Thursday, November 6, 2014

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng narrated by, Cassandra Campbell

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng narrated by, Cassandra Campbell

Below you will find my random/rambling thoughts as I listened to this book. I liked and disliked this book or should I say I liked the book and completely disliked the characters. The parents in this book are unemotional distance people who should never have had children, they are not abusive in the broad sense of the word but they have no idea who their children are and have no idea how to show that they love them let alone care about them. See my final thoughts at the end.

Everyone grieves differently and it is sad that they are all grieving separately instead of as a family, to be there for each other but I don't think they were there for each other before Lydia's death so I feel like her death multiplied this separateness tenfold.
It just seems like Marilyn could have enrolled in a school right from home instead of sneaking out signing up for classes and getting an apartment. I guess I just don't understand this woman at all.

Do these two people (James & Marilyn) even know each other at all it feels like their whole relationship is superficial it doesn't go deep enough to tell each other what they want from life, what their lives are really like or anything about their true selves and they passed this on to their children so they are just as closed off as the parents are.

James & Marilyn started out fighting the stereotypes then ended up being the stereotypes I am hoping this family becomes something amazing and breaks out of those roles but I am scared this is going to be a depressing book all the way through.

Poor Nath and Hannah to be that ignored by your parents must be heartbreaking.
How could you forget your own child so much that you forget to set a place for them at the table?? Really??
It didn’t seem like James even cared that Nath got into Harvard. Then when Lydia ruined his moment it made me very mad.
The way this family relates to each other is so heartbreaking they are so separate in so many ways.
And even Lydia making up friends pretending to be on the phone talking, all 3 of these children are so lonely and starved for love it’s so sad.
Wow the way James treats Nath is horrible I understand he is grieving but wow.
 For this family to get certain news from the authorities is going to tear them apart even further.
But James is so not handling this at all but I also get the feeling that James would have cheated and said the things to his mistress even if Lydia hadn’t died.
I think it was awful that Nath had to be the one to tell Marilyn where James was especially after what James had said to Marilyn.  I don’t think she knew, I honestly don’t think she could comprehend him having a mistress when he didn’t have any friends.
I find it a bit I don’t know disconcerting that there is only one other oriental in the whole town and she is who James is having an affair with I don’t know it’s a little too unbelievable. Someone had mentioned to me that I need to remember what year this is but this is the late 70’s and things had changed a lot in the last 18 or so years since they have been together. And that James didn’t have the balls to come out of the bedroom what a louse!

That Hannah and Nath were right there watching as her parents fight over the affair was tough; it just goes to show how little these parents thought about their children. And that James said if we had never met and she had never been born I wanted to yell Hey jackass you have 2 other children too!

She left first, come on James, that was a long time ago. Oh these two are so screwed up! But it goes to show that they never communicated when Marilyn came back they never talked about it and so all these years James is still hurt by Marilyn leaving. They never discussed why she left, maybe if they had a conversation about the reasons Marilyn left all those years ago maybe everything would be different just maybe James would have supported her decision I don’t know maybe not but maybe…

I think that Nath leaving for college was so hard for Lydia because she felt he was the only one she had, but poor Hannah always gets lost in the shuffle. Then when Hannah tries to bond with Lydia it all goes wrong, oh this family makes me so very sad. I feel so bad for Hannah she just wants some love and affection and every time she tries she gets slapped down figuratively and literally.

Oh my gosh when Jack comes clean to Lydia, if anyone can understand feeling like an outsider it’s him she should have stayed his friend they could have been true friends. I think if Lydia would have had it in her to understand Jack things would have been different.

How sad just when Lydia was finally thinking on her own without the grudges and hatred. But was it an accident? She stepped out of the boat into the water it sounds like she meant to do it to me.

I hope this means Hannah will finally get some love and not just be a cardboard cutout of Lydia in her parents eyes.
There is this little bit of a coming together but I don’t think this family ever learned to communicate with each other, too many years have passed and these behaviors are ingrained now. I wonder how Nath & Hannah were with their families in the future.

Ooof this book is like a gut punch but so beautifully written that you need to continue on. I honestly am not sure how to rate this book because there was no redemption, one can only hope that this family got better that they cherished the children they had left and started communicating with each other but I’m afraid I this did not happen.

Cassandra Campbell’s narration is very well done as always.

4 Stars

Thanks you to the FordAudiobookClub for the opportunity to listen to this book.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Legendary Adventures of the Pirate Queens by James Grant Goldin narrated by, Shiromi Arserio

The Legendary Adventures of the Pirate Queens by James Grant Goldin narrated by, Shiromi Arserio

What a fun book I didn’t want to stop listening, it was rip-roaring fun on the high seas! These two ladies are so different Martin/Mary dresses like a man and fights in a war and goes to sea and ends up on a Pirate ship. Anne Bonny on the other hand is all woman all the time, she ran away from her husband and became mistress to a pirate though in all honesty I think Anne ran the ship and just let Captain Calico Jack think he did.

When Anne can’t seem to get Martin to pay attention to her and then Calico makes the comment that Martin is in love with her Anne sets out to find out the truth, these scenes are hilarious because as readers we know Martin is really Mary however Anne Bonny is not used to a man who wants nothing to do with her. I loved how she couldn’t comprehend a man not falling for her feminine wiles, and poor Mary trying her best not to cross Anne because she is a pirate after all and has the temper to go with it. And Mary as Martin is a gentleman she is tough as nails and can fight and shoot and do the jobs on the ship but she always tries to be a gentleman.

However our dear Martin/Mary is in love another seaman Peter who has no idea that she is a he,  this complicates their relationship, so she moons over him from afar and tries her best to keep him alive because he is not much of a seaman and not a fighter at all, he came to sea because he is the 2nd born or the spare as they were known in the day, wanting to learn about longitude and clocks because at this time in history it was sailing by the stars and I believe people went of course a lot.

All the characters in this book were very interesting, and it made me want to know even more about these ladies and as I always say a sign of a good historical fiction book is that it makes me want to research more and this one definitely did that.

New to me narrator Shiromi Arserio was very good she had many different accents and I liked how she had 2 different voices for Martin and Mary even though they were the same person. Very well done and I will be on the lookout for anything else she has narrated.

This was a new author and narrator for me and I truly enjoyed them both and if the author writes any other historical fiction books I will be reading them for sure.

If you enjoy the Jackie Faber/Bloody Jack books give this one a try I think you will enjoy it.
4 ½ Stars

I received this from the author for a fair and honest review, and I am so glad I said yes!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

You're Next by, Gregg Hurwitz narrated by, Scott Brick

You're Next by Gregg Hurwitz narrated by, Scott Brick

This was a great edge of your seat thriller! It was just what I needed to get me out of my reading slump; it was very hard to stop listening!

When Mike was 4 years old his father dropped him off at a school playground and told him he’d be back but he never returned and Mike spent his whole life wondering why? And what happened to his mother? Now a grown man with a child of his own strange things are starting to happen to him and his family, Mike thinks he is being followed and from there things go from bad to worse as history repeats itself in an awful way.

This book kept me guessing all the way to the reveal; because Mike was so young when he was abandoned he has no clue about his parents so he decides to hire a private detective to help him find out who they were and what happened to them but this one decision changes his entire life.

After things get really bad Mike reaches out to his foster brother Shep, (I loved Shep!) who is always there for Mike no matter what, I don’t think Mike would have made it through without him and I loved his last line in the book! Shep is a great character because we see in flashbacks what it was like for him in foster care and how he and Mike bonded and became true brothers but Shep is also a criminal and he and Mike had a bit of a falling out but he was right there the minute Mike called him and that just endeared him to me even more.

I don’t want to spoil this book for anyone so I don’t want to give too many details away but if you are looking for a great thriller look no further than this book. This was my first book by Hurwitz but it definitely won’t be my last!

Scott Brick’s narration was as always amazing and he really brought the pain, worry and anxiety in the characters voices to life beautifully. I love Brick’s voice for mystery/thrillers he always gives a great performance.

4 ½ Stars

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Cast-Off Coven by, Juliet Blackwell narrated by, Xe Sands

A Cast-Off Coven  by, Juliet Blackwell narrated by, Xe Sands

This was another good addition to this series.  The San Francisco School of Fine Arts has had some paranormal activity going on so Lily agrees to help in return for some vintage clothes. But there is more in this closet of clothes than she bargained for. Plus she stumbles across a dead body and everyone thinks “the ghost” killed the man but Lily senses something different something demonic and everyone at the school seems to be on edge and aggravated at each other. At one time the school was a convent and Lily starts to wonder just what these nuns were up to.

Lily does go to Aiden for help however I felt his help is a little lacking and she also meets Sailor, who is more help, and Lily seems to be attracting men like crazy, first we have Max but I agree with Aiden she will be in a  Darrin & Samantha relationship with him trying to squelch her magic. Then Luke, I liked Luke myself, until it got weird. But I know most people prefer Sailor. Max did grow on me more by the end of the book.

This one kept me on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who killed the big cheese, a ghost, a demon, or just a human? But the things that happen in this school would have freaked me out; the white light and wind would have freaked me out more than the voices.

As always I love Oscar he is my favorite character. I also want a store like Lily’s in my town! I liked how her relationship with Inspector Romero evolved in this one and I see them working together much more in future books.

This one is narrated by Xe Sands, who as always does a great job I just love her voice and she seemed to come more into her own as Lily in this book compared to the first she was a bit more forceful and sure, I liked that!

The ending really made me look forward to more of this series! If you enjoy cozy mysteries with a supernatural tilt give this series a try!

3 ½ Stars

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi narrated by Gin Hammond

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi narrated by Gin Hammond

This was a fascinating and heartbreaking book. This book has a dual storyline set in Afghanistan, first we have Rahima in 2007 whose family only had girls so she is dressed as a boy in a custom called bacha posh, she is able to go to school, play soccer and work. Our second story is of her Great Great Grandmother Shakiba in 1901? She is disfigured from an accident when she was a child and whose father dies and her Grandmother can’t stand the sight of her. So she is given to another family as a servant but they believe she is a curse on them and when Shakiba sneaks away to try to claim her father’s land the family decides to get rid of her (after beating her of course) they give her to the King to work as a guard in the harem. All the guards are women dressed as men so there would be no temptation in the harem.

Both stories are a fascinating look into the lives of women in Afghanistan even though the stories are years and generations apart it is heartbreaking how women were treated. The way Shakiba is treated by her own family and then the people who take her in is harrowing and heartbreaking. And Rahima would have loved to have stayed being a boy but someone very powerful has seen through her disguise and when her opium addicted father complains about all his daughters to this man, he decides to take one of his daughters for his wife and he chooses Rahima who is only 13 at the time, she has 2 older sisters and tradition demands they be married first so he has cousins to marry them too and Rahima’s father is paid in cash and opium. Rahima is a very strong willed woman I think from her years as a boy I liked her very much and worried about her when she spoke up. You will have to read the book to see how their stories play out!

I loved the narration however there were times I wish there had been two, for the times I missed it say who was talking. But Gin Hammond was fabulous all her accents and voices were great I would definitely look for other books narrated by her.

I truly enjoyed this book it is a powerful story that I highly recommend and if you are a fan of Khaled Hosseini, I would highly recommend you read this book.

4 Stars

I received a copy of this from the Audiobookjukebox and the Publisher for a fair and honest review.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Stay Where You Are And Then Leave , by John Boyne narrated by, Euan Morton

StayWhere You Are And Then Leave , by John Boyne narrated by, Euan Morton

This is such a powerful story, set in WWI before we had a name for PTSD or Shell Shock this book takes you to a hospital with one doctor who is trying to get people to realize this is an actual condition not men just being cowardly. But how we get to that hospital is a heartbreaking yet uplifting story told through the eyes of 9 year old Alfie who is in search of his father Georgie.

Alfie is a precocious 9 year old who misses his father it has been 4 years since he went off to war and Alfie’s mother won’t let him see the letters he is writing but Alfie finds a way but notices there hasn’t been a letter in a long time, his mother tells him his dad is on a secret mission but Alfie is not sure he believes that. Alfie has been helping out by shining shoes at Kings Cross Station ( unbeknownst to his mother) and one day a man drops some papers and as Alfie helps him pick them up he sees his dads name and the name of a hospital so he sets off to find his dad.

This story is at times heartbreaking, uplifting and powerful, seeing it through Alfie’s eyes really brings home the separation of war, the not knowing if your parent is alive or well  and how the parent left behind wants to protect their child from knowing the gory details of war but that leaves Alfie to think his father is dead. When Alfie does find his father it will break your heart and Alfie’s innocence in thinking if he just comes home he will be okay leads to circumstances that make Alfie have to confront just what shell shock is and how the war affected his father.

Euan Morton narrates this book with skill, his narration of Alfie is spot on and you feel every emotion he feels. Every character has a voice and the parts with the banging how Morton brings Georgie’s emotion to the forefront are amazing. Highly recommend this on audio!

The author does a great job at making you feel everything Alfie feels the fear, the trepidation, the confusion all written so beautifully.

4 ½ Stars

I received this book from netgally but ended up listening to the audio version and am so glad I did!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges by Jen Mann

People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges by Jen Mann

This book cracked me up and after reading a few serious books in a row it was just what I needed, I laughed out loud many, many times while reading this book and saw people and situations that I recognized as my own. And how could you pass up this title!

One of the chapters that cracked me up was ‘Just some of the reasons the neighbors always hate us’  this one made me laugh because at my house we are a bit anti-social and seem to have major differences politically plus have a hard time not commenting on things like “You paid thirteen grand for a dog to have surgery?” this chapter hit close to home!

As a mother and grandmother I also have to wonder about these theme birthday parties and spending hundreds of dollars to throw your kid a party, whatever happened to birthday parties at home with a cake and pin the tail on the donkey now it can’t be at home and it has to have a theme why?? When did this start?? This chapter hit home too.

Oh who the hell am I kidding this book is full of snarky goodness and sounded like all the things I say inside my head but don’t always have the courage to say out loud!

If you are a fan of Laurie Notaro and/or Celia Rivenbark then this is a must read!

4 Stars

I received this book from Netgalley and the publisher for a fair and honest review.