Thursday, April 17, 2014

Whimsey: A Novel by Kaye Wilkinson Barley narrated by, Susanna Burney

Whimsey: A Novel by Kaye Wilkinson Barley narrated by, Susanna Burney

I want to live in Whimsey! This book proves not only can you go home again but that you should. Emma tried to leave Whimsey in the past but when things go wrong in her life and her artistic jewelry line takes the hit , she eventually figures out she needs to find her inner magic again and with some help from her long dead aunt Elizabeth the only place that it can be found is on the island of Whimsey. I loved the scenes with Aunt Elizabeth and the crayon and the story of finding you crimson, we all need this lesson!

I also enjoyed the pixie Earlene, I loved that she made silver glitter fall off of Emma without her even realizing it. Oh who am I kidding I loved every character in this book. The whole ensemble is there for a reason each with their own set of advise to Emma and when she finally decides to listen to all the people and island are trying to tell her things get much better for. I also want to see her jewelry; I want to see these colors the colors of a sunrise on Whimsey with colors no one has a name for.

This book is right up there with Sarah Addison Allen in southern magical realism; in fact I think these two authors should get together because the big grand opening of the gallery needs a caterer and who better than the Waverly sisters!

Susanna Burney narrates this book; her narration is good my only quibble was that sometimes her voices weren’t consistent. But overall I enjoyed her narration she didn’t go full out on a southern accent so it sounded fake she just had a hint of it that made it believable, her characters were good with my one quibble being the exception.

I highly recommend this book to southern fiction lovers, especially fans of Sarah Addison Allen. This book has the same feel good aftereffect that Sarah’s books do. I was surprised to find this is Kaye’s first novel; I look forward to reading anything else she writes!

5 Stars

I received this book from the author for a fair and honest review. Thanks for the pleasure of listening to this delightful story!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Daring Ladies of Lowell: A Novel by Kate Alcott, narrated by, Cassandra Campbell

The Daring Ladies of Lowell: A Novel by Kate Alcott, narrated by, Cassandra Campbell

This was such a great book, it’s not only the story of the ladies that worked at the Lowell Mills but also a murder mystery, fabulously written by the author and fantastically narrated by Cassandra Campbell.

This was a fascinating look at the working conditions of the cotton mills of Lowell, how sick these girls got because the windows were closed and their lungs would fill up with so much cotton they would cough up balls of cotton. How awful is that? Also the machinery isn’t in the greatest condition and accidents happen more often than they should.  All of the ladies are well written and each has their own voice. Alice is the main character, but the other ladies are great too and poor Lovey, she had so much going for her but her murder and the trial that followed brought about small changes in the mill that were good for the workers, not as much change as they should have had but as one worker said it’s uphill from where we were before. Of course, the owners of the mill are pretty much bad guys not wanting to change anything that would affect their bottom line and Hiram Fisk is a huge jerk. He has two sons one that truly wants to help the ladies and one that is just pretty much a waste. (Can you guess which one is involved in the love story?) There is a chaste love story that doesn’t overwhelm the book and actually had me hoping things would work out for the two of them.

Cassandra Campbell’s narration of this one is just superb; it may be my favorite of all Cassandra’s narrations to date. Everyone had a clear voice and you always knew who was talking, her narration of Hiram was perfection!  All of her characters and accents were so perfect I absolutely loved this narration, and I have been a fan of Cassandra’s for awhile now but I think this is my favorite and I was very surprised it didn’t win an earphones award and won’t be surprised to see it as audie nominee for best female narration next year!

This book was a great story and I will read anything Kate Alcott writes I really enjoyed her book The Dressmaker too! If you like historical fictions with a good story give this one a try.

5 Stars

I found this video on Youtube about the Lowell Mill Girls posted byColleenGCasey I think the boarding house is close to what I pictured in my head!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by, Rob Thomas, Jennifer Graham, narrated by, Kristen Bell

Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line  by,  Rob Thomas, Jennifer Graham, narrated by, Kristen Bell

I feel this is a must read/listen for Veronica Mars fans. I will say if you are going to listen to the audio don’t expect professional narration but expect Veronica to tell you the story, which I for one felt was only right. I think I would have had a hard time with anyone else reading Veronica than Veronica herself. I thought she did a good job at the narration and no one else could capture her little quirks of cadence and snark that the TV Veronica did so well and it made it easier for me to see the scenes in my head. I thought she had Mac’s voice down pretty good but at times it wasn’t consistent and I wish she had done a little more with Wallace & Keith’s voices, but overall I was very happy with how this was narrated and I am glad Kristen Bell herself did the narration as I said I can’t imagine hearing anyone imitating Kristin’s take on Veronica.

This was a good story that started just weeks after the events of the Veronica Mars movie. I enjoyed the mystery and would have never guessed the outcome. Plus the added bonus of having these characters back in my life, it was funny I kept thinking where is Dick Casablancas, then tada there he was.  Also I love Keith and every scene he is in, even in the book, he brings happy goodness with him, the last few scenes had my heart racing and soaring and all I could think was I love you Keith Mars! There are a few family surprises in this one as well *No Spoilers* that will tug at your heartstrings.

I was delighted that this story was so good it’s a great mystery that had lots of twists and turns along the way and kept me guessing all the way to the end and surprised me with the outcome.

As I said this is a must read for fans of Veronica Mars if we can’t have her on our TV screen at least we have the books to get us through

***Movie Spoiler*** Please stop here if you have not watched the movie
I still have a hard time picturing Logan in the Navy and I wish there had been more than just a couple Skype conversations with him. Hopefully he will be back from sea in the next book. And yes there better be a next book.

4 ½ Stars

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Savage Girl By, Jean Zimmerman Narrated by, Edoardo Ballerini

Savage Girl By, Jean Zimmerman Narrated by, Edoardo Ballerini

This book grabbed me from the start and it did keep me guessing as to who was killing the men, however there were times the story was disjointed and hard to figure out when in time it was, because it is told in flashbacks.

I liked it but I didn’t love it. Parts of this story I really enjoyed and as I said it kept me guessing and I would have never guessed who the eventual killer ended up being, so that was good, but the way the story was told I felt hampered the story. I felt at times it was because Hugo, who is telling the story, was so frenetic and so the story felt that way too.

I also felt I didn’t really get to know Bronwyn (savage girl) at all even though this story is about her and I also felt like Hugo didn’t really get to know her either and that his fanatic love for her that was on the verge of obsession was all in his head from his first meeting with her, so their “love story” almost felt forced to me because we the reader had no idea just what her feelings for Hugo may have been. I wanted to know more about Bronwyn and wish there would have been a little more about how the family was able to get her from Savage Girl to ladylike Bronwyn.

What I did enjoy was the sense of the time and it also has a bit of a gothic feel and the edge of your seat I can’t figure out who the real murderer is, was well done.

I received this book from netgalley and when I started reading the ARC I realized I was reading it in Edoardo Ballerini’s voice, so I took to twitter to tell the publisher that he should narrate this audiobook and my answer came from Edoardo himself saying he had just finished recording it and it would be out soon. So needless to say I stopped reading the ARC and waited for the audiobook and I was not disappointed, his narration was perfect his accents and characters were spot on and I found I was right his was the perfect voice for this audiobook.

This was a good story but the frenetic way it is told is a little off-putting.

3 ½ Stars

5 Star Narration

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Missing You by Harlan Coben narrated by, January LaVoy

Missing You  by Harlan Coben narrated by, January LaVoy

Harlan Coben has written another non-stop thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seat, and make you never want to stop reading!  This book grabbed me immediately and never let go till the very end. I really like the character of Kat and would read more books with her in them.

What would you do if you found your ex (the one who got away) on a dating site well you find his picture but the name isn’t the same and when you message him he at first doesn’t seem to remember you. As if that isn’t bad enough some kid (Brandon) shows up at your door saying that same man went away with his mother and he thinks she is in trouble. Throw in a mystery about who really killed Kat’s father and away we go on this rollercoaster ride of a story. Be ready for twists and turns and red herrings, which will keep you guessing all the way to the end.

I love Harlan Coben’s books he always writes a good solid story with a mystery that keeps you on your toes, there was one part of the story I had figured out but my theory was not what Coben ended up writing so I still wasn’t 100% right and I love that in a mystery. I liked the fact that there weren’t any cardboard cutout characters in this book each character had their own identity and back story, which made me care about them even the ones that didn’t last long.

January LaVoy’s narration was very well done I liked that you always knew who was talking and that everyone had a voice, I must mention though there are times some of her male characters sound like cartoons but that was only a couple people so it was easy to overlook. This is my second narration by January and I really enjoyed both so I will seek out books where she is the narrator. Very well done narration.

If you can’t already tell I loved this book, so the only thing I can say to you is, what are you waiting for get to listening!

5 Stars

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Unfit by, Lara Cleveland Torgesen

Unfit by Lara Cleveland Torgesen

Wow this is something I never knew about and it breaks my heart, this book was fascinating it felt like a true story but was a fictionalized amalgamation of different people, and it worked well, I really came to care about Chrissy.

 I never knew anything about the eugenics program before and was horrified that this happened in our country and how long North Carolina held on to this antiquated practice. If you don’t know what I am talking about eugenics is- forcing sterilization procedures on thousands of people deemed “unfit” to reproduce. And who decided this? People with fancy degrees who thought they knew better than anyone else. Kids who were sent to juvenile hall were sterilized, and girls like Chrissy whose mother was on welfare were threatened if she didn’t have the surgery they would lose their benefits, Chrissy’s mother worked a job but it wasn’t enough to raise all of her children. And yes before you think it Chrissy’s parents were married and had children then her father was killed in a car accident that is when they ended up on welfare.

That Chrissy was ever able to love & marry and have a happy life was a credit to her strength even when she felt she had Unfit tattooed across her forehead most of her life. How awful would that be to be told at the age of 14 that you are unfit?? Especially when Chrissy’s mother dies too and she loses all her brothers and sisters and feels the guilt of being mean to her mother after the surgery and what really bothered me they didn’t sterilize her mother and how could Chrissy not feel anger towards her mother who had signed the papers before Chrissy was even told what would happen to her.

This book grabbed me right away and was hard to put down, it is a fascinating read and well written. My only qualm was I so wanted Chrissy to find her siblings, I wanted them all to be okay and had been raised by loving happy parents but with a book like this the reality is she probably never could find them especially the little ones, but I wanted a happy ending for Chrissy, I wanted to hug her and tell her everything would be okay, so the author did a great job at making me care about the characters in this book. This book is a must read , about an embarrassing and heartbreaking time in North Carolina history.

5 Stars

Full disclosure: I received this book from Netgalley and publisher for a fair and honest review

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Night Broken by, Patricia Briggs

Night Broken (Mercy Thompson #8) by,  Patricia Briggs

Loved it!! As always Patricia Briggs writes a fantastic book!

Mercy is again chased a big baddy but this time it is because of Adam’s ex- Christy, and what an awful piece of work this woman is! She plays people off each other and makes them feel sorry for her, but I thought Mercy handled it beautifully. I felt so sorry for Jessie being in the middle I thought she handled it very maturely and always made sure Mercy knew she didn’t feel the same as her mother, she has matured into a very impressive young lady.

We also got a reappearance of Coyote and one of the Grey Lords but our big bad in this book is a volcano God Guayota and if you do some research as Patty did you’ll find that this is an actual myth the big dogs and Tibicenas all come from a real myth which is so neat. We also meet Mercy’s “brother”  Gary Laughingdog another child of Coyote I look forward to seeing where this relationship goes.

We also found out some new things about Tad and I sure hope everything works out for him, but maybe we will get to have Zee back in the next book, I have a feeling from some hints at the end that we may have a trip into “fairyland”(the fae rez) in the next book.

I felt the ending was very abrupt , and really wanted more, of course these books could be a thousand pages and I would probably still want more! I wish I didn’t have so long to wait for the next one!

Some other random thoughts:
I was hoping Guayota would burn down Adam's house so they could start over with house that is his and Mercy's alone, not one that was decorated & lived in by Christy when she and Adam were married!

Wish Bran would have made an appearance guess we have to wait for the next  Anna & Charles book for that.

I love Adam & Mercy and was happy with how she handled Christy especially the ending that made me laugh out loud! And I am so glad Adam is such a good man and that his and Mercy’s mate bond is so strong that it didn't turn into an idiotic triangle.

Loved Honey in this book she's really coming into her own since Peter died and I think Mercy has a potential friend in Honey.

Will be curious to see how the Joel thing plays out.

So much good stuff in this book, and so much more to look forward to in future books. I love this series it just gets better and better.

5 Stars