.
His very honest take on his alcoholism and how he quit drinking were very inspirational even though these stories were told with humor. I was a little surprised in the chapters about working out and nutrition just because us nerds are not known for being very fit and now I want to see Chris with his shirt off and see just how well all this exercising is working!
I really enjoyed this audiobook and Chris Hardwick’s narration, I do think you need to already be a fan of Chris to enjoy it though because of the way he talks and emphasizes certain things because I am a fan I could “see’ him saying these things and know how he puts himself across. But I think if you have bought this book I would guess you are already a fan of Chris. I think this was the way to read this book because of Chris’s delivery of the words he’s written.
I rarely (never) read self-help but this is the best I have found because his humorous honesty is perfect and I could actually see myself using some of the tenants he sets out in this book.
Starting my day with 100 XP thanks Chris!
#27-The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, narrated by, Anne Hathaway
As I listened to this I came to the realization that I have never read Wizard of Oz before, yes I know I was shocked too. This story was a bit more violent in parts than I was expecting also there were some huge differences from the movie we have all seen 1,000 times so I had to try to get the movie out of my head and just go with the story, which I did enjoy. But in the end you can’t help comparing the differences…the shoes (silver, not red)...Toto (black, not brown) …Dorothy is a much younger girl…the violence, there is a lot of lopping off of heads that I did not expect..Also the witches seem to play a much smaller part in this than they did in the movie.
Everyone knows the premise of this story there are over 3000+ reviews and 98,000+ ratings on Goodreads alone so really what am I going to add other than if you think you have read this book but aren’t sure give it a try you may be like I was and realize you have never read the story Baum wrote, you only know the Hollywood version!
Anne Hathaway did a good job with so many different voices but I had a hard time with the voice of the Scarecrow because it sounded like Marge Simpson. Listen to the sample on audible then go to youtube and listen to Marge Simpson it was too close to being the same voice I just couldn’t picture the Scarecrow in my head because the voice was Marge! That was the main voice that was just wrong and it took me out of the story, the rest of her voices were good with a few being annoying and some just not fitting, like a valley girl voice just seemed out of place. I guess I liked her narration overall I just wish the Scarecrow had sounded different.I would recommend this audiobook even with Marge Simpson cast as the Scarecrow!
3 1/2 stars
Frost Burned by, Patricia Briggs
Wowza talk about jumping right in with both feet there is no lead up to the action it starts on page one and never quits! I also again love how Briggs makes sure we know that when someone is hurt they don’t heal up immediately it takes time and some hurts stay longer than others as Mercy finds out she is still suffering from PTSD from events that happened a long time ago (In Iron Kissed). I also absolutely love Mercy & Adam’s relationship it is real and loving.
From the start we have Jesse & Mercy in a car accident (RIP Rabbit) and when she tries to contact the pack she figures out the entire pack is gone, they have been kidnapped, and of course Mercy takes it upon herself to find her pack. She does at least find some help and we see some characters we haven’t seen in awhile which was nice. I don’t want to give too much away but there are some very sad moments in this book and some serious balls to wall action and Briggs seems to be able to find the balance of these so perfectly it is one of the many reasons I love her books.
We also find out that Coyote has left Mercy with some lasting effects to their time together and I think we are going to see more in coming books she has some mighty powers that hadn’t surfaced before and I look forward to seeing just what else she can do!
Every mention of Charles & Bran made me want an Alpha & Omega book right now and I look forward to the next one in that series to see their side of this story!
If you can’t tell I love this series I love the grown-up love story between Adam & Mercy and that it is their story (no triangle) and it is fun to see them shape their relationship so it fits them both. There is also a blended family storyline that isn’t just Jesse but the pack too and them coming to terms not only with their Alpha’s mate but with the fact she is a shifter/coyote.
I already want the next book in this series right now I hate to wait because this is such a great series! Please Ms. Briggs write fast!!!
#29-Needles by William Deverell Narrated by Steve Scherf, Maggie Scherf
I received this from the Narrator/Producer Steve Scherf for a fair and honest review.
Without looking at the original publication date of this book I could tell it was from the 70’s it definitely has a 70’s Noir feel to it. This is a good courtroom drama (and much more) with a very flawed, heroin addicted lawyer as our main character Foster Cobb. There is a lot going on in this book and it all centers around Cobb who has been trying to put away Dr. Au who is a scary twisted man and is going to make sure he doesn’t go to prison no matter who he has to intimidate, kill or make disappear, including Cobb.
As I said this book has a 70’s vibe going on, and in some ways reminded me of Ed McBain’s writing, very dark and gritty and life ain’t easy especially when your strung out on heroin and fighting for your life as the person you are prosecuting is trying to kill you and you have more troubles than just those. Even though this describes Cobb you still can’t help but root for him even if he is strung out and not always a good guy you still want him to survive.
I would probably read more by this author as the writing is good. If you like gritty crime/lawyer books I’d give this one a try.
This is a performance audiobook all female characters done by a female and all male by a male, also there is a lot of music and a lot of background noises ie: gunshots, crowd noises and such. When I see more than one narrator I always assume that it will be a certain character per narrator but this one is done differently with all female by Maggie Scherf and all male by Steve Scherf which is different so is taking me a little to get used to. Also there is a lot of music that could really just not be there, I know this is an annoyance for a lot of people. Also traffic sounds were very unnecessary. However Steve Scherf has an impressive arsenal of different voices and dialects so not sure why the female narrator was added he is great at so many different voices that I am so curious if he isn’t comfortable doing female voices? Is he bad at them? Which, I honestly can’t imagine because all his different voices are pretty darn impressive. I am also not sure what I think of Maggie’s voice I don’t know if it’s her voice I don’t like or the format of the audiobook, when the female voice pops in it kind of takes me out of the story and am really confused as to why it was added in the first place.
4 stars-Steve Scherf’s narration
So 3 1/2 Overall
#30-Six Years by, Harlan Coben narrated by, Scott Brick
This book will grab you, throw you back in your seat and make you hang on for dear life because it is going to be a heck of ride! This was so hard to put down because it didn’t let up for a minute. It is very hard to write a review with no spoilers and not so much gushing.
Six years ago Jake watched the love of his life Natalie marry another man (Todd) she made him promise to leave them alone but now six years later Jake sees an obituary for her husband and decides to go to the funeral and at the least catch a glimpse of Natalie but the wife is not Natalie it is someone else, someone who Todd has been married to for over 16 years. Jake sets out to find Natalie and discover what is going on, but some things are not that easy especially when you are trying to find someone who doesn’t want to be found and Jake soon learns the hard way that he is not the only one looking for her.
This is my favorite Harlan Coben book yet this had so many twists and turns that when you think you know what is going on it changes, yes, I was right on a few things but there were more aspects that left my jaw dragging on the ground. There were times when you have to roll your eyes at Jake, or maybe that’s just me because I am about as unromantic as they come. And there were times when you wanted to yell NOOOO at him as he charged from one dangerous situation to another (I actually did yell this once luckily I was in my car by myself!). I really liked that Coben even had me wondering about Jake’s sanity for awhile I was beginning to wonder myself if Natalie was real or if it was a figment of his imagination, but that is what made this book so great even the reader starts questioning Jake. Okay I need to stop here because everything else I am thinking of writing is spoilerific but man do I want to discuss this book with someone who has read it!
The narration by Scott Brick was as always fabulous, he is the voice of Harlan Coben for me. I will always listen to his stand alones on audio because Scott Brick brings the characters to life for me with, just right narration, nothing over the top but great character diversity so you always know who is talking.
If you haven’t figured out yet I loved this book, if you are looking for a thrill ride full of twists and turns you need to read this book!
4 ½ Stars
#31-Sold by Patricia McCormick, narrated by, Justine Eyre
This is a sad story and a tough book to read but such a good story. Lakshmi is 13 and her stepfather sends her away to work as maid to help out the family but when Lakshmi gets to the house she is not a maid, her stepfather has sold her to a brothel to pay of his debts. These young girls have all been sold into slavery as prostitutes, it is heartbreaking and the abuse is not just from the men that pay, it is also from the “Madame”, she is an awful woman. Throughout this all Lakshmi keeps an attitude she got from her mother to endure and triumph. She assumes once the debt is paid she will get to go home but of course that isn’t how it works at all because as she is told it cost money to feed, clothe and keep a roof over her head and that isn’t cheap so of course they will keep her there as long as they can.
The authors notes at the end really bring this story to reality and the numbers of girls who are sold by their fathers, brothers, uncle’s is staggering, some were fooled as much as the girls were, but some know exactly where these girls are going which is so much worse I just can’t imagine selling your child.
This is a short book the audio was only 3 hours but so powerful. I do wish it had been longer and told more about what happens to these girls when they do get out because once they’ve been in this life they are “damaged goods” so I would like to know what happens if they are able to escape, either through their own hand or by someone coming in to rescue them. What happens to them do they just go home to the people that sold them in the first place? How do they start over with nothing, some with even less than they had when they got there? This would have been a solid 4 star book is some of my questions had been answered. I would still recommend this YA book because I will now be doing some research and trying to find some answers to my questions.
Justine Eyre’s narration is so fantastic, she does an absolutely fabulous Indian accent if I hadn’t known it was Justine Eyre I wouldn’t have guessed it. She brings this realism and feeling to Lakshmi’s voice through all the awful things she goes through.
Highly recommend listening to this on audio!
3 ½ Star Book
5 Star Narration
I received this book from edelweiss and the publisher Tantor Audio
Hi Susie, I read Sold a year or so ago and remember it was such a heart breaking story. I was glad that it was a book aimed at a younger audience as I wouldn't have wanted it to be more graphic that it already was.
#32-An Inquiry Into Love and Death by, Simone St. James, narrated by, Rosalyn Landor
This book has it all ghosts, family secrets, treason, murder and romance. I really enjoy the way Simone St. James writes she has the perfect blend of stories going on in this one.
Jillian’s Uncle Toby, a ghost hunter, has died in a small seaside town and she must go identify his body and gather his things but as soon as she arrives she knows there are ghosts here and something isn’t right. I enjoyed the mix of ghost story and mystery , there is a lot going on in this town and Jillian has found herself smack in the middle of it. Between ghosts, a sexy Scotland Yard detective and some very odd goings on; Jillian is up to her ears in trouble of so many kinds, but Jillian is way ahead of her time she is a strong woman used to taking care of herself; I thought Jillian was a great character she is spunky and tough and knows how to stand on her own two feet. I think she should take over Toby’s ghost hunting business so we could have more books with her! It had just the right amount of romance, it didn’t take over the story. I also really liked the mystery I did not figure that one out which was refreshing.
As always Rosalyn Landor’s narration is spot on, I just love her voice, she is great at differentiating between voices and her male voices are excellent. If Jillian makes a return appearance I hope Rosalyn Landor is available to narrate them.
I liked this one more than I did her last book which was good but this one had a meatier story but I would recommend both books and look forward to more by this author. I think if you are a fan of Kate Morton or Susanna Kearsley, give this one a try!
Received from the Audiobookjukebox and Blackstone for a fair and honest review
#33- Mary Coin by Marisa Silver narrated by, Eva Kaminsky, Alison Fraser, Mark Sisler
When I first heard of this book I thought it was going to be right up my alley because I have always loved old photographs and we all know this amazing photograph and I love reading about the 30’s , but it turned out a bit more boring than I thought it would be, I was expecting a deeper story of these two very different women and what their lives were like and it would have been a better book if it had only been about the 2 women; I did not understand the inclusion of Walker Dodge’s storyline until the very end of the book and by then I didn’t really care about him or his story. I felt this storyline took away from getting to know more about Vera. Or maybe we needed less Vera and more about Mary Coin and her family. Not sure something was just off with the way these stories flowed together.
There are parts I liked, I think Mary Coin was a much more interesting character than Vera, who was so self centered, well maybe I should say career orientated, when she is an old woman and she is taking pictures of her son and he looks at her and says it’s too late for that now mom which was a huge ah-ha moment into her life because we don’t get to actually see much of her life in between taking the photo and when she is elderly. I felt we didn’t really get to know Vera as much as we should have and more about the impact of this photo on her life we get a skimming of information about Vera’s life but not very in depth. Mary Coin however we learn about her life and how it was tough but her children turned out well even though she was still the woman in that picture with the heartbreak in her eyes. I wish this had been more, a meatier story, maybe, it just felt like we skimmed the surface of these women and wish there had been more about them and more about the time. Most books about the depression and this time in history it is like the time period is a character and I didn’t get that in this book.
I did enjoy these three new to me narrators Eva Kaminsky, Alison Fraser, Mark Sisler, they all did a good job with their respective characters the women had to sound young and aged and both pulled it off successfully, Mark has a nice voice he reminded me a bit of Kirby Heybourne I enjoyed his pacing and timbre of his voice. I would listen to any/all of these narrators again.
Alright I didn’t hate this book there are parts I liked but wished for a meatier story. Maybe if Walker’s story hadn’t felt so separate from the others if the connections had been made sooner maybe I would have liked his story more. This isn’t a bad book but don’t expect an epic story about woman during the depression because you won’t get it. Not bad just not as good as I was expecting. I liked Mary’s story and if the book had concentrated on her I think it would have been better.
I received this book from the Audiobookjukebox and Penguin Audio for a fair and honest review.
#34-The Next Time You See Me By, Holly Goddard Jones narrated by, Cassandra Campbell
Susanna’s sister Ronnie has gone missing but since she’s kind of the town bad girl no one but Susanna seems to care which gets Susanna wondering if the life she has is the life she wants. Then there is her students Emily & Christopher, Emily is a shy girl from the wrong side of the tracks and Christopher little rich boy with attitude…Ugh Christopher is such a little puke and I don’t understand how Emily can even think of being friends with him. Emily truly needs some serious counseling between her insecurities, self esteem, being bullied and what happened in the woods I hope her parents will get her some help!
Then there is Wyatt a 55 year old overweight factory worker, I liked Wyatt I also felt sorry for him, I felt he’d been bullied his whole life, pretty sure the night at the bar wasn’t the first time he’s been bullied he fell for it all too easily. Thought it was sweet that he and Sara got together and was rooting for them both to find love.
The prayer service for Ronnie made me wonder how often those are done; a prayer for a missing person who wasn’t well liked and didn’t attend church. I agree with Susanna that it all just felt wrong but I can understand that she was feeling like finally people were starting to take her sisters disappearance seriously.
This book was very hard to put down it has bullying of kids and adults, a missing person, a murder, old loves returning and some very, very flawed people but it comes together in a fabulous story. I don’t want to give any spoilers but there was a certain storyline that I hoped would be a red herring and am amazed that the author made me feel bad for a murderer but I was emotionally invested and it was a great twist well an emotional twist for me. All these different characters with nary a thing in common all find themselves thrown into the drama of Ronnie’s disappearance some in ways that will leave you shaking your head in wonder.
Cassandra Campbell’s narration was wonderful as always she truly brought these characters to life and there was a wide variety of characters in the book from teens to older men. Every character has a voice of their own with her wonderful sense of subtlety that makes her such a great narrator.
This is a great story I highly recommend this book especially on audio!
I received this book from the Audiobookjukebox and Blackstone Audio for a fair and honest review.
#35-The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski
This would have been a magical 200 page book instead it was a 378 page Oh Get On With It book. I actually think we could have skipped Grandma Roman all together and not lost a thing. I also didn’t need to know every little thing Bonaventure could hear it was plenty when he told his dad I heard a worm blink today and such, the author could have just added a few of the big ones into his conversations with William and it would have been plenty.
BUT…I loved Bonaventure he was an amazing little boy and if the author had went with less is more this probably would have been a 5 star book but as it is it will be much less than that. I also enjoyed Trinidad and wish there would have been a little more of her. As I said above I think this book could have done with major editing and I think if they would have concentrated on the people living in the house (including Trinidad) and skipped Adelaide all together it would have tightened up the story and made me care more.
There were parts of this book that shined for me but by far the majority of it didn’t, I’d say if you like lots of descriptions and pretty prose you may like this book as for me it fell flat.
#36-Calling Me Home: A Novel by Julie Kibler Narrated by, Bahni Turpin & Lorna Raver
This is such a great story! But be careful where you read it and have tissues ready especially towards the end, I happened to be driving at the end of this one!
I fell in love with both of these characters Miss Isabelle and Dorrie were true friends even though such different people. Dorrie is an African American single mother and hairdresser who has been doing 89 year old Isabelle’s hair for over a year and they have grown close but when Isabelle asks Dorrie to drive her from Texas to Ohio for a funeral, Dorrie jumps at the chance to get away from her own troubles for awhile and help the old lady out.
This book is told in alternating chapters by Dorrie and Isabelle, Dorrie dealing with her own problems at home in the present day and Isabelle telling the story of her life; that when she was 17 in Kentucky in the 1930’s she fell in love with a black man and the consequences that occurred due to her actions. Isabelle’s story is so heartbreaking but beautiful and the friendship that grows between these two women is one of the best friendships out there. I adored this book and couldn’t put it down I didn’t want to stop listening I needed to know how the story played out because with each bombshell Isabella would drop you could see so many ways the story could go and most of them had very dire consequences.
I received the ebook galley of this book from netgalley then I heard that it was going to be narrated by, Bahni Turpin & Lorna Raver so of course I waited for the audiobook and I am so glad I did. These two are perfect for the characters Bahni as Dorrie and Lorna as Isabelle bring the emotion of this book bubbling to surface in waves of emotion that will make you feel everything these characters are going through. Loran Raver’s telling of Isabelle’s story is at times pure raw emotion that conveys so beautifully the heartbreak of her long life and Bahni Turpin’s Dorrie is smart yet has this soft vulnerable side that Turpin brings to life without flaw.
I highly recommend this book on audio with these two narrators how can you go wrong! This is one the best books I’ve read this year. If you like southern fiction and beautiful friendship stories give this book a try you won’t be disappointed!
Hi Susie, I was very interested to read your comments on Mary Coin as it's on my wishlist and in one of my upcoming challenges we are to read a book set in the 1930's and I was thinking of this one. Now I may actually choose one of the other titles that I am considering.
Judy, I was looking so forward to it and it wasn't as good as it could have been!
#37-The Giver (The Giver Quartet #1) by Lois Lowry, Ron Rifkin
Back in 2009 I read this book, it was my first dystopian so I wasn’t a huge fan of it, I liked it but not as much as I did this time. I still don’t think it is the strongest dystopian out there but it is still an important one. I feel like this is a quiet dystopian because of its utopian feel, the world works for them there isn’t a big uprising, no running, chasing trying to find answers by a whole crowd of people it is just Jonah after being given the memories that he sees things differently. This is the most fascinating thing to me these memories of the world before, but before what, and what about those planes? Do people outside of their community adhere to these same rules? They must not if they have airplanes…Is there color outside of their little part of the world? So many questions I never felt were answered to my satisfaction.
I wish this book had been longer I wish it explained things more, I understand this is written for younger readers but I feel like they would have questions too, as I do. But maybe that is the beauty of the book, it makes you think, makes you wonder and makes you question because if no one asks questions than a world like this is possible. I’m not sure how a world of color becomes black and white (or beige) and how this whole memory thing happens and that somehow if the memories are not accepted by “the host” then they go back to the people.I have not read the rest of the books in this quartet, but I plan to, I am hoping some of my questions will be answered.
I did like this book but maybe not as much as some but I did give it a half star more than I gave it the last time I read it.
I listened to it on audio for my re-read narrated by, Ron Rifkin who was ok but not great , there were a lot of mouth noises, tongue clicks and such and he sounded too old for Jonah and his other voices weren’t up to par. I believe a narrator like Kirby Heyborne or Nick Poedehl would have truly brought this book to life for me. Oh and the mood music I could have done without, it was supposed to be atmospheric I’m sure but it didn’t work for me. This is one book I would say read in paper and skip this audio.
3 ½ Stars
#38-The Beautiful Mystery (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #8) by Louise Penny, narrated by, Ralph Cosham
I admit I haven’t gotten around to reading Bury Your Dead and Trick of Light but needed to read this one for the armchairaudies. Before I got towards the end I thought this could be read as a standalone because it isn’t set in Three Pines and without all the familiar faces I thought someone could step into this one without prior knowledge but I was wrong, towards the last part of this book it goes pretty deep into a story left over from the prior books. So I would recommend not skipping the prior books!
I know that not every murder can happen right in Three Pines but I really missed all those people from the town there just wasn’t that feeling of camaraderie in this one that the others have had. I am not sure I liked this story as much as I’ve liked her previous works and that may have to do with it not being set in Three Pines. I felt like the ending was rushed and kind of left you hanging as to a certain characters future. But that does make me want the next book in this series right now so… I am a fan of this series and will continue to read it but this one won’t be among my favorites in the series. The monks were interesting at times and then other times I was underwhelmed, even though I felt the ending was rushed I would say the last hour-hour and a half were the best part of the book.
Ah Ralph Cosham… he is the voice of Gamache and narrates this series with such ease, I will have a hard time when the movie comes out and he is not Gamache! He has a silky yet gruff voice that I love, his slight French/Québec accent is just enough to let us know where these books are set but not so much that the accent is annoying or hard to understand. Towards the end of this one Cosham really brings the raw emotions to the surface beautifully.
4 ½ Star Narration
#39-The Last Page by Libby Fischer Hellmann and David J. Walker Narrated by, Mary Conway and James Lewis
The narrator Mary Conway is new to me, it took me a little bit to get used to her voice it sounds a bit young yet has a roughness so for me it took a little to get used to, but by the end I was happy with her narration and would listen to others narrated by her.
Chicago Blues short story My Sweet Man &another story I didn’t catch the name of by, Libby Hellman and David J. Walker narrated by, James Lewis, both were way more gritty stories than the first one. The last story is extremely gritty and has a lot of language it was quite a departure from the first story being more of a cozy and the second one was more family secret type mystery, they seemed an odd pairing on the same audiobook. I enjoyed My Sweet Man but I think it would have been better without the final story.
The narrator James Lewis has a husky deep voice that I like, his voice is good for gritty mystery or noir would fit his voice well too. I would listen to more from this narrator.
All in all this short 3 hour audiobook is pretty good I really liked the first story, the second one was also good but the last one just didn’t do it for me. I would have rated this 4 stars if it had only been the first & second story but the third story brings it down to a three but will end up with 3 ½ stars for good narration. Would read more from this author and listen again to these narrators.
3 ½ Stars
I received this from the Audiobookjukebox and the author/publisher Fischer Hellmann Communications for a fair and honest review.
#40-Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century by Peter Graham
I had heard the story of these murders a few years ago and was shocked that one of the murderers grew up to become author Anne Perry. I watched a couple interviews with Perry on youtube she is being interviewed by fellow author Ian Rankin and it felt to me like Anne Perry still didn’t show much remorse. In the interview with Rankin she still seems so cold and when she said she helped but makes it sound like she did nothing but be by her friends side, but court and medical examiner documents say Mrs. Parker was held by the throat while beaten so did she hold her by the throat or hit her? According to this book she hit her while Pauline held her throat.
But the fact that she is now an accomplished author isn’t what this book is about; this book is about the crime itself and is told in detail from court documents, the girls’ diaries and personal interviews of people who were there at the time. The murder itself is horrific it wasn’t a crime of passion, spur of the moment type of murder this was downright pre-meditated murder, they brought the brick along with them that they used to kill Pauline’s mother, they planned exactly where they would walk to not be seen, planned how to get her mother to bend over so they could hit her. They wanted it to look like an accident but unlike on TV one blow doesn’t always kill, so they hit her over and over and over again, and then ran for help like innocents. Honestly these two may have gotten away with it if one blow would have killed her because at the time no one could fathom a 15 year old girl killing her mother.
The relationship between these girls I believe was a lesbian one and I am NOT saying that is what made them killers, but I think it did play a part because of how taboo these feelings were in 1954. I thought this book also went down a blaming the parents path, Juliet’s mother wasn’t maternal at all and Juliet was sent away for the majority of her childhood and I don’t think ever got much love from her mother and her father was a pat on the head as he is passing through a room type of man. I also didn’t think that Pauline’s mother was so bad I think the Hulme’s used her as scapegoat when they said that Pauline could not accompany them when they left NZ. At times especially during and after the trial I couldn’t help thinking why did they choose Pauline’s mother and not Juliet’s ...that’s harsh I know but there it is.
I think these girls had some kind of mental illness maybe not the ones that Dr.Medlicott tried and re-tried to pin on these girls but there was some form of mental illness or at least diminished capacity that led these 2 girls into this almost dream world where they were all that mattered and their imaginings could come true if certain people were out of the way, which is another good thing about them being caught so quickly , if they had gotten away with it and still been kept apart who would have died next?
These girls each ended up doing about 5 years in prison and I guess when you are 15 at the time of sentencing that is a long time, neither went out and murdered anyone else they each went their separate ways and as I said Juliet became Anne Perry, Pauline Parker tried to become a nun but was turned down but ended up living a very solitary life in the service of others and seems to have spent her life making amends for her crime.
This was a fascinating book about a horrific crime, I did find at first all the different names these girls called each other was a little confusing and was glad when the author went back to calling them the names they went by and not the pet names. But I think if you are interested in true crime books give this one a go. I wish there had been picture of the girls when they were younger or at trial it always makes it more "real" in a non-fiction.
I received this book from Edelwiess & the publisher for a fair and honest review.
Hi Susie, great review of Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century. Have you by any chance seen the 1994 Peter Jackson film, "Heavenly Creatures"? It is his take on the Parker-Hulme murder and an excellent film.
Yes I watched it when I was done with the book it was pretty good, the book goes into much more detail of the trial.
#41-Another Fine Myth (Myth Adventures #1) by Robert Lynn Asprin, narrated by, Noah Michael Levine
Oh this was so much fun! These books had been recommended to me years ago and have been languishing away on my TBR list since then, when I saw on audible that they were finally available on audio I jumped at the chance to give them a try, and now have another series to listen to 18 books I could go broke but this one was so much fun I must listen to more!
I loved all the characters in this book, I appreciated that the author let readers get to know them as they got to know each other it was a great bonding experience with the characters. I enjoyed the humor and frivolity and also the great story.
Skeeve is a magician’s apprentice, when his master is killed he ends up being an apprentice to a demon named Aahz as they bounce between dimensions to try to get Aahz back to his own dimension and restore his magical abilities and get revenge for Skeeve’s masters death. Along the way they meet so many great characters. I really liked that the author tells this story through dialogue we still get plenty of world building but it isn’t in overly done descriptions it is in the different characters explaining things to each other. I loved the ending, I don’t want to spoil it but the way they get one over on Issivan at the end is sooo great and not what I expected.
Noah Michael Levine was a new to me narrator and he was wonderful for this book I would definitely listen to him again…in fact I will listen to him again because I plan on listening to this whole series! But I would listen to him narrate other books too. He has a great range of voices, inflections and accents even though one character does sound like Sean Connery I didn’t care this narrator is the perfect fit for this book!
I will be listening to more of this series this is a short audiobook but well worth the credit I spent on it. If you are a fan of Pratchett and Adams I think you will enjoy this series too!
#42-The Mysterious Howling (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #1) by Maryrose Wood,narrated by, Katherine Kellgren
Oh what fun this book was! Miss Penelope Lumley is hired as a governess to 3 very unusual children, said children were found in the wild and had been raised by wolves and Penelope has only a short time to make them presentable in a social setting, a party to be exact and when Miss Lumley exaggerates their progress to the lady of the house well you can be sure that all will not go smoothly.
I enjoyed the first book in this middle grade series so much that I will be starting book 2 immediately. I liked the character of Penelope I thought she was strong and resourceful. The children are more intelligent than the family gives them credit for yet are still pretty wild which makes for a whole lot of fun and adventure. There is also a bit of mystery and some secrets in this house, like who is to blame for the scene at the Christmas party? What is the creepy coachman Timothy up to? Will Lady Constance really put the children out? This is why I must continue reading right away so many questions need answers and so many adventures to be had. I am hoping that we get to know the children as individuals in the books to come; I was taken with Cassiopeia but would like to learn more about the boys.
I am already a huge fan of Katherine Kellgren so not surprisingly her narration of this book was fabulous but she never ceases to amaze me with what she can get her voice to do, in this one she has to give these children a wolfish quality to their voices when they are speaking to others and a wolf language all their own when they are speaking to each other, she pulls it off perfectly. Every single character is defined and you never have to guess who is talking.
I highly recommend this series (yes I know I’ve only read book one but it is so fun!). I would recommend it on audio I think this would make for a fabulous family road trip listen.
4 ½ Stars
#43-The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #2) by Maryrose Wood, narrated by, Katherine Kellgren
This is such a fun series, in this one we find out that there is a curse on the children, we also get a few more hints at a connections between Miss Lumley and the children beyond the fact that she is their governess, also what is going on with Lord Ashton and just what is his actual connection with the children. Miss Lumley also meets a very interesting man named Simon who may end up being the man for her. Old Tom may not be as creepy and scary as we first assumed. Also what is the connection with the paintings in the secret room in the museum and the paintings in the attic?
When Miss Lumley, Simon and the children go to a West End production about pirates Miss Lumley thinks this will be a great educational opportunity for the children but as you can guess things do not go as planned what happens at the show and the chase through the streets of London were hilarious. We also get more of the gypsy woman and a parrot and pirates.
I also love that the children will say the most intelligent things then end the sentence with a howl. I can’t wait to know the answers to my questions and to spend more time with these incorrigible children.
As usual Katherine Kellgren’s narration was pure perfection, her narration of Lady Constance is such fun and in my head she is classic movie star Billie Burke (Mrs.Topper, the mother in You Can’t Take it With You and Glinda the good witch in Wizard of Oz, she’s a great actress). Katherine does these awhooof’s of the children’s language so well. I can’t imagine anyone else doing as good of a job as Katherine Kellgren does!
I am hoping book 3 will be available from the library soon; I need to know what happens next.
4 ½ Stars
#44-Looking for me by, Beth Hoffman
This book grabbed me from the first paragraph I thought it was a memorable start:
“Some people run towards life, arms flung wide in anticipation. Others crack open the door and take a one-eyed peek to see what’s out there. Then there are those who give up on life long before their heart stops beating- all used up, worn out, and caved in, yet wake each morning and shuffle their tired legs through another. Maybe they’re hoping for change—a miracle, even—but runaway dreams and lost years hang heavily in their backs. It’s the only coat they know how to wear.”
I also thought this was a great quote to:
“I thought about the old saying, how we can never go home again. But I think it’s more like a piece of us stays behind when we leave- a piece we can never reclaim, one that awaits our next visit and demands that we remember.”
Teddi is a great character she is so down to earth yet driven artistically, we share her life in present day and flashbacks and her journey is not always a happy one. The descriptions of the furniture that Teddi restores sound so amazing you can see them clearly in your head (I want a chest made by her). The people Teddi meets in her life that help on her path to her dreams are great, especially Mr. Palmer he sees her amazing talent in her first piece and later he takes her in and gives her so much support to live out her dream, he’s a great character. Also in the shop are Albert & Inez who I also fell in love with and also her best friend Olivia and Granny Belle I also loved that Teddi let people be themselves she never judged her friends (her mother may be a different story but I am not going to spoil that for you). But these are the people in her adult life and the two people that believed in her are gone, her father and her brother Josh but Josh isn’t dead at least not to Teddi he walked away from the farm one day and was never seen again but Teddi has always believed he is out there in the woods living in nature and with the animals he loves. Josh is also an amazing character written with such feeling and conviction, and makes me want to believe what Teddi believes!
Towards the end of the book I slowed reading, I got to a certain point and didn’t want to know what happens because that would mean the end of the book...I've picked it up and set it down about three times I don't want to leave yet! Done now, I miss these characters already!
Beth Hoffman is a great storyteller she makes you care about each and every person, there is no bad guys just people who make choices on how to act that affects others in ways they may not realize until it is too late. She made me want to go to Charleston to see the amazing architecture and to go to every antique shop until I find one of Teddi’s chests. Also we have a few of Charleston’s more colorful characters in Mrs. Poteet and Zelda who make life interesting.
I adored this book, it is very different from CeeCee yet gives you major feels like CeeCee did, but really that and it being set in the south are the only similarities, I thought this was a unique book with a hint of magical realism coming from the Native American beliefs held by Josh. I say this is unique because there isn’t really a lot going on, it is just Teddi’s life, yet I couldn’t put it down and as I said I didn’t want to stop when I got to the end. Beth Hoffman made me feel like the people in this book could be my friend, that is the magic of her writing, she makes you care. I will read anything she puts on paper!
I received this book from the author for an honest review.
#45-The Unseen Guest (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #3) by Maryrose Wood, narrated by,Katherine Kellgren
We again have a fun adventure. As I said in my reviews of the last two books there are a lot of questions that need answering and this one brings us a few steps closer to those answers but we also end up with more questions. Is Lord Ashton’s father still alive? What is the curse on the family? And what does it have to do with the incorrigible’s and Penelope? And so many more…
It was very interesting when the children are sent out into the woods to help find the Admiral’s ostrich and how once they were in the woods again they started becoming a bit feral again , we also get a hint of where the children lived for awhile. I hope there will be some flashbacks in the future books about the children’s time in the woods and how they came to be there. The Admiral is not a good man and it seems like Penelope is the only one who see’s it but she has a plan to help out Lord Ashton’s “widowed” mother get out of her engagement to the rascal. But if you have been keeping up with these books you know that Penelope’s plans never go as planned. I really enjoyed the séance it cracked me up, Mrs. Lanesko was so much fun.
I really want the next book right now but I guess I have to wait till November. I do hope that we will get some answers even if it is not all the answers but some would be nice because this book just brought even more questions.
As with the first two books Katherine Kellgren’s narration is so fabulous with a lot more people making wolf sounds, and an ostrich we can’t forget the ostrich! Every voice is distinct and every animal sound/voice is fabulous loved Mrs. Lenesko(sp. audio) in this one too. Kellgren’s range is so unbelievable that at times you wonder if there is more than one voice narrating but no it is all Katherine. It is books like this one that make me realize why Katherine Kellgren is one of my all time favorite narrators. This book is up for an Audie Award for Best Solo Female Narration and I do believe I have found my winner!
I highly recommend this series I think these are a great roadtrip series, they are fun for the whole family, and they aren’t too long with this one being the longest at 6 hrs 50 min. so even if you aren’t going too far you could easily get one whole book done and everyone in the car will enjoy them!
4 ½ Stars
OMG OMG Check this out a blurb from my review of Sold By Patricia McCormick Read by Justine Eyre is on the Tantor Audio website and in their newsletter!!!!
#46-The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood, narrated by,Tavia Gilbert
I wasn’t really sure what I felt about this book even up to the last hour or so but then all the stories clicked in and things happened that made me feel so much for these two women. When we meet Claire it is not in the best light so it was hard to truly care about her until later. Vivien however I liked her right away, even though she is still grieving her lost love of over a decade she has immersed herself in writing the most beautiful obituaries for other people. She still searches newspapers’ everyday searching for amnesiacs because if the love of life did not die in the 1906 earthquake then he must still be out there lost with no memory or he would have come home to her.
This book is a study in grief and human behavior. These two women who at first glance don’t seem to have anything in common however you won’t have to wait for the reveal to figure that connection out. The author did a lot of research into both time periods down to the wallpaper and clothing. Especially clothing in the 1960’s or should I say how everyone was talking about our new first lady’s clothing, in hindsight we all know what a fashionista Jackie was but it is interesting to see how fast people became obsessed with her clothing.
I wasn’t a big fan of Claire’s husband but I couldn’t help wondering if that was how he always was or is it just a reaction to events at the beginning of the book. Vivian even with her grief I believe had a fuller life and friends that were much more real.
There is some points in this book where I was a little bored wondering where the story was going, this is a character story there isn’t any action this is a straight character driven book. I did end up liking it and have thought about the characters since finishing. This was my first book by this author and I would listen to more by her.
Tavia Gilbert’s narration was great she made each of these women sound very different and you never had to guess whose narrative she was speaking in. She gave Vivien a strong firm voice that showed her strength but also at times showed the hurt and grief that lay under everything she does and says. Claire was a bit whiny at times but it fit the character well and the raw emotions towards the end of the book were so real and well narrated.
3 ½ Star book
5 Star narration
I received this audiobook from the Audiobookjukebox.com & the publisher Blackstone Audio for a fair and honest review.
#47-Hush Money by Chuck Greaves Narrated by Dan Butler
This was a new to me author and narrator and only picked it up because it is nominated for an Audie award in the mystery category.
When the book started I thought ok it’s a legal thriller, then we have a death of a horse and all that goes along with the hoity toity horse crowd, then we have a murder and some medical mystery so this is hard to categorize. I enjoyed the main character lawyer Jack MacTaggert he was somewhat cynical, and has a dry sense of humor. I see there is a second book coming out and I will be picking it up because I did enjoy this character.
You don’t have to be a horse person to enjoy this book but if you enjoy Dick Francis give this one a try. I am curious where Jack will end up going from here because the events at the end of this book left a few questions hanging out there.
Dan Butler’s narration was good but I’m honestly not sure if it was award worthy. He had a few different characterizations but they weren’t always consistent, but his narration of the main character was well done and I felt he captured Jack’s snarky humor very well. I would listen to other narrations by Dan Butler.
Not sure what else to add… this was a solid mystery and a good start to a new series that I will probably continue to read.
3 ½ Stars
#48-Re-Read/Listen-The Bird Sisters by, Rebecca Rasmussen narrated by, Xe Sands
My original review is below so I will just review the audio version of this re-read for bookclub.
Xe Sands truly embodied these two sisters her narration was soft and wistful as these sisters are, her delivery of this beautiful book was spot on. I was very happy I was able to re-read this on audio with the wonderful narrator!
I can’t wait for Rebecca Rasmussen’s new book!
Read This Book!!Enough Said!
Oh ok I’ll add more
You will love these sisters, so close yet so different Twiss has a smart mouth and always seems to speak her mind and Milly is demure and shy and always puts everyone’s needs above her own no matter the cost to herself. Then there is their parents the mother who dreams of Paris and wanting more than her lot in life has given her, and the father who is a golf pro until “the accident” and can’t play golf anymore and moves to the barn. Then there is cousin Bette who comes for the summer, the summer that changes everything.
We first meet the elderly spinster bird sisters Twiss is still a curmudgeon and Milly is still sweet however, once you meet the teen sisters you know something drastic happened that caused these girls to become the elderly never married Bird Sister. Of course Twiss has vowed to be the world’s most interesting spinster and looks on it with a kind of affection (as Milly puts it). But teen Milly has hope of a marriage and children.
I can’t say anymore on the story without spoiling it. What I can say is this is a beautifully written book there is no skimming here you will want to read every word, savor it, chew on it and thoroughly enjoy it. You will fall in love with Twiss and Milly smile with them and cry for them. This book has risen to the top of the best reads of the year and it will take a powerful book to knock it off of its perch. Like I said at the beginning Read This Book!
Rebecca Rasmussen is a new author to watch out for her writing is so beautiful I look forward to much more from her!
#49-Amity & Sorrow by, Peggy Riley
I requested this book because the cover and description grabbed me, I loved the premise of the book but the execution of said premise didn’t go very well in my opinion.
Amaranth and her daughters Amity & Sorrow are on the run from their cult leader/preacher/god complex husband/father, when they crash their car they are eventually taken in by a farmer who has already taken in a young boy named Dirt and is trying to take care of his invalid father.
Amity & Sorrow are some very disturbed girls and will need a lifetime of counseling. I did not like anyone in this book; they were all flawed some way more than others. I like books with flawed characters but these were beyond the norm. I know I should give more of a reason but if you decide to read it I don’t want to spoil anything for you but know that there are some very tough issues in this book that I felt were not handled well at all.
I came close to DNFing this book but wanted to see what happened but was very disappointed. The ending of this made me sick to my stomach and made me mad that I kept reading!
This book just didn’t do it for me, I see others really enjoyed it but this is not one I will be recommending to anyone.
I received this book from netgalley & the publisher for a fair and honest review.
#50-Dead Ever After (Sookie Stackhouse, #13) by Charlaine Harris
This will be a short review as I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t read it yet.
I was happy with the final book of the Sookie Stackhouse series. I thought the author brought everything together very well and resolved all the hanging stories and let us know what was happening with past characters we had all been wondering about. I thought the ending was very fitting and am happy with whom Sookie ended up with.
I have enjoyed this series, yes, I liked some installments better than others but as a whole it’s been a great ride and I am sad to see it go but do understand the need for it to end.
I see a lot of people are mad about the way this ended I can see their point about who they wanted Sookie to end up with but I actually thought this was more real, it gave Sookie back her life and power.
This is a fun series I call it my candy because it isn’t Lit Fic it is fantasy and has humor & supernatural beings of many kinds and I enjoyed it as a whole. I enjoy the books much, much, much, more than the tv series. They will still be a go to series when I am in a reading slump.
3 ½ Stars
#51-The Orphan Train by, Christina Baker Kline
What a fabulous read! The author mixed the historical and present day story so seamlessly I was completely hooked.
The story of the orphan train is so sad, these children were herded up like cattle and sent away from everything they knew, sent to a strange land with people who may or may not take care of them. For some it was indentured servitude, others were free labor that came with beatings. Some, the lucky ones found homes with people who truly cared about their well-being, and then ones like Niamh/Dorothy/Vivian had to go through a few bad ones to find the good one. These children lost their heritage, their names, and their religion. I felt the author’s research was very thorough and this book like historical fiction should be makes me want to read more and more about the orphan trains.
In the present day we meet Molly a Penobscot Indian in foster care after her father dies and her mother is in no shape to take care of her, she bounces from one bad home to another. When she gets in trouble her boyfriend sets it up for her to do her community service with his mother’s boss Vivian a 91 year old woman who needs help cleaning out her attic. As the two go through the boxes of Vivian’s life they realize they have much more in common than anyone would have ever guessed.
I loved the relationship between Vivian & Molly how both are wary because of what they have been through and to see this relationship grow through the stories Vivian tells as they unearth her life that has been tucked away in boxes.
I truly enjoyed this story and I think Molly and Vivian will stay with me for a while. This was my first book by this author but she has piqued my curiosity and I will be looking for her other books.
I highly recommend this book but be warned it is hard to put down and will stay with you long after you finish!
4 ½ Stars
#52- The Asylum by, John Harwood narrated by, Rosalyn Landor
This book is gothic fiction at its best! This was the first book I’ve read by Harwood and I will be reading his others. This book grabbed me from the start and kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through.
Poor Georgina wakes up in an asylum with no recollection on how she got there, she is also registered in a name that is not hers. Between the memory loss and her giving a false name the doctor thinks she should stay and get her memory back when things go from bad to worse when the doctor checks around about who she says she is and finds that Georgina is home in London. Is there a vast conspiracy or is Georgina crazy and just making up that she is really Georgina.
I loved how this book plays out , there were even times I wondered about Georgina’s sanity. There is also a story about Georgina’s mother that all eventually ties into what is happening in the present. Oh this is hard I don’t want to spoil this story for anyone because the suspense is done so beautifully the story unfolds gracefully as you try to figure out if Georgina is telling the truth or if she really does belong in the asylum.
The narrator Rosalyn Landor does as always a fantastic job, I love that she does these male voices where it’s almost like someone else is narrating them. If a book has Rosalyn narrating I will always pick the audio over paper.
If you are a fan of gothic stories run, don’t walk to get this book because this is gothic fiction at its best! Just make sure you have time allotted because you will not want to put it down once you have started!
4 ½ stars
I received this book from the Audiobookjukebox and the publisher Blackstone Audio for a fair and honest review.
#53-The View from Penthouse B by, Elinor Lipman, narrated by, Mia Barron
This book was different than I was expecting from the title, I was picturing real housewives, but what I got was a well written character driven book about sisters, second chances, dating, grief and forgiveness played out with a humor I wasn’t expecting. These two sisters with very different problems living in an apartment together with Anthony their gay roommate as Margot deals with the her paroled ex-husband who moved in downstairs, plus financial woes thanks to Bernie Madoff, and Gwen jumping back into the dating scene after mourning her husband for 2 years.
I truly enjoyed these characters, they weren’t all weepy, woe is me; they were trying their hardest to get over the difficulties of the past and doing it surrounded by friends and humor. They have made this happy life for themselves they accepted Anthony as a roommate so they could have a man around but without all the hassle of a straight man. Although all are dealing with a lot of crap that life has thrown at them they are handling it so well, and that is what I enjoyed it wasn’t doom and gloom even Margot can make jokes about the ponzi scheme she ended up involved in and Gwen after mourning for two years is finally going from black to lavender –which was a euphemism of her finally putting down the mantel of widow and moving on to find some happiness in life
Mia Barron’s narration was very well done; she embodied the characters with wit and snark when warranted and had very good comedic timing that fit this book very well. I am honestly not sure I would have enjoyed it as much in print. Her narration of Myra at the end is splendid! I would definitely listen to this narrator again.
#54-Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem, narrated by, Frank Muller
This book was just ok, not a bad story but could be confusing at times. I read this for bookclub and some of our members couldn't get past the bad language as the main character in this book has tourette's. There were some laugh out loud moments when he was trying to get out a phrase and it came out this rhyming mess of made up words, but then you felt kind of bad you laughed. I think it may have been an insightful look into what it is like to have tourettes but as I’ve never met anyone with the disease I can’t be sure.
Frank Muller did the narration and I am very glad I listened to this one because of Lionel’s ticks and his rhyming sing-songy tourettes and Muller made these very believable, other members of my bookclub said it was hard for them to understand just how these were said in print, so if you are going to read this one I recommend the audio.
2 ½ stars
#55-Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by Fiona Carnarvon, narrated by, Wanda McCaddon
As a huge fan of Downton Abbey I had to read this book. It wasn’t as interesting as I had hoped until towards the end when we find out that Lord Carnarvon was partners with Howard Carter when he found the tomb of King Tut. The whole story about Egypt was fascinating and how Lord Carnarvon was one of the first to succumb to the “curse” even though the author doesn’t talk about that aspect I’ve read and researched enough about Egyptology that to me that was fascinating. I would read more about this time period in the Carnarvon’s life. It made me do some research and I found photo’s of the two of them together in Egypt and finding the tomb so that was fun!
As for Lady Almina I admit to being very surprised when she married so soon after the lord died as before that she was so devoted to him and she didn’t wait the acceptable mourning period of the time but the author decided to kind of skim over these facts and didn’t really give us a reason for marrying this sickly man so soon after her beloved husband died. And I would have like to know any social repercussions she suffered because she didn’t wait till the mourning period was over. I did enjoy the parts about her turning Highclere into a hospital which because of Downton I could picture well.
Because I am such a huge fan of the TV show there were times when names would come up like Bates, or Crawley , it would throw me a little bit because they weren’t my beloved characters from the show. There was also the time when the Lord got a car and he was speedy around in it and crashed and I thought oh no he’s going to die but he didn’t at that time but all I could think of was Matthew on the TV show!
Wanda McCaddon did a wonderful job at the narration she brought a slight haughtiness that I felt was needed in this setting. I would definitely listen to this narrator again.
I would recommend this to fans of the show because this kind of gives the outline that Julian Fellows may have built Downton on. Just don’t expect the TV show version of things.
3 ½ Stars
I received this from Edelweiss and the publisher Tantor Audio for a fair and honest review.
#56-The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore, narrated by, Adenrele Ojo & Pamella D'Pella
This was an interesting story it had me laughing at times and crying at others. These 3 women, friends since they were teens have gone through a lot, each dealing with their circumstances in their own way, yet knowing that the other women were there for them no matter what. I loved Odette she handled her circumstance gracefully and I loved her ghosts, which included her pot smoking mama and a drunken Mrs. Roosevelt these scenes had me laughing hard. Barbara Jean was a sad case but I loved seeing her grow throughout the book into a much stronger woman than she had been. Clarice has a philandering husband and finally gets up the guts to leave him but the consequences and outcome of that makes for a very interesting story too.
I enjoyed this book I think it’s a good one if you are a fan of southern fiction, or friendship stories. What is shocking is that this book is written by a man because he nailed these friendships and the women’s “voices” which isn’t easy for a male author to do and he does it very well. Also for a first novel this book is very well written I look forward to another book by this author, I think he is a rising star!
This was well narrated by, Adenrele Ojo & Pamella D'Pella but, I am still wondering what the reasoning was in having 2 narrators, these two narrators have very similar voices and I can honestly say I wasn’t sure when they switched back and forth. Don’t get me wrong the narration was good but I think one narrator would have been sufficient. I would probably listen to more from these two narrators though I can’t tell them apart even after finishing this book.
Hi Susan, I added The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat to my wishlist a while ago just because I loved the title. So it's great to hear from an actual reader that it's a good read as well. :)
#57-Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy by Albert Marrin
This was an interesting look into the Triangle Fire and the political repercussions. It goes into a lot about the strikes of garment workers and did get a little political. The fascinating part is all the laws that were put into place because of this fire, laws we take for granted in the present day.
This is a juvenile non-fiction that may get a little boring in the middle for the younger kids, but I enjoyed the story and even if you are an adult I think you will like this one.
#58-Ocean at the end of the lane by, Neil Gaiman
What to say about this hauntingly beautiful totally unique book, I loved it, I even rewound it twice just so it didn’t end and if I would have had the time I would have started it from the beginning as soon as I finished.
Such a neat story, Neil is one of those writers that can take your breath away with a phrase or beautiful imagery. Although this story has fantastical/magical realism, it still feels like it could be a true story because you believe every word.
Of course I listened to this on audio, it’s narrated by, Neil himself so that was a no-brainer choice, because I could listen to Neil read the phonebook and be mesmerized.
I know this is a sorry excuse for a review but every time I try to explain how good this was I can’t put a sentence together, maybe when I do a re-listen one day I will expand upon this review but for now all I can say is read this book and read it now! (On audio is the best!)
I'm looking forward to getting my hands on this latest Gaiman, but I suspect I am going to have to wait some time. Sounds like a good one!
#59-Ladies' Night by Mary Kay Andrews, narrated by, Kathleen McInerney
If you enjoy books about cheating husbands and getting revenge on them, this book may be for you. It is a light read that could have been lighter by about 100 pages. Grace was too naïve and some of the scenarios were unrealistic. I recommend you try one of Mary Kay Andrews other titles, like Savannah Breeze.
There were parts that reminded me of The Women (but the remake which was bad), I just did not enjoy this book everyone was so whinny and stupid/naïve and there was so many implausible stories where these women get serious revenge and don’t end up being arrested. This books was just meh.
Kathleen McInerney’s narration made everyone in this book sound like a whiny teenager except Wyatt the lone male. It may have been more enjoyable in print.
#60-Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall Narrated by, Amy Rubinate
I truly enjoyed this book, my favorite character was Eula, there were times Starla would get on my nerves and you just wanted to shake her, but she was young & naïve, abandoned by her mother, raised by a grandmother who is much tougher on her than anyone realizes. She is a sassy little thing and has this idealized idea of her mother who she thinks is a big star in Nashville plus a father who works out on an oil rig and doesn’t come home very often. When Starla gets into trouble she runs away from her Grandmother Mamie’s home to be with her mother, but things don’t go as smoothly as Starla thinks, she is picked up by a black woman, Eula, who is traveling with of all things a white baby (remember this is 1963) Eula promises she will get her to Nashville but they need to stop at her house first and Eula’s husband is none too happy to have two white children in his home, this is when things get a might complicated for Starla & Eula.
The friendship between Eula & Starla is sweet and I loved how much they each learned from each other even when they didn’t realize it, Starla’s eyes were opened to what goes on in the world outside of her little Mississippi town where the only “coloreds” she knows are the help for the rich people in town, but what I liked was with Starla’s naïveté she doesn’t judge Eula on the color of her skin just by her deeds and the size of her heart.
This is a road trip book and these two are on a doozy, and it seems like what could go wrong did go wrong, plus they have a white baby named James along for the ride (again I remind you these 3 are traveling from Mississippi to Nashville in 1963) so you can guess what some of the trouble they run into is. I don’t want to give too much away but let’s just say Starla’s daddy hasn’t been all that honest with her about her mamma. As I said before there are times when Starla’s “red rage” (as she calls it) get her into more trouble than she needed to be in and there were times I just wanted to yell Starla NOOOO, but what fun would that book have been?
Amy Rubinate narrates this one and does a great job she sounds like a young girl when narrating Starla and when narrating Eula she is an African-American woman, it is almost like two different people are narrating but it is only the very talented Rubinate each character has their own voice and there was never any trouble knowing who was talking. Highly recommend reading this one on audio!
I highly recommend this book, if you are a fan of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and/or Calling Me Home I would say get this book right now!
4 ½ Stars
#61- Is This Tomorrow by, Caroline Leavitt narrated by, Xe Sands
This is such a unique tale, set in the 50’s divorced mother Ava and her son Lewis find it hard to fit into their Boston suburb because Ava is *Gasp* divorced so she must be a wanton woman after every man in town but that isn’t the case Ava is just trying her best for her and her son. Lewis has his own set of problems being the child of a divorcee’ but there are a brother and sister, Jimmy & Rose, that don’t have a father either and they bond and become best friends until the horrible day when Jimmy goes missing and everything changes.
This book is told from the perspective of an adult Lewis who has had his share of relationship problems with not only women he has dated but with his mom too. When the truth comes out about Jimmy’s disappearance things don’t become any easier for Lewis, Rose & Ava.
This was a complex story, filled with emotion, it is a family drama and a story of how friendships can change when something bad happens especially when you are young. I truly loved this book it is so well written that even though it isn’t an edge of your seat thriller type book it still grabbed me and I didn’t want to stop reading/listening. There were times when I thought if you people would just talk to each other maybe some of these long held misunderstandings could have been avoided but that is what made this book all the more real, these are real people dealing with huge events in the best way they know how and that isn’t always easy.
Who else but Xe Sands could pull off the raw emotion of this book, her narration was perfect she brought the emotions of every character to the forefront and I can’t imagine anyone else doing a better job at it. She was the perfect choice for this book!
This was the first book I have read by Leavitt but it will certainly not be the last!
4 ½ Stars
Full Disclosure—I received this book from the Audiobookjukebox.com and the publisher for a fair and honest review.
#62-A Half Forgotten Song , by Katherine Webb
Dimity/Mitzy is an unreliable narrator but I don’t think it is in a mean spirited way, I believe it is her story completely from her point of view, even though that view is skewed, compared to how other people remember it. She never knew any kindness in this world so of course she would fall in love with the first person that showed it to her.
The back and forth in time worked very well, as Zach tries to find out the truth about artist Charles Aubrey but what he finds in Mitzy is not what he expected to find and can she be believed? Mitzy’s story was so fascinating and made even more so as realize what an unreliable narrator she is but you can’t help but fall in love with her either, at least I couldn’t, I felt she was stuck in this time, I don’t believe she ever really matured past this point in her life and it made me sad for her and just want to hug her.
I really liked the way the author told this story with this air of mystery as you try to figure out just how much of Dimity’s story is the truth and how much is pure fantasy. Zach was an interesting character too as he tries to figure out not only what to do with his own life but to find out what his real connection is to the famous artist. Mitzy’s mother is a piece of work who I just wanted to slap, the way she treats Mitzy is just awful she is a very unlikable person, and maybe Mitzy wouldn’t have been so in need of love, attention and normalcy if she had been even a decent mother. There are hints of gothic fiction here but I wouldn’t categorize it as such all the characters are fully fleshed out and truly “alive”.
I have enjoyed Webb’s other two books and this one did not disappoint I highly recommend all of her books! I couldn’t put this book down I feel it is a must read but be prepared for some late nights and characters that will stay with you long after you are finished!
4 1/2 Stars
I received this book from 2 sources Librarything Early Reviewers program and Edelweiss for a fair and honest review.
#63-Restoration (Restoration #1) by Rose Tremain, narrated by, Paul Daneman
Historical Fiction, about a physician, Robert Merivel, in the 17th century who falls out of favor with the King and tries to rebuild his life, all the while pining to be close with the King again. It is very well written, sometimes humorous, and sometimes a bit sad. The medical facts are interesting and seem to be spot on with the time period. Merivel can be very self centered and doesn’t seem to care about anyone or anything except for the one person he can’t have. There were times Robert was such a cad that you wanted to smack him but he is a character in every sense of the word. However, he is an interesting character and I will continue on to the next book in the series, just to see if he ever learns from his mistakes. There is some gratuitous sex and it isn’t action packed in the least, more a day in the life, which does slog down a bit after the middle of the book, but well written historical fiction that I would recommend.
The narration by, Paul Daneman is at times absolutely brilliant and at other times cartoonish, and some people will be annoyed by some loud mouth clicks, they aren’t constant but are noticeable when they appear. I got over the mouth clicks , but some characters sounded like a parrot talking and his women could really use some work but there was just something great about the majority of his narration that I would listen to this narrator again because of the parts of the narration that are brilliant.
This was my first book by Tremain, and I would definitely read more from her, and I would try this narrator again too.
#64-The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley narrated by, Katherine Kellgren
Susanna Kearsley has a unique talent of bringing together so many genres seamlessly into one book, this book has historical fiction, magical realism and romance with none being overwhelming. We travel from the present day to Jacobite Scotland and Catherine’s Russia in psychic flashbacks. Nicola has unique ability, she can touch an object and see its history and when a woman brings in a wooden firebird she sees a girl named Anna when she touches it and must figure out who she is and where the firebird comes from, which leads her from Scotland to St. Petersburg, but she isn’t traveling alone she asks friend and ex-flame Rob to accompany her because his gift is even stronger than hers, his is more seeing spirits of the past and he sees the future too. But is Rob only doing it out of kindness and friendship or does he want more than that.
We “meet” Anna at Slains castle in Scotland where she finds out things about herself and her past that send her off to find her real family, this path takes her to France and Russia. I don’t want to give too much of this story away because the way it builds to the climax of Anna’s story is written so beautifully that I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. But she meets some amazing people and she doesn’t go through any real hard times because it seems like there is always someone there to look out for her, but I liked her spunk and her spirit.
I truly enjoyed this book and have found a new swoon worthy crush in Rob, I enjoyed he and Nicola’s relationship as it grew into something more (and if you follow my reviews you know I’m not one for too much romance). I think my favorite scene was when he drives her to the airport. (Yes that is all I am going to say you’ll have to read the book to see what I am talking about) ;)
Katy Kellgren never ceases to amaze me with her amazing capacity for accents and varied voices both male and female. She makes it sound like there are way more than one person narrating because each and every character has their own unique voice and accent. I will always choose a book in audio if she is narrating.
I will read anything his author writes she has such a beautiful way of phrasing and such a talent at mixing the genre’s and time periods.
4 ½ Stars
I'm glad to know Whistling Past the Graveyard is a winner. We ordered it for the library, and it should do well based on the books to which you compared it.
#65-Songs of Willow Frost by, Jamie Ford
As with Ford’s last book this is a bittersweet story that will give you such major feels. William is such a sweet kid, you can't help but love him and I just wanted to give him a hug. There are 2 characters that will stay with you long after you are finished and they are William and Charlotte, these two kids are so precious and so damaged by circumstance they will break your heart but they will also fill your heart with such feelings.
Willow/Liu Song is a memorable character too but although I did feel sorry for her, I didn’t have the same feelings for her as I did for William. Her story is a sad one but some of that sadness comes from the choices she makes, Yes, I know bad things happened to her and I know she had no choice in those matters but I think her later choices are the ones she felt the most guilt for and in some ways rightfully so. Yes, I know it is a different time and prejudices being what they were made things all the harder for her as a single/unwed Chinese mother in the 1920’s so I understand she did the best she could being so young and having no family to depend on. Ok, I am not going to say anymore you will need to make your own decision about how you feel about Willow.
I liked the alternating chapters as Willow tells William the story of his life before the orphanage and seeing it through his eyes as the story unfolds, as sparks of memory he had forgotten are reignited.
How come it is so hard for me to write a coherent review of a book I loved? This book made me feel so much, it is beautifully written; Jamie Ford has a great talent for taking a sad/bittersweet story and telling it in a way that you are not depressed when you are done with the book. There were a few times I had to put it down for a few moments, one moment especially and when you read the book you will know exactly which one I am talking about. But it just made the story more beautiful, and heartbreaking.
This is an amazing story, I for one absolutely loved it and I hope you will too. Beautifully, heartrending and heartbreaking but a story that will stay with you long after you are finished, I have such a book hangover from this book that I have not been able to start a new book yet, and for me that is a sure sign of a great book.
I received this book from the Librarything Early reviewer program (also was accepted for it from netgalley but never got it downloaded)
Thanks for stopping by Judy hope things are going better for you!
the next book is another one I think you may like too!
#66-The Storyteller By, Jodi Picoult
Narrated By , Jennifer Ikeda as Anya, Mozhan Marno as Sage, Fred Berman as Leo, Edoardo Ballerini as Josef, Suzanne Toren as Minka
I need to admit some things right off the bat here, this is my first Jodi Picoult book, because I have honestly always lumped her in with Sparks, Steel and Roberts and I now feel I have been unfair in this assumption. This book was a very well written story, I’ve heard it is very different from her other books, however this has made me curious enough to read something else by this author. Okay, now that I’m done with that, on with my thoughts on the book.
I liked the character of Sage, scarred inside and out from a car accident, she keeps to herself, works nights so she doesn’t have to see other people or more so no one sees her. Her boyfriend is a married man and I think she likes this safe no commitments relationship because she never has to go out in public together. She attends a grief counseling group where she meets an old man named Josef they strike up a friendship until Josef comes clean with her and tells her of his horrendous past and asks her to do the unthinkable and so begins the moral dilemma that is the premise of this book.
The different views/stories were very interesting and very well done it was really interesting to hear Minka & Josef’s different views of the holocaust , Minka’s story broke my heart as well it should but she had a couple decent people help her out even though they were employed by the Nazi’s they still saved her life a couple times. Also Anya’s story about the Wampir (sp.audio) was almost eerie considering what Minka lived after she started writing this story.
I wasn’t put off by the little romance story of Leo and Sage it’s no surprise you can see it coming a mile away so this isn’t a spoiler, it made Sage more relatable actually. I liked Leo’s diatribe while he was on his blind date it was a well crafted soap box speech that everyone should hear. There is a reveal at the end that I had figured out pretty early on and was a bit saddened that we didn’t get to see the reactions of the main people involved (Sorry if that sentence makes no sense, trying not to have spoilers, come back when you read the book and let me know if it makes more sense then!).
The male narration was beautifully done Edoardo Ballerini as Josef was fantastic and completely believable and Fred Berman as Leo reminded me a bit of Scott Brick ( I am a fan so that is a compliment), however the voices of Jennifer Ikeda as Anya and Mozhan Marno as Sage sounded very similar at first until Suzanne Toren as Minka started telling her story then I could finally hear a clear definition of Anya’s story. I am glad they said who was narrating which part at the beginning because I would have guessed Minka was Jennifer & Anya was Suzanne. All in all I would highly recommend this on audio.
And one discrepancy I noticed was when they went to the hotel and were watching TCM and were saying the words to Philadelphia Story they said it went from the movie to a commercial, TCM doesn’t have commercials. Being a huge TCM fan this one bothered me but I may be the only person who noticed it.
I would highly recommend this book to all as a great story and well crafted historical fiction.
#67-Sweet Tea & Jesus Shoes By Sandra Chastain, Deborah Smith, Donna Ball, Virginia Ellis, Debra Dixon, Nancy Knight Narrated By Lee Ann Howlett
Length: 4 hrs and 27 mins
This was a cute collection of southern short stories; is it odd that my favorites are the ones about funerals and death. Each story is a unique look at a day in the life of a southern family.
I’m sorry, if I had read this in paper I would have had the name of each story and a little something about each one but since I listened on audio I’ll just have to wing it. My favorites were Nola’s Ashes and the Aunt Betsey’s funeral story, also the one about Grandma telling a story made me giggle hard! Also the Outhouse story had some funny moments too.
Lee Ann’s narration took a little bit to get used to but I ended up enjoying it very much, I felt at times she was channeling Lorna Raver, she has a similar husky note to her voice that serves Lorna so well. Although some characters may have sounded older than they were written, I was still very happy with the narration. This was my first book narrated by Lee Ann but I would listen to her again.
If you are a southern fiction fan I would recommend these short stories.
3 ½ Stars
I received this audiobook from the Audiobookjukebox and the narrator/publisher for a fair and honest review.
#68- A Bitter Veil by Libby Fischer Hellmann Narrated by, Diane Piron Gelman
A Fascinating look at a time of turmoil in Iran with the fall of the Shah & the rise of the Ayatollah. This book felt very well researched and wasn’t a slam on an entire country or religion. We meet a young couple in love in America, Nouri and Anna they are young and in love Nouri is Iranian but this makes no difference to Anna in fact she is looking forward to the day they make their home in Iran. However Iran is in the beginning stages of upheaval and when the Shah falls everything in Nouri & Anna’s life changes too and definitely not for the better.
I found this story fascinating in how fast people’s allegiances and loyalty and personalities changed with the revolution and how many different reasons for the changes. Anne married a sweet man in Nouri who was involved in human rights activism while he was studying in the US and even after they had gotten to Iran he seemed to still hold the same beliefs until after the fall of the Shah and Nouri is arrested he comes back a very different man and Anna’s whole life changes.
I don’t want to give too much away about what happens between Nouri and Anna but let’s say he becomes a different man than she married. The unrest in Iran is fascinating the way the people flip-flopped on what It was they wanted from their country it makes me wonder how different the middle east and Iran in particular would be now if the ones that wanted to embrace the modern and give the rights to everyone had won this particular battle.
The narration by Diane Piron Gelman was very well done her accents weren’t over done and as far as I could tell she did a good job at speaking Farsi and French when called for. I was impressed with her narration as a whole and would listen to her again.
In the author’s afterword she talks about interviewing many Iranian Americans for this story and I felt like this rang true to what I know of this time period. One thing the author said in the afterword is she is a crime writer and needed a crime but I kind of felt like the crimes were on the people of Iran although the crime did add the ending and fit well in the story.
If you are at all interesting in this time period or setting or just a fan of historical fiction I would highly recommend this book.
I received this book from the author & the Audiobookjukebox for a fair and honest review
#69-Sisterland by, Curtis Sittenfeld narrated by, Rebecca Lowman
Hmmm… still not really sure what to think of this book, the premise was good but from the description I guess I was expecting a very different book, what I got was a glorified soap opera.
I didn’t really like either of these sisters and this book never clicked with me, plus all the other characters were very one dimensional and there are some things in this story mostly dealing with Courtney & Hank that I felt were just put in there for shock affect or for political/personal reasons. Plus there are certain events that I thought didn’t fit the character telling the story. There is also a lot more descriptions of sex than I ever needed.
I thought Kate/Daisy was a whiny, complaining and completely self-centered woman who judged everyone but herself, I liked Vi a bit better but thought she did some things just for shock value. These just weren’t likable characters.
Rebecca Lowman’s narration was well done, although pretty much a straight read. I have enjoyed this narrator before, I’m sure I will enjoy her narration more with a more enjoyable book.
This book reminded me of Franzen, so if you’re a fan of his, then this book is for you.
I will give one word about how I feel about this book…Forgettable.
#70-Touched by Fire by Irene N. Watts
This was a fascinating read, I asked for this from netgalley because I am fascinated with the Triangle Fire tragedy but this book is about so much than just that, it is a fabulous immigrant story.
We meet teenaged Miriam and her family when they are living in Kiev, they have already lived through the pogroms (which is a violent massacre or persecution of an ethnic or religious group, particularly one aimed at Jews) and there is hints at more to come, but her parents have a dream, to go to the golden land to America where no one burns you for being a Jew. They start their journey by getting out of Kiev and moving to Germany to make enough money for Papa to go to America first and make enough money for the rest of the family to come over. It is 2 years before enough money is saved and the tickets arrive for Miriam, her mother Sara, her brother Yuri, and baby sister Devora to make the great sea voyage. However Miriam’s brother is a little brat who doesn’t want to leave, sorry Yuri really made me mad in this story and Devora has been sickly and the doctor advises that she not go on this trip. Ok that is all I am going to tell about that part *No Spoilers*.
The book goes on with Miriam’s story her sea voyage , what that was like and the conditions for these passengers was pretty grim, but I liked how the author let us see through Miriam’s eyes that first look at New York harbor the Statue of Liberty and arriving at Ellis Island. I thought her descriptions of this and the Lower East Side made you feel like you were there and was well written. So there is so much more to this book than the Triangle Fire which I’m sure you have guessed is where Miriam gets a job and after still having nightmares from the Pogrom’s of her childhood this was a pretty tough time. One caveat here, the description of the fire is very graphic so teens or adults with a weak stomach may have a hard time with that.
I really enjoyed this book and pretty much read it in one sitting, this was my first book by Irene Watts though I have been meaning to try her books, I will now be reading more of her books. I really enjoyed her writing and the descriptions of time and place were well done.
I would recommend this to teens and adults alike and will be buying the paperbook for our library!
As I said I received this book from netgalley for a fair and honest review.
#71-Lie Still by Julia Heaberlin
The premise of this book sounded really good, however the follow through was not as good as I had hoped.
I did enjoy the first part of this story it was a good build up to an intriguing mystery however the end was so rushed that it kind of ruined it. This group of women was a caricature of Texas/southern women, and their little group with a bowl of secrets was laughable especially when it was Emily’s first time getting together with these women, if the queen bee of this little group was blackmailing these other women, why would you include the new Chief of Police’s wife?
There were so many secrets and storylines going on here and I could kind of see what the author was trying for but it didn’t work for me. The big reveal at the end had me so confused and made me think I had missed a page because it was so rushed and very unsatisfactorily for my taste it was very anti-climatic for a book with so many story lines and secrets.
Overall I was disappointed in this…some have liked it more than I did so I guess give it a try, I didn’t hate it, it just won’t be one that I’ll tell people is a must read.
2 ½ Stars
I received this from Librarything Early Reviewer program for a fair and honest review
#72- Evergreen by, Rebecca Rasmussen (Can't get touchstone to work had to add the book manually so may not be there yet)
This book was sad yet uplifting at the same time. These characters are flawed but flawed by things done to them by others and how they dealt with the hurts that were done to them. My favorite character was Lulu she was an amazingly strong woman who conquered whatever life threw at her and was strong for everyone around her, she was the kind of friend I think anyone would be lucky to have. Hux was my second favorite he had a quiet reserve and so much empathy for people.
Of course it is hard to agree with some of the choices made by these people especially Evaline but if she had made different choices then it would have been a very different book. The treatment Naamah received in the orphanage is tough to read but it is one of those instances where it made her who she was flaws and all and her choices when she left the orphanage were caused by the treatment she got there.
Parts of this book will break your heart and parts will make you smile, this is one of those books that is hard to review because I don’t want to give anything away because I want you to experience it for yourself. This one will give you such a book hangover I can’t get these characters out of my head. I finished this book 3 days ago and am still thinking about these characters and miss them and it makes me tempted to go back and start again at the beginning just to be close to them again.
My only qualm would be I wish I knew Naamah's journey after Racina ended up in the hospital and how she ended up where she did. And there were times I wish she hadn’t jumped quite so far in time but I think that was more about me missing the characters.
I don’t want to say too much more as I don’t want to spoil the experience for anyone so I will just say this book is a must read!
I received this book from Edelweiss for a fair and honest review.
Also I have been listening to the Sevenwaters series by,Juliet Marillier I have read these books before except the last one before but it has been awhile I am on #5 right now , was very excited when I saw they are on audio and decided to do a re-read. I am trying to decide if I want to do one big review for all or review each separately since they are each a different heroine and also the audiobooks are narrated by different people so I may do separate reviews of each.
#73- Son of the Shadows (Sevenwaters #2) by Juliet Marillier narrated by, Rosalyn Landor
About 15 years have passed since the end of Daughter of the Forest Sorcha and Red have 3 children twins Sean & Liadan, and Niamh, Sean is being groomed to take over Sevenwaters, Liadan is a healer much like her mother and Niamh seems to be the spoiled pretty girl who will marry to further the families allies, but she has other ideas when a druid named Ciaran comes to Sevenwaters he and Niamh start a secret affair, but this will not go well and if you paid attention to ending of Daughter of the Forest you will know why this relationship cannot go on. When the family finds out about this she is sent off to marry a chieftain who may not be as good a man as the family thinks he is!
Liadan is kidnapped by the mysterious and dangerous Painted Man to heal one of his brethren as she spends more time with this band of men she sees a different side of this man than she previously thought, since he won’t tell her his name she decides to call him Bran and she falls in love with him they have one night of passion and then he finds out who her father is and sends her home. As you can guess the night of passion has resulted in a child. So now you have the gist of what this installment is about.
There were times I really like Liadan I liked her strength at becoming a single mother when that kind of thing was not done however I questioned her thinking when she took her baby into enemy territory to rescue Bran and his man Gull, I mean really who would do that when you have a whole house full of family and servants, so why in the world would you strap your baby on your back for a dangerous rescue mission.
There are parts of this book that are very sad for lovers of the first Sevenwaters book Daughter of the Forest , including the reveals comes of just who Bran actually is and why he has such a grudge against Liadan’s father Hugh of Harrowfield, I thought this one did a great job of bringing us up to date on the characters from the first book but also moving on from them to the next generation.
Rosalyn Landor narrated this one and if you follow my reviews you know she is a favorite of mine and this was no exception. As always, she does a great job with nice accents and variations between characters.
This was a re-read I read this book years ago and re-read on audio and maybe didn’t like Liadan as much as I remembered.
#74-Child of the Prophecy (Sevenwaters #3) by Juliet Marillier narrated by, Heather O'Neill
Fianne daughter of Niamh and Ciaran comes to Sevenwaters after her mother’s death and is welcomed into the family fold, however things aren’t as they seem because the Sevenwaters clan has no idea she has been tutored not only in the ways of a druid by her father but in the dark arts by her grandmother the evil sorceress who was the one who cast the spell on the sons of Sevenwaters. In a long ago prophecy it states that it will take a child that was neither of Britain nor or Erin but at the same time both, who is marked by the raven to take the sacred island back. Everyone assumes this is Johnny son of Liadan & Bran and the evil sorceress has sent Fianne there to kill him when the moment is right so the prophecy is not fulfilled.
I enjoyed Fianne’s story very much she is as all other Sevenwaters women very strong and goes through a lot but she is being controlled by the sorceress but also still has the good in her that comes from her father’s teachings. She has a very hard road I think the toughest since Sorcha, because she so wants to be good even when the sorceress forces her to do terrible things that injures one of the other daughters of Sevenwaters.
I liked this book because it is filled with the Sevenwaters family no one is really off their own, Fianne is surrounded by people who want her to be good and want her in their lives, her two biggest allies are Finbar the uncle who still wears a swans wing thanks to her grandmother and Darragh her childhood friend. This is also our first look at island of Inis Eala where Bran’s men under the tutelage of his son Johnny are running a sort of school for warriors and we see the families of the men from Son of Shadows including Gull’s wife Biddy who was a favorite character of mine. We also have the creepy Eamonn again and contrary to outward appearances he has not forgiven what he feels are the wrongs done to him by Bran & Liadan.
I would say this is my second favorite of the series after Daughter of the Forest. I thoroughly enjoyed Fianne journey and the outcome, even though fans of the other books may need hankies towards the end, I know I did.
Heather O'Neill’s narration was great, Fianne unlike the rest of her family in Sevenwaters was born in a different part of the county and had a stronger Irish accent more I don’t know maybe lowborn but I thought Heather’s portrayal of her was very well done. I truly enjoyed all her accents. I would definitely listen to more by this narrator.
4 ½ Stars
I guess I forgot to put my review of the 1st Sevenwaters book so here we are #75!!
#75-Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters #1) by Juliet Marillier narrated by, Terry Donnelly
This was a re-read of one of my all-time favorite fantasy books and I have to tell you I loved it just as much the second time through as I did the first and listening to the audio version only enhanced my love of it.
I still loved the characters of Sorcha & Red, this whole story is so beautifully written, Juliet Marillier is such a fabulous writer!
I thoroughly enjoyed this fairytale re-telling (The Wild Swans by, Hans Christian Andersen), this is not a story for the faint of heart, just a warning there is a rape scene, and this love story which to me is so secondary to Sorcha’s quest is chaste and doesn’t overpower the book at all. Sorcha’s quest will break your heart and it amazed me still even on re-reading/listening what a great strong woman she was.
I enjoyed the “magical” elements the fair Folk and the druids it all seems so normal and everyday that you totally believe these people truly lived in this time.
This was my first time listening to Terry Donnelly as a narrator at first I wasn’t sure about her because I was expecting more of an Irish accent from the characters at Sevenwaters but she really grew on me and I was enrapt with the book by the end and was very happy with her narration, I thought she put just the right amount of venom in the Uncle Richard’s voice. I see she narrates another one later in the series and I look forward to it and would definitely listen to this narrator again.
As I said I love Juliet Marillier’s writing she knows how to weave a tale so well that you believe every word. If you are a fan of the quest type fantasy give this series a try.
Still 5 Stars
#76-Heir to Sevenwaters (Sevenwaters #4) by Juliet Marillier narrated by, Rosalyn Landor
When we venture back to Sevenwaters the household is preparing for the wedding of Dierdre to a nobleman, the house is full of people among them Johnny and some of his men including Aiden and Cathal, Aiden has eyes for Dierdre’s twin Clodagh and his rude foster-brother Cathal seems to have a lot to say about this. As was decided by Lord Sean, Johnny son of Liadan & Bran would be the heir to Sevenwaters since he and wife Aisling have only had daughters but an unexpected late in life pregnancy produces a son they name Finbar. The pregnancy has been worrisome to the whole household because of Aisling’s age but when everything goes well with the birth the whole household celebrates and sighs with relief, until the day Cathal comes to say goodbye to Clodagh in the nursery and in that second her brother Finbar is gone and in his place a changeling made of sticks that only she can see is a real child from the otherworld. This begins Clodagh’s journey into the otherworld to rescue her brother with Cathal’s help.
This one had much more otherworldly/magical beings and worlds than the last couple books have had which I enjoyed, most of the book is spent in the otherworld with forest beings and the evil King of The Oaks Mac Dara who wants something but it isn’t Finbar or Clodagh . Cathal was an interesting character because in the beginning he is so rude to everyone especially Clodagh but as the story goes on we see why he was like he was and his reasoning’s behind it all.
Clodagh’s journey is interesting because unlike all the other daughters of Sevenwaters who did battle with otherworldly foes this is this first one that did their fighting in the otherworld, she has a long harrowing journey and I was glad that years and years hadn’t passed in the real world while she searched for her brother!
Rosalyn Landor did a great job on the narration as always, Mac Dara’s voice had just the right amount of contempt for humans and venom when he was crossed. She gave Clodagh a dignity and fragility at times that was a nice blend. I always enjoy all her different voices male and female.
#77-Seer of Sevenwaters (Sevenwaters #5) by Juliet Marillier narrated by, Terry Donnelly
Read in Paperform in 2011 re-read 2013 on audio.
Another great addition to the Sevenwaters saga! In this one we follow Sibeal on her path to become a druid ,Ciaran has sent her to the island of Inis Eala to spend the summer with her sisters before she makes her final pledge to become a full druid. But as with all daughters of Sevenwaters her path takes some twists and turns. Also in this book we had some continuation of Clodagh and Cathal’s story but their story is far from over so I look forward to more from them.
This was a really good story and I loved the look back in stories that were told in the hall it made me remember some of the details I had forgotten from the previous books since it has been awhile since I’ve read them. It also reminded me how many generations of the Sevenwaters family I have come to know and love. Sorcha’s great grandchildren were born in this book and I guess I’d kind of forgotten just how far this story has come.
The story did wrap up but there is definitely more story to tell and look forward to the next book in this wonderful series.
4 ½ Stars
Updated Audiobook Review: Terry Donnelly was the narrator of this one and I did enjoy her narration except for her Norse male voices they just sounded odd I can't describe exactly what was wrong with them but they were just off and didn't sound at all Norse to me. other than that she did a good job.
#78-The Postmistress by Sarah Blake narrated by, Orlagh Cassidy
This book started out very slow for me and may have become a DNF if I hadn’t been reading it for bookclub, however I was glad I didn’t stop because I did enjoy the second half of the book. I am still trying to figure out why this book wasn’t called The Reporter instead of the Postmistress, I felt she (the postmistress, who actually called herself postmaster) was a small time character and that the major character was Frankie the reporter.
I did enjoy the book once Frankie was riding the trains in France before that it was a bit boring. I enjoyed Frankie’s interactions with real life Edward R. Murrow even though the author took some liberties with dates and technology. I also enjoyed the look into life in America, right before we entered the Second World War, especially rural America they are in Maine? Mass.? not sure, but we have all heard the stories about German subs off the coast and I enjoyed the character of Harry because he was so adamant about them being there and his story was good if sad.
The actual postmistress who when called that corrected the person and said postmaster (again why is this called the postmistress?) Iris was a very secondary character the synopsis is all about her and so is the title but she is a secondary character and it was only one letter she kept aside and it was far into the book , before she seemed to only be there to talk about sex, and judge people in town.
I did enjoy the character of Frankie she was tough yet not, I wonder how many other reporters of this time were censored and not able to tell what was truly going on with the Jews in Germany, France and Russia. Her riding on the train was edge of the seat stuff because of what we as a reader know happened in history and I was very happy she got out of there alive!
Doctor Will and his wife had an interesting story too and was one of the saddest stories of them all.
Orlagh Cassidy was the narrator for this and I thought she did a great job with all the accents and characters, it has been a long time since I’ve listened to her and forgotten just how good she is and why she is on my favorite narrators list, this book reminded me why!
I have to rate this book a 3 because I liked the last half but the first half not so much.
#79-Flame of Sevenwaters (Sevenwaters #6) by Juliet Marillier narrated by, Rosalyn Landor
We are back at Sevenwaters, Finbar is now a boy of 7 or 8 and seems to have a few lasting effects of his time in the otherworld with Mac Dara , also Maeve, daughter of Lord Sean who was badly burned as a child in Fianne’s story comes back to Sevenwaters after 10 years spent in the house of Liadan & Bran. It is tough on her because she has very limited use of her hands and her face is scarred and at Harrowfield she wasn’t an oddity because she has always been there but back at Sevenwaters people stare and talk behind her back. Plus she is having a hard time reconnecting with her mother who just wants to pretend the last 10 years didn’t exist or to see the strong woman her daughter has become. Maeve has a way with animals, it is her gift.
Maeve & Finbar are both feeling a bit constrained in the house Finbar is under constant guard and doesn’t seem to be able to do anything a normal child of his age can do and Maeve used to having freedom to be outside in stables or just outside period is having a very hard time sitting in the ladies sewing room with her mother and the other women of the house since she can’t sew since her hands are burnt up.
I enjoyed the budding friendship between Finbar & Maeve neither has ever had their siblings around very much so it was neat to see them become so close.
There is a bit of formula to this one but since Marillier is such a great writer I chose to overlook that. There is finally a ending to the Mac Dara story but not in the way you may have thought it would end but I wish there would have been more of Cathal & Clodagh and even though we have been working up to this conclusion for a few books I still felt it was a little rushed and wished we had seen Ciaran’s entire journey and Cathal’s journey back. There is a death at the beginning of this book that is sad for fans of Daughter of the Forest but it makes a true ending of that story.
As always Rosalyn Landor’s narration was well done, I like that she made Maeve sound a bit different than everyone else at Sevenwaters after all she has been living in Britain at Harrowfield so she would have a different accent .
Even though this isn’t my favorite Sevenwaters book it was still worth 4 stars.
#80-Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein Narrated by, Morven Christie & Lucy Gaskell
Wow wow wow…a book that completely lived up to its hype! What an interesting story, something so different than anything else I’ve ever read about WWII. I never knew there was even a Women’s’ RAF auxiliary and being a work of fiction did not make this story any less fascinating. What Maddy (Kitty Hawk) & Julie (Verity) did for the war effort was pretty amazing considering the time.(or at anytime really)
I felt like I was listening to an unreliable narrator because you just couldn’t believe that she was giving so much away and well **No Spoilers** when you get to the end and understand more it makes you want to go back to the beginning with that knowledge of truth start over again but I bet even if you did there are still parts that will make you cry! I just can’t say much more because you need to become enrapt with these characters and I don’t want to spoil that for anyone!
There are parts of this that are funny, ironic and desperately sad but written in such a way it blends so perfectly as if listening to a real person tell a story, I was very impressed with Wein’s writing chops! I know I fell in love with these characters through the telling and these are characters that will stay with me a very long time!
The two new to me narrators, Morven Christie & Lucy Gaskell truly brought this book to life Morven Christie’s accents and emotions were beyond amazing she has a huge fan in me now, and I will be finding other books she has narrated. Lucy Gaskell’s was great too she did well at accents and emotions too it’s just maybe I was more invested in the other narration however I don’t want to take anything away from Gaskell as she did a fabulous job and again I will seek out other books she has narrated. I would highly recommend the audio production of this book over paper these two narrators are amazing!!
So I guess I am simply saying READ THIS BOOK! Or should I say LISTEN TO THIS BOOK!
Yes there are a lot of exclamation points in this review it deserved all of them!!! ;)
Hi Susie, I have enjoyed your reviews of Juliet Mariller's Sevenwaters series, the first book in that series is one of my favorites. I read the second one and was sort of disappointed with it and haven't continued on with the series even though I have more of them on my shelves. Perhaps I should think about getting back to this series.
Obviously I need to get my hands on Code Name Verity!!!
#81-The Storycatcher by, Ann Hite narrated by, Allyson Johnson
This was a very unique ghost story, or haint story, because that’s what they call ghosts on Black Mountain. But there are times when it gets a little confusing because there are so many stories and characters and there were times I had forgotten who was dead and who was alive because the ghosts felt like flesh and blood people going about their business, although that is also what made this book so unique.
These haints are everywhere on the mountain just not everyone can see them, and there is one that is a storycatcher she catches peoples stories , which is usually the secrets and lies, the hurts done and takes it upon herself to right these wrongs in any way she can. And there are a lot of secrets on Black Mountain and the Rev. Dobbs holds a doozy and he will pay one way or another for it.
I truly enjoyed the writing and felt the characters were well fleshed out but there are a lot of them and there is back and forth in time too with some of the stories but once you get them straight in your head you need to hear more about each and every one of them and the strands of how it all fits together makes for a fascinating story.
Allyson Johnson was a new to me narrator and I was very impressed with her narration she moved smoothly from female to male and from old lady to young girl. Her southern women seemed very real the accent didn’t sound faked or forced in any way. I will be finding more books narrated by her.
This was my first Ann Hite book and for sure won’t be my last I truly enjoyed how she weaved this story and can tell she is a master storyteller, I look forward to reading more books by her.
#82-Dark Places by, Gillian Flynn Narrated by, Rebecca Lowman , Cassandra Campbell, Mark Deakins & Robertson Dean
Wow this woman sure knows how to write some twisted characters. This will also be another review of a Gillian Flynn book that will be hard to write because of spoilers. It doesn’t cause quite as much whiplash as Gone Girl did but still kept me guessing all the through.
The story is told from 3 viewpoints, Libby Day survivor of a horrific family murder when she was 7 years old, she’s now 30 and broke with no family , having testified against her brother Ben and accusing him of murdering their family. Ben Day, Libby’s brother in prison for murdering his family and Patty Day mother of Ben & Libby murdered on that night so long ago.
Libby has been contacted by the Kill Club a group of people obsessed with horrible crimes especially the Day murders they also want her to find out who really did it because they don’t think Ben did . Since they offer to pay her to find the real murderer she goes along with it. Libby was interesting character; she is really the only one you feel for throughout this whole story, because she was only 7 years old when all this happened plus being forced to testify against her brother, you can’t help but think how awful that must have been.
I don’t want to say too much about Ben or Patty’s story because of spoilers so just know they tell the story of the day of the murders.
Rebecca Lowman , Cassandra Campbell & Mark Deakins narrate Libby, Patty and Ben respectively these are three great narrators and I thought they all did a good job with all the emotions and told the story well. Robertson Dean narrates a bit at the end that I can’t tell you about without spoilers, but he has an interesting voice and I will try to find something he has narrated that is a longer selection than his part in this book.
All in all I enjoyed this book , once it grabbed me it was very hard to put down, the characters are messed up all of them but Flynn seems to be able to write these f’ed up characters so well and so realistically I don’t know how she does it. At least in this book unlike Gone Girl I did care some about Libby Day , so not everyone was completely unlikable.
If you enjoyed Gone Girl you’ll like this one too!
#83-The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family By, Josh Hanagarne Narrated by, Stephen R. Thorne
I thought at first this book would only have a niche audience of librarians, but it is also about Tourettes and faith and even though the author is a Mormon I think what he says about faith applies to all religions. I enjoyed this book and not just the parts about libraries, though those may have been my favorite parts. I found it fascinating when he describes his Tourettes and how it feels; I’ve read a number of books about Tourettes but haven’t ever heard anyone describe the tics as well as the author did, like I never knew they hurt and that you could feel them coming on but could do nothing to stop them. I felt so bad for him when he was on his mission trip and his Tourettes got really bad. This is an awful disorder and I have a lot of compassion for Josh and think he is amazingly strong.
I also enjoyed how much he loves books and reading and the way he talks about his love of books, even at the adoption agency when he maybe should have let that conversation go!
I also enjoyed how supportive his family was of him it was refreshing to see a family full of love and not torn apart by Tourettes or faith or anything else!
A few quick thoughts I jotted down while listening…Loved when he went to the city council & commented that he’d never seen any of them at the library, so true!! And being a babysitter, I know this pain big-time! Also the guy watching porn and you just want to say “seriously man you’re in a library” I know there are many librarians that have thought the same thing why would you look at this stuff in a public place?
Stephen R. Thorne was the narrator and I thought he did a very good job at the narration and telling Josh’s story, I liked that he didn’t go over the top when making the Tourettes vocal tics and didn’t make them comical because it is such a serious disorder.
I highly recommend this book to not only librarians and readers but anyone who would like to know more about Tourettes and anyone who has questioned their faith. I need to say I am not usually someone who likes books about faith because peoples beliefs are very different but I liked that he told it straight and didn’t get preachy.
#84-Deep and Dark and Dangerous: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn narrated by Rachel Dulude
A good middle grade ghost story, with a bit of a moral to the story. There were times I felt like the mom/aunt in this book should have taken a step back and listened instead of jumping down Ali’s throat, and just believing her bratty little 4 year old who annoyed me to no end. However, I think that may be what kids will like about the book especially if they have younger siblings that drive them crazy.
I don’t really know what else to say about this book it was predictable to me but might not be for a middle grade reader. I read this to see if it would be a good book to add to our library’s collection and I liked to well enough and thought the kids would find it spookier than I did so, yes I will be buying this book for our middle grade collection.
Narrator Rachel Dulude did a good job, but I wonder if she made Sissy a little too snotty especially in the end, I felt she should have toned it down a bit.
#85-Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
Another great book from Sarah Addison Allen, it’s magically beautiful! Now I have to tell you, there is a bit of predictability to this book BUT it is the journey they take to get there that makes it so worth the read.
There are two stories at the beginning of this book that eventually intertwine the story of Kate who a year ago lost her husband and has been sleepwalking through life not being present in her or her daughter Devin’s life, in fact, in that year she has let her mother in law, Cricket , pretty much take over her life, which is ironic considering her husband always wanted her out of their lives. Then we have the story of Eby Kate’s great aunt who in the 60’s married the love of her life, George, who was also very rich not that Eby ever cared about that, while they are in Paris they meet Lisette (I won’t tell you how …Spoilers). When they finally come back to the states Eby’s family just wants and wants so Eby & George get rid of their money and buy a hotel/resort in Georgia called Lost Lake and are very happy for many years. Kate spent one glorious summer there when she was 12 and when she & Devin find an old postcard Eby sent to Kate years ago they decide to go visit Lost Lake much to the chagrin of her over bearing mother in law.
Devin & Lisette have become my new favorite characters from this author. I love Devin she is precocious yet so wise beyond her years she sees her mother sleepwalk through a year after Devin’s father dies and now that her mom is awake again she just wants things to work out and they aren’t going to work out moving in with her grandmother Cricket. Devin’s journey is so magical and wonderful. I just love her I can’t help it. Lisette is such an interesting character and I truly fell in love with her quiet wisdom too. I enjoyed every scene she was in. There is a slew of interesting characters besides the ones I have already mentioned, there is Selma and her charms, and Bulahdeen is hilariously over the top. These two ladies have been coming to Lost Lake for years and cracked me up most of the time, I loved that the author gave us a good background on these characters and not just here they are.
As with other Addison books there is some big time magical realism going on here in more ways than one which made this one unique, there are a few different magical realism stories here and they are so different yet the way they fit into this story is so well done that I believed it all.
All this makes this book almost impossible to put down, between the magical story and the great characters this is a must read especially if you are a southern fiction fan or a fan of magical realism.
Sarah Addison Allen did not disappoint in this long awaited book and I am so glad she updated her fans on her breast cancer progress that she has had 2 clean scans.. Hoorah!
Full Disclosure I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss & the Publisher for a fair and honest review.
#86-Seven for a Secret (Timothy Wilde Mysteries #2) By, Lyndsay Faye narrated by, Steven Boyer
I sort of finished Seven for a Secret by, Lyndsay Faye narrated Steven Boyer, I say sort of because I dnf'd it with about an hour left I just didn't care to listen anymore and I am not sure if the story got boring or if the narrator sounded bored so I was too. I wanted to like this book so much, since I loved Faye's Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson but it just didn't do it for me.
This book reminded me of the TV show Copper which I love but this story got a bit long winded for me and by the end I just wanted it over. The middle of the story was interesting and she does give a great feel of New York in this time period, but I just wanted her to get on with the story and have it come to a conclusion. The copper star in this book Tim Wilde at times doesn’t seem too bright, and I felt that even for an abolitionist he seemed pretty forward thinking, again in that way it reminded me of the show Copper, and possibly that is why I didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought I would because of the comparisons.
Steven Boyer’s narration was really good at times, let me clarify the main character had this kind of boring one note dialect he sounded bored or depressed but his other characters and accents were very well done including a southern woman that I thought was very good, I think that may be why the main characters voice was so strikingly boring compared to all the other great voices he did.
I will read more Lyndsay Faye books as I said I absolutely loved Dust & Shadow and if she writes more Holmes books I will be thrilled, however I probably won’t read anymore in this series or if I do I will read them in paperform.
I received the paperbook from Librarything Early Reviewers but got behind and bought it on audio.
#87-The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion: A Novel by Fannie Flagg, read by the author
This is my new favorite Fannie Flagg book! This had just the right amount of humor, emotion, and family drama to make it a perfect mix and a great story.
Mrs. Sookie Poole has accidently found out some life altering information, that changes how she sees herself and who she thinks she is, which honestly she was already struggling with before any of this happened, since she just married off her last daughter. She has an overbearing mother who she thinks is never happy with anything Sookie does. She is lucky that she has a wonderful, understanding husband and great kids that help her through this difficult time.
We also meet Fritzi in the 1940’s, her family runs a gas station but when her father takes sick and her brother is sent off to war the girls of the family take over the station and make it a big hit with an all-girl staff. This works for a while but what Fritzi really loves to do is fly, and here is where we learn some great history of the WAF’s and how these sister’s became an integral part of that, it was a great history lesson of a little known part of the stateside war effort.
This was somewhat of a coming of age book for Sookie, she became something so much more than she ever thought she could be by the end but what I loved is that her kids and husband knew how great she was all along but she couldn’t see it. There is some great laugh out loud moments, and the relationship between Sookie and her mother Lenore is interesting and makes you realize sometimes people don’t see you the way you think they do.(and vice versa)
I loved this book and when I finished it I thought about starting over from the beginning again.
As always Fannie Flagg is one of those rare breed of authors that excels at reading their own work, try the audio you won’t be disappointed!
I actually won an Early Review copy of this book from Librarything but I didn’t get my copy yet and I’ve been waiting for this far too long to wait any longer than I had to, so I bought the audiobook.
#88-Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth narrated by, Emma Galvin & Aaron Stanford
I am happy with the way this ended it was far from predictable and more realistic given the context of the book, yes I am sad too don't get me wrong but I'm ok with that.
I enjoyed this book I thought it was a great ending to this series, I also love that the author had the guts to do what she did, Bravo! Because in reality not everyone gets a HEA!
If you loved the first 2 books this one may be hard on you, yes, have tissues ready but I say read this and look honestly at the world they live in and what they’ve been through and realize that this is the most realistic ending to any of the dystopian books I’ve read!
#89-The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka narrated by, Samantha Quan & Carrington MacDuffie
This was a fascinating little book, a quick read that really packs a punch. I read this for bookclub and one of the things that struck us was the collective “we” of this book, the fact that it wasn’t about one person making this journey to a new country it was about a whole generation. How some were happy with their new husband some weren’t, some were treated badly some not. It was just a very fascinating look at a whole generation of women.
The narration by, Samantha Quan & Carrington MacDuffie was very well done.
This is a quick yet powerful read that I highly recommend for bookclubs.
REF: The Inspector Gamache series
But you know that the author is so in love with Ralph's narration that he *does* have a role in the upcoming film? :-)
Yes, I had heard that but will be weird to hear that voice and it not being Gamache. Looking forward to the show, sounds like the author is pretty involved in the show and that's usually a good sign.
I have about 6 books I have finished and still need to write reviews for.
I am doing the Christmas Show at our local Theater it is called Christmas on Broadway so my brain has been very full of music, lines and choreography ( which luckily for me the director quickly figured out that I can't dance and sing at the same time, so a little less dancing now than in the beginning), hopefully once the show gets going (we open Friday), it will bring my stress levels down enough to write a coherent thought about the books I've read!
Thanks, Judy! We opened last night and it went better than any of us expected!
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