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.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Euphoria by Lily King narrated by, Simon Vance & Xe Sands


Euphoria by Lily King narrated by, Simon Vance & Xe Sands

I know that Margaret Mead inspired this story but I still wanted Nell to be a real person that I could research and learn even more about. This was a fascinating book made all the better by the fabulous narration of Xe Sands & Simon Vance.

This book kept me completely enthralled from beginning to end, not only from the descriptions of the tribes, their customs, taboos and superstitions but from the relationships between the three main characters. Also this book is so well written that it was easy to picture the village and tribes people. If you search Margaret Mead New Guinea in Images you’ll see some pictures that could easily be the three main characters ,also see narrator Xe Sands Pintrest Page below for some other pictures she used for inspiration.

I really enjoyed the characters of Nell & Bankson and even though Fen is not a very likeable chap he is an interesting character he is so jealous of Nell’s success and her relationship with not only Bankson but with the tribe themselves, Nell has a rapport with the tribe that Fen can only dream of which he kind of does he imagines a relationship that really isn’t there. He hides things from Nell to make himself look better and is a very insecure man. Where Bankson sees Nell in all her glory and is impressed and awed by her ability to get the tribes people to talk to her about things no one else seems to be able to get at. He learns from her and respects her and I think that is the key in their friendship.

 Obviously the narration of this book was superb Xe Sands as Nell was fabulous and all her different accents from American, to British to Australian were all spot on and when she voiced Bankson I felt like she did a good job of channeling Simon Vance!  Simon Vance as always does a great job and did well even when speaking as Nell and I thought he also did a great job channeling Xe; also both narrations of Fen and his Australian accent sounded the same so you knew that it was him. I thought this was a fantastic collaboration and hope to have more books with these two working together!

If you can’t already tell I loved this book, it is different book and hard to categorize, but I found it fascinating and even went back and re-listened to the last hour because I wasn’t ready for it to be over. I have never read anything by Lily King before but I will be remedying that as I loved the way the writing in this books flowed and how she kept me so interested from page one to the end.

5 stars


Full Disclosure I received this book from the Audiobookjukebox and the Publisher Blackstone Audio for a fair and honest review


Narrator Xe Sands has put together a Pintrest page with some images that helped her realize more clearly the place and time.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf narrated by, Tanya Eby & Kate Rudd



Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf narrated by, Tanya Eby & Kate Rudd

This is a powerful book, and at times hard to read. This is definitely a ripped from headlines book, when the unthinkable happens to social worker Ellen, how do you get people to understand that it was an accident when the guilt of it is ripping you apart. Then we have runaway Jenny whose dad is in jail and her mother ran off with the man that beat Jenny when she was younger but luckily she is found by a kind woman who also happens to be Ellen’s mother Maudene.

Ellen has seen the most awful things in her career as a social worker but one moment of distraction changes her whole life and the life of her family and she ends up on the other side of the fence wishing with everything that she could go back and start the day over. This book shows the difference between outright abuse and neglect and accidents but sometimes social services and the media don’t see the distinction between the two. My heart broke in Ellen’s storyline when the awful thing happened my heart was racing and it was just really tough to read.

Jenny is spunky and courageous and luckily pretty street smart I liked her and was rooting for her to find a better life. Although her storyline was a bit too happily ever after and felt a little rushed I was still happy for her.

Tanya Eby’s narration as Jenny was very well done and believable but Kate Rudd’s narration was so hysterical it got really old, I can understand that in certain moments of this book the hysteria was needed but it was constant and it seemed to be all the characters are just screeching and whiny.  I do understand this was a taut emotional book but I wish Rudd had dialed back a bit.

As I said this is a powerful book, I think this would be a good book for a bookclub because I think it would bring about a great discussion. I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending I felt both stories were rushed and a bit too tied up in a bow for my taste.


3 Stars

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams narrated by, Kathleen McInerney


The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams narrated by, Kathleen McInerney

I so wanted to like this book, the description sounded like something I would really like but this one fell short for me. I won this book from librarything early reviewers but had a hard time getting into it so got the audio hoping it would be better but for over half of the book all I wanted was for it to be over.

I love dual storylines in historical fiction and that was what I was expecting but this book is Romance, lots of sex (very descriptive) and once you get through that there is a little bit of a historical fiction storyline but not enough to save this one, IMHO. Also the characters are all pretty much unlikable and the whole stupid romance in the 1964 storyline is ridicules they fell in love in 5 minutes?? Give me a break! This book may have been better served if it just told Violet’s storyline because Vivian was annoying and her whole storyline revolved around this convoluted romance with someone she met and supposedly fell in love with in an afternoon.

Violet’s storyline started out strong then dwindled into idiocy, with many unbelievable things happening and I wanted more of the actual story of how …( no spoilers) than just the whole romance crap.

And the ending was all tied up in a little bow that made me throw-up a little in mouth, it was so saccharine.

Kathleen McInerney’s narration was very well done but couldn’t save me from wanting this book to end!

I may be in the minority here, this book has gotten a lot of buzz but, don’t be fooled by the historical fiction moniker this is straight up romance and not a good one!


2 Stars (barely)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Butterfly Sister, by Amy Gail Hansen narrated by Amy Rubinate


The Butterfly Sister, by Amy Gail Hansen narrated by Amy Rubinate

This was a different story than I expected, it turned out to be a darn good thriller and Amy Rubinate's narration just made it all the better!

Ruby is a much damaged woman after a bad affair she drops out of college and moves home when one day a delivery is made to her house of a suitcase belonging to her former roommate Beth but when Ruby sets out to find Beth she instead finds out that she is missing. This mystery takes her back to the scene of her heartbreak, Tarble College, where she finds an even bigger mystery that also seems to revolve around her own heartbreak.

As I said I wasn’t expecting this book to be a thriller I was expecting a sister story, (the title is explained towards the end of the book.) But I did really enjoy this one once I got over the fact that I hadn’t read the description very well. I enjoyed the use of authors Woolf, Plath & Perkins as plot devices to tell you how some of these women felt.  The mystery of it all kept me guessing as to the cause of the disappearance and other things happening on campus and the reveal completely threw me, which is a great thing! Every time I thought I had it figured out things would swing in a different direction, which I enjoyed.

Amy Rubinate’s narration was as always impeccable her soft southern accent was perfect with just the right amount of accent as to not become overdone. All of her characters and voices were well done and I feel her narration made this book even better. If you haven’t listened to Rubinate’s narrations I highly recommend anything narrated by her.


I would recommend this thriller to anyone who likes a book that will keep you guessing.

4 Stars
5 Star narration

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