Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blunder Woman written and narrated by, Tanya Eby

Blunder Woman  written and narrated by, Tanya Eby

This book is not my usual fare; however I truly enjoyed this hilarious story starring the dysfunctional Chloe AKA Blunder Woman. This book is humorous first then a bit of romantic comedy, Chloe has fallen head over heels for MMM-Matt , as she calls him, but she is getting very mixed signals from him but some of those signals give her hope that he feels the same way. However as the reader of the book you know she is barking up the wrong tree and there will be times you just want to shake her and say he’s just not into you, wake up! When Chloe finds out Matt is engaged to the gorgeous Amber,  she follows them to Mackinaw Island with her best friend and mother in tow to show Matt that it is really her he loves. This is when true hilarity ensues!

The other characters in the book include Chloe’s best friend Megan and Chloe’s mother who is a great character all on her own, from her Reiki to tarot readings she is hippy dippy and hilarious. There is a whole cast of interesting fully fleshed out characters each one with their own quirks and personalities.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Tanya Eby on my blog but had never had the pleasure of hearing her narrations so I decided to do one better and listen to a book she wrote and narrated, I was not disappointed the story is great and the narration was fabulous you always knew exactly who was talking and everyone had their own voice. I look forward to listening to more by Tanya.

I didn’t realize this book was set in Michigan when I chose it for one of my vacation listens and I was vacationing in Michigan, so it was fun knowing all the places they went.

If you are looking for a light listen/read that will make you giggle, snort and guffaw this is the book for you! Be warned listening to this book in public will get you funny looks because you can’t help but laugh out loud at some of the great lines and situations. I would definitely read another book by Tanya and would read another book with this cast of characters (hint, hint).

4 Stars

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Sudden Light by, Garth Stein

A Sudden Light by, Garth Stein

Pub Date: Sep 30 2014

My review:

Those who follow my reviews know I am a sucker for a good family secrets novel and this one had it all…secrets, spirits/ghosts, lies, deception and a great generational story. I enjoyed Stein’s book The Art of Racing in the Rain and when I saw he had a new book coming out I requested this one on Netgalley and once I started I could not put it down.

I really enjoyed this story I liked the flow of it and the writing, I felt like Trevor was telling me his story and I was completely enthralled.

My favorite character in this book was Grandpa Samuel even though he wasn’t the best father or husband or grandfather it was the little snippets he would come up with that would make me laugh or wince but truth coming from a “demented” person sometimes takes a humorous tone.

I wasn’t fond of Serena at all and she creeped me out long before anyone in the book seemed to realize how creepy she was. But I won’t say anymore because *No Spoilers*

Trevor is a 14 year old kid who just wants his parents to get back together and be happy again. When his parents separate his mother goes to England and Trevor accompanies his father, Jones, to his ancestral home North Estate a home made completely out of huge logs and a place his father hasn’t been since he was banished from the home at 16 after his mother died. Trevor is more than happy to accompany his father because he makes it his mission to fix his dad and make everything ok between his parents. But as he soon discovers there is more going on at North estate than meets the eye and it may take a lot more than he was bargaining for to help his dad. I enjoyed Trevor’s intellect and his ability to believe in things even when everyone is telling him not to.

Trevor’s dad Jones is a messed up man, something happened in this house years ago that he won’t talk about and it has affected and is still affecting his entire life but can he step up and become the father his never was?

Then there is the history of the house generations back a promise was made to a dead man that one day North Estate would be allowed to go back to the forest but the people living there today want to be rid of it and want to make boat loads of money in the process, so do you keep a promise to a dead man? Or do you do whatever you want and have the life your forefathers had before other generations squandered the fortune?

These people and stories come together in a great book that I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys a multi-generational family secrets story.

4 ½ Stars

Full-Disclosure: I received this book from Netgalley and the publisher for a fair and honest review.

Saturday, June 28, 2014



I am so happy to be participating in Going Public’s Summer Shorts ’14 , promoted by Spoken Freely, a group of more than 40 professional narrators. They have teamed with Going Public, and Tantor Media to offer Summer Shorts ’14, an audio collection of poetry, short stories and essays. All proceeds from sales of the collection will go to ProLiteracy, a national literacy outreach and advocacy organization. (See the end of this post for more information on this program)

This year I had the pleasure of getting to know a new to me narrator Tanya Eby who was nice enough to answer all my questions and offer a giveaway to any book she has narrated (details at the end of the post).

Tanya Eby is an Audie-nominated narrator. AudioFile Magazine said "Listening to Tanya Eby is like listening to a full-cast recording". She has a BA in English language and literature and an MFA in creative writing. Besides narrating, Tanya blogs, and works on her own novels. She has published four novels and is at work on her fifth.

Free Listen: The Girl at the Gate, by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Bonus Track: The Perfect Neighbor, by Tanya Eby

Story Summary:

This is a fun little story about a man on his deathbed, young love, and a ghostly encounter.

Let’s get to know Tanya:

Did you get to pick your short story or did Xe assign them? If yes, What made you choose this story?
Xe gave us total freedom in choosing a piece we wanted to read. I decided right away that I wanted to read an L.M. Montgomery short story. She wrote the Anne of Green Gables series, which was a huge influence on me growing up. Also, I’ve narrated a lot of steamy romances and mysteries, and I wanted to do something that my kids could listen to (if they ever wanted to). It’s a bonus that it’s a little ghost story.

Let’s get the routine questions out of the way first…
How did you get started in audiobooks?
I was a Theater and English major in college. When I was having trouble figuring out a text, I’d read it out loud and suddenly the characters would come to life for me. I got into doing radio commercials for extra cash while finishing up school and trying to figure out what to do with my life. Eventually, I heard that some actor friends were narrating. I recorded a demo, sent it to companies, made wishes to the fairies, and was miraculously cast.

What was your first book?
Oh my gosh! Can you believe I don’t remember? I think it was a Debbie Macomber book. All I remember was that the first time I narrated a full book, I was completely exhausted after the first day. My voice was hoarse and my dinner was a big bowl of soup followed by an even bigger bowl of ice cream. When I finished the book after three days of non-stop talking, I cried with relief. Then I asked when I could do it again.

I see you are also an Author, which do you prefer writing or narrating?

I love storytelling in general. In writing, I get to build a different world and kind of shape things as I go. In narrating, I slip inside a world that’s already created and explore characters. They’re both really satisfying. My own work doesn’t sell as much as I’d like, but ah well. I keep trying. It will be great if I can keep doing both. 

Can you give us a scoop on any upcoming books you are especially excited about? Can be a book you are writing or one you are narrating or both.
There’s a book coming out in July called “Expecting” by Ann Lewis Hamilton. It’s funny, heartwarming, bittersweet, and has fantastic characters.
My book “Tunnel Vision &Other Stories From The Edge” was just released. It’s a novella narrated by Mikeal Narramore and then it also has two short stories I narrated. They’re dark stories. I guess I was exploring my dramatic side. My other work is comedic.

I enjoyed listening to your narrations on your website and your blog is a hoot I highly recommend everyone checking it out. I see you also have a food blog how did that come about?
Oh, thanks! I do a bunch of weird little stuff. I’m a foodie and I like to think I’m funny. When I’m not working on book stuff, I’m in the kitchen. My newest food blog is “Dips, Balls and Logs Blog” mostly because I laugh every time I say the title. It’s food for quirky people. You know, my soul mates. 

Thank-you so much for joining me and thanks to Xe Sands for asking me to join in the fun!
And thanks for the great questions!

I’d like to offer a giveaway. The winner can choose whichever book I’ve narrated on Audible for an instant download. There are all sorts of genres to choose from. Or they could choose a book narrated by my saucy doppelgänger “Tatiana Sokolov”.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The entire collection Summer Shorts ’14 is available at Tantor Media.

Past post:
6/27  A Discussion with Author Jane Cawthorne and Narrator Dawn Harvey @ My Books, My Life

6/28   Tish Hicks, How They Broke Away to Go to the Rootabaga Country, by Carl Sandburg @ Going Public
6/29   Karen White, Sharks and Seals, by Susanna Daniel @ Every Day I Write the Book
6/30    Xe Sands, Virtue of the Month, by Kathleen Founds @ The Oddiophile

About the Program
The audiobook community is giving back! Spoken Freely, a group of more than 40 professional narrators, has teamed with Going Public andTantor Media to celebrate June is Audiobook Month (JIAM) by offering Summer Shorts ’14, an audio collection of poetry, short stories and essays. All proceeds from sales of the collection will go to ProLiteracy, a national literacy outreach and advocacy organization.

Throughout June 2014, 1-2 stories, poems and essays will be released online each day via Going Public, as well as on various author and book blogs. As a “Thank you!” to listeners, pieces will be available for free online listening on their day of release. As a bonus for those who purchase the full collection from Tantor Media in support of ProLiteracy, there are over 20 additional tracks only available via the compilation download. Full release schedule on the Speak Freely page.

ProLiteracy, the largest adult literacy and basic education membership organization in the nation, advocates on behalf of adult learners and the programs that serve them, provides training and professional development, and publishes materials used in adult literacy and basic education instruction. ProLiteracy has 1,000 member programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and works with 52 nongovernmental organizations in 34 developing countries. Its publishing division, New Readers Press (NRP), has for more than 40 years provided educators with the instructional tools they need to teach adult students and older teens literacy skills for functioning in the world today. Materials are available in a variety of media, including the flagship publication, the weekly news source News for You, which delivers articles online with audio. Proceeds from sales of NRP materials support literacy programs in the U.S. and worldwide.

Summer Shorts ’14 is made possible by the efforts of the Spoken Freely narrators and many others who donated their time and energy to bring it to fruition. Post-production, marketing support and publication provided by Tantor Media. Graphic design provided by f power design. Project coordination and executive production provided by Xe Sands. Nonprofit partnership coordination provided by Karen White.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Audiobook Month Audie 2014 Thriller/Suspense Winner Giveaway

Audiobook Month Audie 2014 Thriller/Suspense Winner Giveaway

#audiomonth #Audies2014

As you may have heard June is Audiobook Month, I am honored to participate in the APA’s @Audiobook Community #audiomonth campaign.

 Thanks to the Audiobook Community and Hachette Audio, I am giving away one copy of the 2014 Audie Thriller/Suspense winner:

 The Hit By David Baldacci Read by Ron McLarty and Orlagh Cassidy

 Publisher: Hachette Audio

Length: 11 hrs and 46 mins

From David Baldacci--#1 bestselling author and one of the world's most popular, widely read storytellers--comes the most thrilling novel of the year.
The Hit Will Robie is a master of killing. A highly-skilled assassin, Robie is the man the U.S. government calls on to eliminate the worst of the worst--enemies of the state, monsters committed to harming untold numbers of innocent victims.
No one else can match Robie's talents as a hitman; no one, except Jessica Reel. A fellow assassin, equally professional and dangerous, Reel is every bit as lethal as Robie. And now, she's gone rogue, turning her gun sights on other members of their agency. To stop one of their own, the government looks again to Will Robie. His mission: bring in Reel, dead or alive. Only a killer can catch another killer, they tell him.
But as Robie pursues Reel, he quickly finds that there is more to her betrayal than meets the eye. Her attacks on the agency conceal a larger threat, a threat that could send shockwaves through the U.S. government and around the world.

One winner receives The Hit By David Baldacci Read by Ron McLarty and Orlagh Cassidy
Prizing courtesy of the APA
Giveaway open to US addresses only
Giveaway open to entrants age 13 and up.

Winner will be chosen via random drawing on July 4 and notified via email. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Upcoming giveaways
28-Jun Classics Cubicle Blindness
29-Jun Short Stories/Collections Literate Houswife
30-Jun Business/Educational Audiobooker

Monday, June 2, 2014

Evergreen by, Rebecca Rasmussen

Evergreen by Rebecca Rasmussen

Expected publication: July 8th 2014 by Knopf

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!

5 Stars

Friday, May 30, 2014

Dakota by Gwen Florio narrated by, Caroline Shaffer

Dakota by Gwen Florio narrated by, Caroline Shaffer

I should start off by saying that I am a North Dakotan, I live here,  my family lives here, my parents were raised here, so my perspective on this may be different than others.

This was a good mystery and it kept me guessing right up to the reveal. Lola is a reporter who decided to go after a story even though her Montana newspaper and Sheriff boyfriend Charlie tell her not to. She finds herself in the North Dakota Oil patch where the men outnumber the women by a huge percentage and finds herself hip deep in all sorts of trouble. She’s on the hunt for a killer of a young girl and maybe even more girls,  when she puts it together that many women from the Blackfoot Reservation in Magpie, Montana are going to the patch to work and that work ends up being  dancing or prostitution but they are ending up dead, not rich like they were hoping. She takes it upon herself to find the answers and it puts her in danger.

I liked the character of Lola she’s scrappy and fearless, of course that fearlessness gets her in trouble as she dives feet first into a story that is much bigger than she ever expected. I liked this book well enough that I plan to read Florio’s first book Montana and I look forward to reading  more of Lola’s adventure’s especially after the ending of this one I am curious how she will deal with that going forward.

The author also does a good job of respecting the Native Americans while honoring their culture. Also the descriptions of the man camps and the bars near them were pretty spot on.

I wish the narrator, Caroline Shaffer, hadn’t used the movie Fargo to learn a North Dakota accent. The character of Charlotte sounds just like the lady cop on the movie/tv show Fargo, and that annoyed me to no end. Her Native American accents were a little better and the main character was good because she wasn’t from North Dakota. Also The Bakken is pronounced Bahkken (like Bah humbug). It wasn’t that the narrator was bad I liked her narration except when she was doing her Fargo impressions. So I would listen to this new to me narrator again as long as the book wasn’t set in my home state!

This story looks at the gritty underbelly of the Bakken Oil Patch in North Dakota it involves prostitution and human trafficking and it may seem like fiction but unfortunately it is a true consequence of the major influx of people coming to ND to work, the crime rate in ND has gone up considerably and there are a lot of murders and crime on the west end of our state.

One thing that bothered me was, Thor saying this is Dakota, I have never heard anyone from North Dakota call it just Dakota because we need to make the distinction that we are North Dakota Not South Dakota.

3 ½ Stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher & Librarything however I did end up checking out the audiobook from my library.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Armchair Audies Thriller Category Wrap up~~ And The Winner is…

Armchair Audies Thriller Category Wrap up
This was a tough category because I decided to get through the new to me author & narrator first, I had never read anything by Sandra Carrington-Smith nor had I ever heard of Dave Fennoy, it didn’t really sound like a book I’d pick for myself so I was just going to get it out of the way and do you know what happened?? I was completely blown away not only by the narration but the story too. Fennoy’s narration was so great that I knew within a few minutes of listening to the other books in this category that they wouldn’t beat out Fennoy’s narration. I did listen to all the books a couple I didn’t finish completely but I did listen to at least half of the book just to make sure I got in on any accents the narrators were doing.

                               And the Winner is….

#1-The Book of Obeah (Crossroads #1) by Sandra Carrington-Smith Narrated by, Dave Fennoy
Even though our heroine is female it didn’t bother me at all that this one was narrated by a man because he was amazing and added to the spookiness of this book. Dave Fennoy has this voice it’s the voice of every scary Voodoo witch doctor that’s ever been heard or read he was perfect for this book. His voice is a cross between Barry White & Dion Graham and I really liked it and was very surprised to find out this was his only audiobook on audible so did some digging and found out he is a voice over actor and has some impressive credits to his name in commercials, animations, games and documentaries. I for one hope he narrates the second book in this series because it won’t be the same without him! I also hope he will narrate more books because I could listen to him all day! There were times the music between chapters was annoying and times it felt like it fit in so just a warning to those of you who don’t like music in your audiobooks.

#2-Sycamore Row (Jake Brigance #2) by John Grisham narrated by, Michael Beck
Michael Becks narration was really good, I thought his southern accents weren’t overdone and I found it interesting that he has different accents for different parts of the south. I think most people would have done one stock voice for all southerners but a Mississippi accent and a North Carolina accent are very different and he conveyed that well.

#3-The Fifth Assassin (Beecher White #2) by Brad Meltzer narrated by, Scott Brick
 This story grabbed me right away and as always Scott Brick’s narration was so well done he always makes me want to continue on even when I got a bit confused, this is one I think I should have read the first book first. Brick does give us many distinct characters and you always know who is talking.

#4-The Hit by David Baldacci narrated by, Ron McLarty & Orlagh Cassidy
I love Ron McLarty’s voice he reminds me of Len Cariou which is a compliment! I'm not sure about the reasoning behind adding Orlagh to the mix it's just odd, it did grow on me a little though. Plus there are sound effects gunshots, explosions, horns honking and tires squealing this is not a radio show or a full cast production, so, please just tell there were gunshots and explosions I don't need to hear them. I Hated the sound effects they drove me crazy and pulled me out the story every time.  I don’t like books where all the women’s parts are done by one female and all the male done by the male, if you are going to have a male and female narrator in this book then the character of Jessica should have been the female when it was from her point of view and when it was Robie’s point of view should have been the male, some of the conversations felt like they were reading a script it was very stilted and stiff. Just to clarify this has nothing to do with Orlagh Cassidy’s voice I am a fan, it was the way the whole book was edited together that I didn’t like.

#5-Suspect by Robert Crais narrated by, MacLeod Andrews

Macleod Andrews narration was well done but nothing extraordinary, and when he talked to the dog in his high pitched voice it got really annoying. Honestly there is nothing memorable about this book, not the narration or the story.