Monday, May 15, 2017

Armchair Audies Review: Adnan's Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial by Rabia Chaudry

Adnan's Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial by Rabia Chaudry narrated by the author

I was not one of the people that listened to Serial but of course, I have heard about the story, this book really gave a much more in depth look at this case and I can see why everyone was saying he is innocent. I was totally hooked on the story itself and will now be watching this case with interest.

                My thoughts on the narration:
I do wish that there had been a male narrator for the parts from Adnan’s prospective because it got a little confusing going from Rabia’s point of view to Adnan’s without so much as a tone change or saying Adnan at the start of his parts. The author did an okay job narrating this book but it was a straight read, which made it a little boring because she tended to get monotone for my tastes.

3 ½ Stars

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Armchair Audies 2017

It is almost time for the Audie Awards  so that means it is time for the Armchair Audies. This year I decided to do something completely different and picked the Non-Fiction Category and I found many of these books very fascinating. Starting next Monday I will post my reviews then will be getting together with Meg from Meg’s Book Reviews (and Recipes) and we will pick our winner.

See you next week!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Book of Polly by Kathy Hepinstall narrated by Jenna Lamia

The Book of Polly by Kathy Hepinstall narrated by Jenna Lamia

I loved this book…I loved all the characters and wish the book hadn’t ended!

I honestly fell in love with Polly and her daughter Willow these two had me laughing and crying both are such fantastic characters and I do mean characters.  When we first meet Polly she has a falcon on her shoulder during a school meeting, I loved the during this meeting there is a line that Willow says,

 “I was in fact a liar, I had told some lies and even worse some truths about my mother to my classmates, in my defense she was great fodder and this was years before she killed our neighbor.”

How can anyone resist that line? I had to know more about Polly and so does Willow. Willow is a late in life child and her father died before she was born so it was pretty much Polly and Willow against the world, yes, she had older siblings but they were older and out of the house already. We do meet them and I loved her brother Shel her sister is kind of an odd duck but that is to be expected.  I really enjoyed the scenes with Shel and the resolution of this storyline was very fulfilling.

Willow understands her mother is older than most of the kids but she worries most about her mother getting THE BEAR which in Polly’s world is cancer and this does make Willow a little anxious about Polly. Also Willow is really curious about Polly’s younger years all she knows is her mother has never gone back to her hometown and that something awful happened there and Willow is bound and determined to find out, just as determined as Polly is to keep her secrets.

Jenna Lamia’s narration was fabulous she was perfect as Willow and she also got to do some other fun voices like the Preacher at the end oh my that was great narration. Fabulous job.

Fans of CeeCee (Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman)  Starla  (Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall) or Swan ( The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield) will love this book as much as I did. Southern fiction, funny and oh the feels.

5 Stars

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan narrated by, Peter Ganim

The Unquiet Dead: A Novel (Rachel Getty & Esa Khattak #1) by Ausma Zehanat Khan narrated by, Peter Ganim

This was an interesting book not only a good mystery but an excellent history lesson about the war in Bosnia and the Srebrenica massacre of 1995.

Esa & Rachel handle minority-sensitive cases but their new case doesn’t seem to fall under that purview or does it. Christopher Drayton was murdered but why are Esa & Rachel on the case? Drayton had a secret a big one and some people knew did one of them kill him? Was he really who he said he was or was he a Bosnian war Criminal living in obscurity right next door to refugees?

I really liked this story, we get a nice background on our two main characters and how they ended up as partners. I will be curious in the next book to find out even more about Rachel and her brother.   I also found it very fascinating to have some of the transcripts from the war tribunal as that really added a lot to the story. I also liked the setting in Canada and couldn’t help thinking of a crossover book with Inspector Gamache. 

Peter Ganim’s narration was very good and I was glad to have the correct pronunciations to people’s names. There was only one voice that grated on me and that was the hysterical Melanie Blasant, just in the one section it got a bit screechy but she was an awful person so I’m not positive it was her or the voice I was reacting to. I would definitely listen to more books narrated by Peter Ganim.

I have already bought the 2nd book in this series and look forward to the 3rd book coming soon. I highly recommend this series, the writing was very good and the characters are ones I believe you will get behind and really like.

4 Stars

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen

Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen

Wow,Wow,Wow!! I finished this book in 2 days because I couldn’t put it down. This was a great story with some twists and turns that you won’t see coming.

Jessica makes the mistake of going home with a man she does not know and so begins her 12 days of Christmas with a psychopath. The first half of the book we are plunged into Jessica’s nightmare and the second half well the second half will blow you away and give you whiplash.

Dominic Lacey is an extremely creepy bad guy and when he tells Jessica the stories of his life you realize he always has been and has done some really horrible things in his life.

Argh I really want you to read this book but I don’t want to give away anything because this book is so good I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. So I will just say if you like a good twisty psychological thriller then this book is for you!

4 ½ Stars

I received this book from the publisher (Pegasus Books) and Netgalley for a fair and honest review.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Ballroom by Anna Hope

The Ballroom by Anna Hope
Release date- Sept.6, 2016

This was a really interesting look at Asylum care and the Eugenics program in 1911 England. This book is heartbreaking but beautifully written. I felt the characters were fleshed out nicely and even the peripheral character’s felt real and not cardboard cutouts. We learn about some of the reasons people were put in an asylum and believe you me I’d be in big trouble for all the reading I do.

As Dr. Fuller wrote,
” Unlike Music, excessive reading has been shown to be dangerous to the female mind.”

Ella is who we meet first and she has been admitted for breaking a window where she works but she doesn’t quite understand how she ended up in Sharston Asylum because she isn’t mad or is she? Once she is settled she meets Clem, Clem is always reading and says she is here just to figure things out and can leave any time but can we believe her she does seem pretty sane compared to some of the ladies here.

Then we meet John he is an Irishman who has melancholy such a pretty word for depression, something in Johns past has deeply affected him and he barely talks and when he first got there he didn’t speak at all. But John is a really good soul and the crazy chance meeting between him and Ella seems to change them both.

Dr. Fuller thinks that music will help calm patients so he plays piano in the day room but what is going on while those patients are distracted by the music is disturbing. He also puts together a band and they have dances on Friday night in the grand Ballroom, this is the only time there is interaction between the male and female patients but it does seem to be having to effect he was looking for. Dr. Fuller is also against eugenics which is in its infancy and I was shocked to find out that Churchill was a huge proponent of Eugenics which was mighty disappointing. But our Dr.Fuller  showed so much promise in the beginning but alas ended up with not so much. (no spoilers)

I really liked this book and wanted to get back to it whenever I had to put it down, yes it is sad but it is beautifully written and I would highly recommend it!

4 Stars

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

And of course after reading the authors note that she changed the name but this Asylum with the ballroom did exist I had to do some research and found this site with pictures of the ballroom.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan narrated by, Tavia Gilbert & Cassandra Campbell

The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan narrated by, Tavia Gilbert & Cassandra Campbell

I enjoyed this book, the dual storyline was well done. I never knew about the Johnstown Flood before reading this book, what an awful event and I couldn’t help but sympathize with Elizabeth and her feelings that this tragedy was her family’s (and the other rich people at the South Fork Hunting Club) fault.  And what her reaction compared to rest of the members of the Club were heroic especially compared to the cowardly reaction from most of them. I also (of course) did some research and the pictures are just heartbreaking. **See the end of this review for some links**

In the present day storyline we have Lee searching for her bio mother and all that is in her file is finding out she is a different religion than she knew and an old picture of 2 women one woman looks so much like her they must be related and the other woman is familiar too and turns out to be Clara Barton founder of the American Red Cross. This begins her journey to discover her biological family and how is Clara Barton involved.

The dual narration by Tavia Gilbert & Cassandra Campbell is so well done they really draw you in to these two women.

I did as always like the historical story better than the present but I still liked this book as a whole. The historical story just held so much that I hadn’t heard about before so I was fascinated and horrified by what happened in Johnstown. But to find out how you were related to this event was interesting too.

I would recommend this book especially in audio.

4 Stars

And those that follow me know how much I love to research after reading a good historical fiction