Thursday, December 27, 2012

Diary of a Mad Fat Girl by Stephanie McAfee, narrated by, Cassandra Campbell

Diary of a Mad Fat Girl  by Stephanie McAfee, narrated by, Cassandra Campbell
I don't usually put synopsis on here but wanted to show that the synopsis made this sound like a laugh out loud book:
Synopsis:Graciela "Ace" Jones is mad-mad at her best friend Lilly who cancels their annual trip to Panama City for mysterious reasons; at her boss Catherine for "riding her ass like a fat lady on a Rascal scooter;" at her friend Chloe's abusive husband; and especially at Mason McKenzie, the love of her life, who has shown up with a marriage proposal three years too late. Ace is never mad, though, at her near-constant companion, an adorable chiweenie dog named Buster Loo. Ace's anger begins to dissipate as she takes matters into her own hands to take down Chloe's philandering husband-and to get to the bottom of a multitude of other scandals plaguing Bugtussle, Mississippi. Then, she starts to realize that maybe Mason deserves a second chance after all. With a sharp and distinctive voice, Stephanie McAfee delivers a hilarious and fast-paced tale about Ace Jones and her two best friends-thick as thieves and tough as nails-navigating Southern small-town politics and prejudices, finding love, and standing up for each other all the way
My review:
I didn't listen to this for any literary reason from the title I thought it would fun or at least funny, it was in ways but it wasn't laugh out loud funny, there were funny moments. I liked Ace at first until she totally turned into the jealous insecure woman I hate, these kinds of women drive me insane and Ace was everything I can’t stand about them, i.e. Another woman looked at you, talked to you, whatever to you so you must be cheating on me because I am “fat” ugly” “an idiot” and get out because I know what you are doing and now I am going to go have sex with someone else but you have no right to have an opinion on that! This made me almost shut this book off with less than 2 hours to go, but I thought ok let’s see if she redeems herself. And then of course she leads on the guy she sleeps with and you end up with a bit of a triangle of her own making that of course doesn’t go well at all.

Also Mad is an understatement this woman is just angry at the world and I’m really not sure why I guess I was hoping the title meant Mad in a crazy fun way not the angriest person to walk to earth. She’s pretty lucky she has any friends at all. There are parts of this book I liked but then Ace is just not likable and doesn’t seem to grow at all throughout the book. Even the ending I guess I don’t see why this guy would be so gungho to want her back just don’t get it.

Cassandra Campbell is as always a great narrator even though this set in the south Cassandra decided not to give anyone a southern accent which I think was a good choice because this is set in Bugtussle it could have easily turned into a cartoony Beverly Hillbillies accent and I think that would have made this book unbearable.

2 ½ (barely)Star book
4 Star narration

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Warm Bodies: A Novel by Isaac Marion narrated by, Kevin Kenerly

Warm Bodies: A Novel by Isaac Marion narrated by, Kevin Kenerly

This book was recommended by many friends and also the movie trailer peaked my curiosity, however this book did not blow me away as I expected, it’s a good , different story but I felt it bogged down a bit in the middle.

I am a big fan of the TV show Walking Dead it is pretty much the only zombie show I’ve liked and I haven’t read any other zombie books, so this was new territory for me. I did like the story as told by R as his brain (or soul) starts to come back to life it’s not an easy road but when the same thing starts to happen to other zombies, I as a reader was left wondering how? Do the zombies have a hive mind and because R starts coming back to life the others do? Is it Julie; is she some magical force that somehow re-ignites life? This was one of the main things that puzzled me, I guess I could kind of see R’s feelings for Julie making him start to heal but it confused me why the others started at the same time or did it have nothing to do with either of them and the “plague” had just run its course. Maybe I looked at this novel too cut and dry and that may have taken away from some of my enjoyment? Also the parts with Perry were a little confusing too did it last this long with all the people they ate or was he hanging on longer because of Julie?

Maybe I’m just odd that these are the questions I had and didn’t really think anything about how gross the relationship between a human and a zombie is? Maybe after all the vampire and werewolf/shifter books I’ve read I’ve grown wearisome of the whole human and “name your other species” love stories. I’m not sure.

I also am not sure if Kevin Kenerly the narrator had anything to do with this, his voice was very monotone and I think he was trying to get across the zombie thought and speech pattern but even when he was speaking as others it was a little one dimensional. Kevin was a new to me narrator and I see he narrates a book on my wishlist so I will give him another try on a non-zombie book.

I know a lot of people really loved this book, I only liked it as it was an interesting story but I felt like it fell apart a little about halfway through also I guess from the movie trailer I was expecting a little more humor (I know don’t judge a book by its movie) but maybe my expectations were too high and that also contributed to me not loving it. I did like it though so that is why it is a 3 Star book for me.

3 stars

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas with Tucker by, Greg Kincaid narrated by, Mark Bramhall

Christmas with Tucker by, Greg Kincaid narrated by, Mark Bramhall

In Christmas with Tucker we go back to George McCray’s childhood it’s the year George’s father dies and his mother couldn’t bear to stay in Kansas so she moves to Minnesota but George stays on the farm with his grandparents when the biggest storms in history hits their small town, this is a true coming of age book as George helps out his grandfather and the whole town.

After reading Greg Kincaid’s other books to see George as a young boy was nice, George had a tough time of it after his father dies and when an old friend of his father’s ends up in jail George takes in his dog Tucker the two bond like crazy and the last thing George wants to do is give Tucker back.

This one is about so much more than Tucker though; it is about community, grief, healing and hard work. You see flashes of the man that George becomes, as George grows throughout the book into a man who needs to help out even if other people think he is too young but when conditions go from bad to worse George really steps up and I think this was the beginning of him being a pillar in the community since we know he grew up and inherited the farm from his grandparents.

The storm was almost a character in the book and it made me think of the blizzard of ’66 (I personally don’t remember this storm) but if you bring it up during coffee hour at any café in ND you will hear story after story about it, also being from ND I was able to truly envision the obstacles a road maintainer and farmer goes through when this kind of a storm hits.

Again we have Mark Bramhall narrating and as with the other books I can’t image anyone else being as perfect a narrator for these as he is!

Greg Kincaid just writes the truth I have enjoyed these down to earth true to life books and I look forward to more books from this author.

4 Stars

PS How can you resist the covers of all of Kincaid's books??

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher, narrated by, David Tennant

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher, narrated by, David Tennant

Oh goodness this is a great book but have some tissues ready! 10 year old Jamie doesn’t really understand why his sister Rose is still on the mantelpiece she died 5 years ago and to be honest he doesn’t really remember her at all, just that her dying in a terrorist attack changed the face of his family in more ways than just Rose being gone. Jamie’s mum left them, his dad drinks all the time, his sister Jas (Rose’s twin) is a teenager and tries to do what she can for Jamie. Things at school aren’t that great he is being bullied and is falling for a Muslim girl who he thinks is beautiful and funny and wonderful but how will his dad react, because according to Jamie’s dad it was all Muslims that killed his sister. These are just some of the trials and tribulations Jamie goes through in this wonderful coming of age book.

I really liked how this book was written we really get inside Jamie’s head and his thought process and the fighting between what his dad believes and what Jamie feels especially towards Sunya. Is Jamie naïve yes of course, he is 10 years old, is it wonderful to see that he doesn’t feel the same antagonism towards Muslims that his dad does yes it is, but the battle to try and understand everyone is really at the heart of this book. To understand why his Mum left, why his dad can’t let Rose go, and why it isn’t ok to like Sunya.

There are parts of this book that will  pull at your heart string especially in the end, sometimes the answers you seek are not the ones you really want and when Jamie’s eyes are opened about his parents it isn’t always an easy pill to swallow. I think this is an important book about race relations, grief and family and that just because your parents feel one way doesn’t mean you have to feel the same way!  This book really touched my heart by the end it was a little slow beginning but once you start to see who Jamie is and what he goes through you will be hooked just as I was.

Now the audio production this is narrated by, David Tennant Yes that David Tennant and even with his thick Scottish brogue I had a hard time whenever he said Rose (my fellow Whovians will understand this) but once I got over it and just concentrated on him being Jamie I was good to go. But I do wonder if this book affected me more because it was David’s voice? No, I think I still would have had the emotional connection to Jamie even though in my head he looked like a young David!

I think this is a book for advanced middle grade readers, because it deals with death, an alcoholic parent divorce, terrorism, race relations , religious differences, bullying wow now that I look at that list this book covers a lot of ground and that’s what makes it a must read.

4 Stars

Monday, December 10, 2012

Great Classic Holiday Stories by Various Authors and Various Narrators

Great Classic Holiday Stories by Various Authors and Various Narrators
From Audiogo
I think this would be a great audiobook for a family road trip on the way to grandma’s house for Christmas! My favorite was The Tailor of Gloucester by, Beatrix Potter narrated by, Jane Carr fun story and great narration.

A Christmas Carol by, Charles Dickens narrated by, John Mawson
I have to admit to listening to A Christmas Carol narrated by, Tim Curry last year and I absolutely loved it so was hard to compare this narration with the wonderful Curry. Still a good adaptation.

Christmas at Red Butte by, Lucy Maud Montgomery narrated by, Dana Green
This was a touching story reminiscent of the Gift of the Magi, good narration.

Yes Virginia There is a Santa Claus by, Francis Marcelis Church narrated by, Paul Boehmer
The adorable letter we all know and love plus Paul Boehmer win, win!

The Tailor of Gloucester by, Beatrix Potter narrated by, Jane Carr
This was a really fun story and great narration, this would be a good one for kids they will enjoy the story and the narration, the narrator did a lot of fun voices of the mice and the cats. Fun Stuff!

Twas the Night before Christmas by, Clement Clark Moore Narrated by, Gregory Itzen
This all too familiar story was made better by the little biography about the author as a prelude to the story.

The Gift of the Magi by, O Henry narrated by, Paul Boehmer
This has always been one of my all time favorite stories made even better by the wonderful Paul Boehmer’s narration!

Peace on Earth Goodwill to Dogs by, Eleanor Halliwell Abbott narrated by, Dana Green
Cute little story that did get a little long but still cute. The narrator sounds like Beth Broderick who played Aunt Zelda on Sabrina the Teenage Witch not a bad thing but could have sworn that is who the narrator was.

The Christmas Surprise at Enderly Road by, Lucy Maud Montgomery narrated by, Paul Boehmer
This one didn’t grab me at all.

Old Christmas by, Washington Irving Narrated by, Gregory Itzen
Enjoyed the narration of this one his voice is similar to Len Cariou a little gravely which I always enjoy I like a voice with personality and Gregory has that. This story did drag on a bit but was good.
Overall 3 ½ stars

Full disclosure I received this audiobook from the Audiobookjukebox and the publisher for a fair and honest review.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson by, Lyndsay Faye Narrated by, Simon Vance

I swear that Lyndsay Faye has channeled Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, this book felt so much like an original Holmes story that if I hadn’t known who the author was I would have just assumed it was a Doyle story. This book can stand up alongside the Holmes canon with no fear of recriminations this is the best non-Doyle Holmes story I have ever read!

Who better to finally solve the Ripper case than Sherlock Holmes? However before he can solve the case he is accused of being the Ripper himself! This story had some great twists and turns and just the right amount of actual Ripper facts to make this a very believable story combining these two iconic characters seamlessly. Yes, I know Jack the Ripper was real and Sherlock is not but this book was so well written that real and fiction blurred into one fantastic story, and I think Sherlock got it right, his explanation of who the Ripper was seemed to fit better with the evidence than a lot of other hypothesis I’ve read or heard.

There is a great “feel” of Whitechapel the author transports you into these dark alleys with their smells and people, the atmosphere was great you could almost hear the clopping of horses hoofs and see the mist and fog. She also brings everyone from the original Holmes including Mrs. Hudson, Inspector Lestrade, and Mycroft and brings a new character Miss Monk who is a woman of some ill repute but just the kind of woman who could help Holmes snare The Ripper, I enjoyed her she was a fun character.

As always Simon Vance’s narration is spot on,  the differing voices of Watson & Holmes were great it had the feel of the old Basil Rathbone movies(which are my favorites) with Watson’s voice a bit more gravely than Holmes and Holmes’ smooth I’m better than you cadence of speech. I can’t think of anyone who could have done this book more justice than Simon Vance.

I highly recommend this book especially on audio! If you are a Holmes fan this is a must read!

5 Stars

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Christmas Home by, Greg Kincaid narrated by, Mark Bramhall

A Christmas Home by, Greg Kincaid narrated by, Mark Bramhall

In the follow up to A Dog Named Christmas we are back with the McCray family as budget cuts have hit their town and the shelter funding has been cut off , the shelter is forced to close leaving not only the animals out in the cold but Todd out of a job. This book again hit me in the heart (see my personal aside at the end of this review) I felt so bad for Todd, but certain things in his life seem to be getting better he is living on his own now and is becoming closer to Laura another volunteer, but with the closing of the shelter that has meant so much to Todd he is having a hard time understanding why other people don’t care about the dogs as much as he does.

Greg Kincaid knows how to write a touching story without getting too sappy and the way he writes about the challenges Todd’s parents go through is so right on, I also liked the story between Laura & Todd and how just because of his condition doesn’t mean he is not a man and that she never treated him as anything but an equal and how the whole town rallied around Todd & the shelter was inspiring.

As with the last book Mark Bramhall’s narration is again storytelling at its best I have gone through and added many books to my wishlist just because he narrates them, he has become a favorite and I look forward to listening many more from him.

4 Stars

A personal aside: As I said in my review of A Dog Named Christmas I am the proud stepmother of a 30 year mentally disabled man and as the story was progressing about the shelter being closed I couldn’t help but personalize it. My son has been helping with the high school football team for 15 years it is his number one job, career choice and passion and I couldn’t help comparing the two situations with what if he ever lost that job with the football team and how crushed he would be, so there were a couple times I was close to tears just thinking about the hurt he would go through, it made this book very emotionally charged for me personally. Here is my son cheering on his football team who did in fact win the State football championships this year talk about a proud moment for him! Just writing this makes me very proud he is the star in our family if someone in our small town doesn’t know us, we say we are Nate’s parents and they know us right away because he is a rock star!
Photo credit to Eric Gjovic

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Dog Named Christmas by, Greg Kincaid narrated by, Mark Bramhall

I know it’s not quite December yet but I have a whole slew of Christmas books I want to read this year and besides just look at this cover could you resist that face I tried I really did I tried to wait till December but there was that face looking at me as I scrolled through my ipod, try to resist him I dare you!

A Dog Named Christmas by, Greg Kincaid narrated by, Mark Bramhall

I have to admit to having a weakness for Christmas stories that aren’t too sappy or preachy I also have a weakness for dog stories so this book filled the bill to perfection. I am also the mother of a mentally disabled son so Todd really touched my heart. This is a short and delightful book, it’s about so much more than the dog named Christmas it’s about healing and community and how one person’s good deed can change people’s thinking.

I really enjoyed George’s transformation throughout the book and how he and his wife Mary Ann as parents of a child with a disability have a hard time giving up the reigns as that child gets older in chronological age but not always in mental age which makes it even harder to let your child grow up. I see there is a second book and have downloaded it before I was halfway done with this one because I didn’t want this story to end. There is one part *No Spoilers* that I thought was going down a clichéd path and had me yelling at my speakers but luckily it did not go down that road!

Mark Bramhall narration was perfect, he is fast becoming a go-to narrator his voice is subtle yet the way he reads a book it feels like sitting across the kitchen table in rapt attention listening to a master storyteller. I will pick audio over paper everytime if I see he is narrating!

If you are a fan of Christmas reads, dog books or Mark Bramhall I highly recommend this delightful story!

4 stars

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mini Review~Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg, narrated by, Lorna Raver

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg, narrated by, Lorna Raver

This book has everything I as a southern fiction reader love, quirky characters, a little mystery and strong women. I have seen this movie many times but had never read the book and thought it was about time I remedied that with the audio version narrated by the always wonderful Lorna Raver.

I liked these characters so much, the true friendships were fabulous the way they all come together to protect their own, it made me want to live in Whistle Stop. I liked the back & forth in time through the storytelling. I wish Mrs. Threadgood had lived to see Evelyn’s transformation that she had so much to do with, I enjoyed this storyline of the empty nester trying to figure out who she is and loved her “coming of age” story. Of course Idgie is a great character a woman born way before her time and her relationship with Ruth is so special and I like how it is up to the reader if they are a lesbian couple or just good friends. Every character in this book brings something to the table and it is a book that stays with you.

As I said I listened to this on audio narrated by Lorna Raver who is always a perfect choice in southern fiction!

There are so many reviews of this book that I will leave you with if you like southern fiction this book is a must read!

4 Stars

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Viva Jacquelina!: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Over the Hills and Far Away (Bloody Jack #10) by L.A. Meyer narrated by, Katherine Kellgren

Viva Jacquelina!: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Over the Hills and Far Away (Bloody Jack #10) by L.A. Meyer narrated by, Katherine Kellgren

Oh Jacky! Again men just can’t help being drawn to her! I think my favorite part is when she eats the mushrooms and has a whole conversation with Brother Frog and of course since our Jacky is always thinking and after she comes down from her high she saves some of these mushrooms to use at a later time. And when she does it is hilarious!!! She ends up being the inventor of Purple haze!

Our Jacky also finds herself in her own version of the Girl with the Pearl Earring and running with the bulls. Oh and gets herself caught up in the inquisition too! I think Jacky found her long lost family in the gypsies too she fit in so well with them!

As usual Jacky finds herself caught in bad situations and meets famous people, but there was something different about this book, Jacky seemed a bit more mature and although she does want to get to Jamie it isn’t all encompassing as it has been in past books, and Jamie was a bit more secondary in this one. She meets a lot of new people, yes she still runs into people she knows but not as many as in past books and she didn’t have Higgins with her which I missed. And the ending was very abrupt but it sounds like everyone is headed to Boston so I guess we will see if Jacky & Jamie ever do get together. I love this series but I think I do see the end in sight which is sad but I’d hate to see this series run into the ground by having too many books, this is a series that you can read over and over again so it’s not like I can’t go back and visit Jacky anytime I want to.

Katy Kellgren makes these books even better with her perfect narration and singing, yes, lots & lots of singing and in many different languages & styles and she pulls it off with seeming ease. It's a rollicking good time and as always Katherine Kellgren's narration is perfection!

Loved it as usual but I want the next one NOW!

4 ½ Stars

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks narrated by, Matthew Brown

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks narrated by, Matthew Brown

How do I write this review without complete gushing and no spoilers? I fell in love with Budo and Max and Oswald too. I did not want this story to end I wanted to stay with these characters, they were just so special.

This story is written with such feeling but in that straight forward way children use to describe their world. I loved how the author had Budo describe Max’s aspergers and how his mind worked. Budo is an extraordinary imaginary friend because he has been around longer than most, he has seen many imaginary friends go *poof* and he doesn’t want that to happen to him although he knows one day it will, because no imaginary friend is needed forever. I enjoyed that there were other imaginary friends and they could talk to each other and the whole imaginary universe the author concocts is great, with all the different kinds of imaginary friends there were and how different each personality is based on what the child/imaginer needed at the time.

This may start slow for some but I enjoyed the daily life of Max to see who he was and how he handles life, then when the big story takes over you are already invested and for me a bit in love with these characters that your stomach is in knots and have some tissues ready towards the end! I so want Budo to be my imaginary friend!

When the events in the middle of this book happen (trying for no spoilers) I loved how strong Max becomes but at the same time I didn’t want him to because as we have seen throughout the book once an imaginary friend is no longer needed *poof* and I did not want to see Budo go that way! My favorite imaginary friend other than Budo has to be Oswald because he was so different than all the others yet was very childlike himself.

There are parts of this book that will make you giggle, parts that will make you cry and parts that will make you cheer. This book just had it all, a unique voice and unique storytelling for a very unique story that will tug at your heartstrings and not let go. When I finished this audiobook I thought about starting over at the beginning just because I didn’t want to leave these characters.

Matthew Brown narrated this book so well, he brought the little boy quality to his voice that was so well done that I totally believed he was the voice of Budo not an adult trying for a child’s voice. I honestly don’t know if I would have had the same emotional connection to this book without Matthew’s narration he truly brought Budo and all the other characters to life for me. I would definitely listen to this new to me narrator again.

This book will be in my top 5 of the year! It is a book and characters that will stay with you long after you finish reading it. Highly recommend this one especially on audio!

5 stars
Full disclosure: I received this audiobook from the Audiobookjukebox Solid Gold Reviewer program and the publisher in return for a fair and unbiased review.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society: A Novel by Amy Hill Hearth

This was so much fun! I loved every character in this book so much I didn’t want it to end! This gang of misfits turned Naples on its heel and I loved every minute of it!

Mrs. Jackie Hart is a northerner transplanted to Naples in the early 1960’s and since she’s a Yankee she doesn’t really fit in so she starts a Women’s Literary Society and the group that shows up is also on the outside, we have a divorcee, a woman just out of prison for killing her husband, a colored (their words) girl, a man who they let join because they all know he is a homosexual, a woman the whole town calls Plain Jane and the librarian, this group of outsiders and misfits ends up being about so much more than reading books.

This book had humor, drama, and life lessons what I loved about it was the way these and women (and Robbie Lee) came together as strangers with nothing in common and ended up the best of friends and truly involved in each other’s lives. I just wish it had been longer or maybe has a sequel in the works! I liked the historical details of the time, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the KKK, women’s rights and women trying to find their place in the world, civil rights. The Cuban Missile Crisis chapter I thought was well done and really gave a feel to how people in Florida must have felt.

I also liked in the acknowledgments finding out that Jackie was modeled after the authors MIL who was the actual Miss Dreamsville. And this author’s non-fiction work about the Delany sisters’ is one I have been meaning to read for awhile so will be bumping that up on the TBR pile. I hope she will write more fiction because I will be first in line to read more from this author. I will also be buying a paper copy of this book for my library my patrons will love it!

4 Stars

Full Disclosure I received this book from netgalley for a fair and unbiased review.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Time Keeper by, Mitch Albom narrated by, Dan Stevens

The Time Keeper by, Mitch Albom narrated by, Dan Stevens

I haven’t read Mitch Albom’s other books, they aren’t in a genre I usually read but after seeing the great write up this audiobook got in Audiofile magazine this one sounded like something I would like, and I wasn’t wrong!

This book is very relevant to the world we live in because it seems everyone is in a rush to get where they are going and wanting more time to get it done, but be careful what you wish for. As Dor found out the hard way, 100’s of centuries ago he designed the first clock but God (or some such person) is not happy with him for this and banishes him to a cave for centuries where he becomes Father Time. Now centuries later God (or some such person) has a deal for him if he can save 2 people he can have his freedom. The 2 people he chooses are a teenage girl, Sarah, who wants to give up her time because she has gotten her heart broken and an old man, Victor, in kidney failure who wants more time, can he save these two people and in turn save himself?

“When you are measuring time you are not living it.” So very true! A very well written cautionary tale about time and not taking it for granted or wasting it, loved the epilogue. Actually I just really liked this whole book. I have seen some reviews saying this book was choppy but I never got that feeling at all and that may be because I listened to it on audio. I thought the story was great and felt like any “choppiness” just made me feel more of what Dor was feeling being in this new world and to really explore it he had to slow time because our world moves so fast. I think this book will appeal to a different audience than Albom’s previous books, yes people who liked his past books will probably like this one but because of the fantasy element of Father Time I think this will appeal to people who read fantasy or enjoy fairytales re-told.

Dan Stevens narration of this book is fabulous! Every voice is spot on, you never question who is talking each voice has its own inflection and tone. I see why this performance has won a well-deserved earphones award and would not be at all surprised if this one wins big at the Audies too! I just can’t say enough about how great the narration of this book is. If you are thinking of reading this one I highly recommend it on audio! Dan Stevens will be a narrator to look for in the future!

4 ½ Stars
5+++ Stars for the narration 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Cutting Season: A Novel by Attica Locke narrated by, Quincy Tyler Bernstine

TheCutting Season: A Novel by Attica Locke narrated by, Quincy Tyler Bernstine
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Caren Gray manages Belle Vie, a sprawling antebellum plantation that sits between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, where the past and the present coexist uneasily. The estate's owners have turned the place into an eerie tourist attraction, complete with full-dress re-enactments and carefully restored slave quarters. Outside the gates, a corporation with ambitious plans has been busy snapping up land from struggling families who have been growing sugar cane for generations, and now replacing local employees with illegal laborers. Tensions mount when the body of a female migrant worker is found in a shallow grave on the edge of the property, her throat cut clean.
As the investigation gets under way, the list of suspects grows. But when fresh evidence comes to light and the sheriff's department zeros in on a person of interest, Caren has a bad feeling that the police are chasing the wrong leads. Putting herself at risk, she ventures into dangerous territory as she unearths startling new facts about a very old mystery—the long-ago disappearance of a former slave—that has unsettling ties to the current murder. In pursuit of the truth about Belle Vie's history and her own, Caren discovers secrets about both cases—ones that an increasingly desperate killer will stop at nothing to keep buried.

My Review:

I liked this southern mystery even though at times the story kind of slowed for me; it wasn’t an edge of your seat kind of mystery, but good none the less. However I am still not sure if I really liked our heroine Caren, it seemed like she had some problems with letting people get close to her including her own daughter, I never felt like theirs was a really close relationship even though it felt at times like the author was trying to force me to feel that it was. I felt at times that Caren was very anti-social and even when the other people at Belle Vie tried to befriend her she was very stand offish.

I wish I could have learned more about Caren’s childhood and when it came to telling Jason’s story I did feel like the ending was a bit flat. Also this was too easy to put down. I wish the historical story had been given more time I think this and Caren’s childhood would have added another dimension that this was lacking. But I am not saying I didn’t enjoy this book, it started out strong but for me fell flat at the end. I think it was Caren that maybe turned me off she wasn't very likable and I think this book would have worked better if she had been.

Narrtion of the this audiobook was done by, Quincy Tyler Bernstine who was a new to me narrator but I thought did a very good job I thought her voice was kind of a cross between Bahni Turpin & Jenna Lamia so I will definitely watch for more by this narrator .

I know a lot of people enjoyed this book more than I did so I say give it a try for yourself and see what you think. I do highly recommend the audio version.

3 Stars-Good Book but some things didn't connect with me

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Art Forger by, B.A. Shapiro narrated by, Xe Sands

The Art Forger by, B.A. Shapiro narrated by, Xe Sands
Highbridge audio
10 Hours

This is a fascinating look at the art world and Claire’s role in it; I guess I never realized there was such a huge business in painting reproductions. When Claire shows her own works though she wonders; if you are so good at making reproductions, plus have a bit of scandal attached to you are people really there for your art or the novelty which is sad for Claire.

Claire is at times so naïve but it seems like it is mostly with them manipulative men she allows in her life, Aiden & Isaac, and what bothers me is she doesn’t even realize it half the time even in the end *no spoilers*…

This book made me want to do more research on the art world, forgers and thieves and I hope that it was an exaggerated view on the art world but I have a feeling it isn’t so farfetched.

This book is well written, a bit of a slow build trying to figure out the mystery of which painting is real and which isn’t and made me wonder how many of the “masterpieces” out there are really forgeries? I also liked that she tied this into the Gardner Museum heist because I remember that happening and it always fascinated me.

This is a quick story that I wish had been longer with more information and the end felt a little rushed. I did wish there was a bit more meat to it, more background on the relationships and why Claire allows herself to be used in the ways she was. All in all though I enjoyed this book I just wish there had been more of it. I would definitely read more by this author.

Xe Sands narration is great when Claire gets nervous and scared when she thinks she’s going to get caught my heart was in my stomach she made me feel those emotions so fully! There is only a small quibble I wish that Isabella’s voice had been a little more different than Claire’s sometimes it took me a second to realize that the story had switched to Isabella. But other than that I thought Xe’s narration was very well done.

3 ½ Stars

Full Disclosure: I received this book from the audiobookjukebox Solid Gold reviewer program & Highbridge audio for an unbiased review.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Secret Keeper by, Kate Morton narrated by, Caroline Lee

The Secret Keeper by, Kate Morton narrated by, Caroline Lee

Another great book from Kate Morton; she sure knows how to weave a story. This one is a story of secrets, family, murder and of learning the truth before its too late. When Laurel was a child she witnesses something very disturbing and now 40 years later her mother is dying and she sets out to find the truth behind what happened. But what she finds isn’t what she expects does she even know her mother at all. Her mom always said they were her second chance but from what or who?

As always Kate Morton blends the past and present story together with masterful ease, I had such a hard time turning this off (audio) I did not want to stop listening for a minute, this one grabbed me in the first 5 minutes and never let me go right up to the end. I started suspecting certain things **No Spoilers** and was glad when it confirmed I was right. I think the biggest lesson Laurel learned in this one was that the mother she knew and loved all her life was still that same woman even with all her secrets laid bare, it really didn’t change anything in her feelings towards her mother and I liked that.

The story of Dorothy’s past gave such a great feel of England during the blitz, how even with bombs dropping people tried to keep their chin up. I really felt the atmosphere of the time.

There was also a Doctor Who reference that made me love this author all the more!

Caroline Lee does the narration, and I just love the combination of these two women Caroline conveys Kate’s words better than I think anyone could, I also will forever say Zaaanzibaah (Zanzibar) the way Lady Gwendolyn does it was so perfect, right there I knew what this woman looked like and who this woman was! I highly recommend all of Kate Morton’s books on audio they are all read by the wonderful Caroline Lee!

If you can’t tell I love this author and will read whatever she writes and look forward to another book very soon!

4 ½ Stars

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Orchardist by, Amanda Coplin narrated by, Mark Bramhall

The Orchardist by, Amanda Coplin narrated by, Mark Bramhall

This is a quiet book about flawed people, what your upbringing can turn you into and why even when given a fighting chance some people can’t get over what was done to them. This isn’t a great drama, or a thrill ride it is really just Talmadge’s story told in a sad way, rueful and regretful.

Talmadge is a quiet man working his orchards and still not over the disappearance of his sister years ago, when one day 2 young girls dirty, hungry and pregnant have wandered onto his property looking for food. The girls Jane & Della & Talmadge finally come to tentative understanding that he will leave them food and he will not try to touch them or talk to them. When the girls go into labor only one baby lives; Angeline, who becomes a huge part of Talmadge’s life, but there is a man looking for these girls and the events of that day will haunt all their lives forever.

This is not a happy story but there is something about it that grabs at your heart plus the imagery of the orchard and the time period is done so beautifully. I am finding it very hard to put into words the emotions this book evoked and honestly I’m not sure if it would have done the same without Mark Bramhall’s narration.

Mark Bramhall’s narration is pretty much a straight read, yet is compelling at the same time. I’ll be honest I don’t usually like straight reads I like variation of characters but Mark Bramhall has this voice that gets your attention with its calm  fluidity. I can’t image anyone else’s voice being as perfect for this book as his.

I think this is one of those books that will stay with me awhile and the sad people in it, yet this books is so beautiful , lyrical and flowing. What amazes me is this is a first novel I think Amanda Coplin will be an author to watch and I look forward to more from her!

4  Stars

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Woman in Black by, Susan Hill narrated by, Ralph Cosham

Since I didn't get a chance to read/listen to any scary books this October this is a review from one I read & listened to last year. I read it first then re-read it on audio, yes it's that good! I have also seen the play and the movie and really liked them all! So this is a review of both the book and the audio.

The Woman in Black by, Susan Hill narrated by Ralph Cosham

This was a good spooky ghost story not gory but psychologically suspenseful. Arthur Kripps is given the task of going through the papers of a woman he has never met her, but his firm is handling her affairs after her death. What Arthur finds in the town and house is something that will stay with him for the rest of his life.

This book was written very well with just the right amount of suspense and trepidation, as events happen to Arthur I found myself with butterflies in my stomach and was glad no one came up behind me while I was reading. I liked that the author made you feel the darkness, smell the marshes, and hear the sounds and that’s what’s great about this book it has great atmosphere and does a good job at pulling you in.

If you are a fan of Victorian ghost stories I highly recommend this book this will be a book I will recommend to anyone who likes ghost stories that are suspenseful without any blood & gore.

What can I say about Ralph Cosham that hasn't already been said his voice is just so perfect, he has the voice of a superb storyteller with perfect inflection and pacing when it is needed. I highly recommend this version from Blackstone Audio.

This was my first book by Susan Hill and after her descriptive writing in this book I will try others by her.

4 Stars

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Ruby Ring by, Diane Haeger narrated by, Elizabeth Wiley

*The above picture isn't the same as the audio cover but the only cover was on audible and didn't think I could use that one.*

The Ruby Ring by, Diane Haeger narrated by, Elizabeth Wiley

I did like this book overall; it was an interesting depiction of the time period and the perks and hazards of being a great painter with commissions that need to be done especially when these commissions are from the Pope himself. As with other artists I’ve read about, Raphael became a bit obsessed with Margherita at the detriment to his work. I did feel bad for them in the end because of all the interference in their lives also the way Margherita was treated by these men in Raphael’s life especially while Raphael was on his death bed, they all knew how much Raphael loved this woman but they were so evil to her. The more I read on this time period the less respect I have for these supposed clerics, they were the biggest schemers and frauds of them all and were able to get away with it because they were clerics.

I wish there had been more of the rivalry between Raphael, da Vinci & Michelangelo, I found this an interesting side story and wish there had been more of it. I am not a big fan of romance novels and there were times when the romance of these two had me rolling my eyes and hoping to get on with more plot and less romance. Again, as I read about this time period the church sure had their hand in everything from who Raphael could marry and who he couldn’t. But when you are betrothed to a Cardinal’s niece who has the ear of the De Medici Pope I guess they have a bit of a vested interest in your life, especially when you are spending more time with your model/mistress than you are on finishing the project for the Pope.

This did make me do some research and with the portrayal of Cardinal Bibbiena I was very surprised to see he was a comedy writer? What? He sure didn’t seem to have a sense of humor in this book he was pretty despicable. I also found the painting The Betrothal of Raphael and the Niece of Cardinal Bibbiena by, painter Jacques-Louis David which showed that some of the facts were there but when reading the description it said that the likeness of Maria the cardinal's niece was inspired by an image of a woman once identified as Raphael's mistress, called "La Fornarina"., so it made me wonder if that was really Margherita. As I have said in other reviews of historical fiction if a book makes me want to do research about the people or places than it did a good job of engaging me.

Elizabeth Wiley’s narration was good if a bit over the top at times, some characters had a more pronounced accent than others but I believe she was trying to convey the characters personality. One voice that just rubbed me the wrong way because of the accent and key was the nuns voice it was too high and shrill, Maria’s voice was annoying too. But either I got used to the narration or Elizabeth got into a rhythm and became more comfortable with the accents as I felt they got better the longer I listened. By the end of the book I was enjoying her narration and thought she did well at transitioning between the Italian accents and the narrative with her regular voice. I would seek out other books narrated by Elizabeth Wiley.

3 ½ Stars

***Full disclosure I received this audiobook from The Solid Gold Reviewers Program at***

Monday, October 8, 2012

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky narrated by, Johnny Heller

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky narrated by, Johnny Heller
Published by, Recorded Books

Ok, we need to address this right away, Yes there is sex, drug use and drinking, Yes they are teens , But I thought it was written so realistically that none of these things mattered to me. Now on with my review.

I really liked this book, more than I expected to! I thought this was a very true to life story although I will admit I could have gone without the ending but I was waiting for the shoe to drop all the way through but I thought someone (probably Sam) was going to die that isn’t a spoiler because that never happens. I liked how loving and supportive Charlie’s family was. Also the friendship between Charlie, Sam & Patrick was just so well, for lack of a better word good, I liked how they all accepted each other for who they were.

I “got” Charlie’s love of reading some of my favorite quotes about reading were:

“I have finished To Kill a Mockingbird. It is now my favorite book of all time, but then again, I always think that until I read another book.”

                        “What's your favorite book?  "The last one I read.”

                  “It's strange to describe reading a book as a really great experience, but that's kind of how it felt.”

I also liked some of Charlie’s observations on life and the people around him, there were times he seemed so wise beyond his years and other times when he was so naïve you just felt like doing a face palm. I also had a little trouble with the timeline I guess to me it didn’t feel like the 90’s more late 70’s early 80’s,  that could be because that’s when I was this age and I was really “feeling” this book.

I listened to this on audio narrated by Johnny Heller who I thought was well suited for this one, he had this innocent quality in voice that worked so perfectly for Charlie. It was so different from other books I’ve listened to by this narrator and to me that is what makes a great narrator, not when they sound exactly the same in every book but play the part for each individual book. ****IF you can find this version I highly recommend it!

If you can’t tell I really enjoyed this book, and had a hard time not listening and got a little testy when people would try to talk to me. This is one that I think will stay with me awhile!

4 stars

****Audible has replaced this version with a version with a supposedly younger sounding narrator but I thought Johnny’s narration was spot on and don’t understand the need to re-do this one!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Crocodile on the Sandbank by, Elizabeth Peters narrated by, Barbara Rosenblat

Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody #1) by, Elizabeth Peters narrated by, Barbara Rosenblat

Oh we've come a long way baby!

Some of the sexist things that came out of Emerson’s mouth:

A woman with an inquiring mind is there such a thing!

Think, Peabody; if you have ever used your brain now is the time.”

“Speak, then. That is the trouble with women, even the best of them.” Emerson added. “They will indulge in vain cries of ‘if only’ and ‘had I known.’

Even though Emerson is at times an arrogant prig I couldn’t help giggling at some of the things he said and Amelia’s reaction to them. Also some of the times she really got him good like when his pocket was smoking too funny. I enjoyed this cute cozy, Amelia Peabody is so much fun and the ending cracked me up!

I read this for bookclub because we wanted something a little lighter this month and this one fit the bill perfectly, I think the discussion will come from the first line of this review, just how far women have come, and that showed in the mystery too I don’t think that exact same story could have been set in current times. Plus you get archeology and Egyptology; mummy’s and murders, this along with Amelia wit, Emerson’s gruffness makes the perfect combination for this fun cozy. I am looking forward to reading the rest of this series!

Barbara Rosenblat narrates this so perfectly, I have listened to her narrate all the Diana Mott Davidson books so who knew she could slip into this somewhat haughty English accent with such ease. What makes it even better is now I have no idea which accent is her “real” accent is she a Brit that can do a great American accent or is she an American who can superbly do a British accent? This just cements her spot on my favorite narrators list.

4 stars

Friday, September 28, 2012

Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth, narrated by,Nicola Barber

Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth, narrated by,Nicola Barber

I was a little thrown at first with this book as I was expecting a straight forward story but what I got was short stories/anecdotes, once I realized that it was easier to enjoy. Some stories are much longer than others like the story of young Mary who is 14 and a prostitute which is one of the best stories, really gives you a feel of the tough times. Or the one of the woman giving birth to her 24th child yes even Jenny asked if it was a typo!

I must say though if you get queasy from talk of bodily functions and very graphic details of childbirth and infections you may want to read this one in print so you can skip over these passages. Especially when she talks about the woman’s body odors and I’m not talking just sweat. She also talks a lot about some of the things she hates about her job in a very matter of fact way , she pulls no punches, she also describes the advances being made in midwifery and anti-(pre-for Americans) natal care.

Some of the women you will feel very sorry for, their lives are tough but some of these women will amaze you like the woman I mentioned above Conchita(*sp audio*) with the 24+ kids but she has the best attitude the first time we meet her she is giving birth to her 24th child the second time she is having her 25th and it doesn’t go as planned but she is still an amazing woman. The stories of the mixed race children especially the story of Ted I thought it was great that he accepted this child as his own and loved him anyway. Some of the Nuns were pretty funny too.

Nicola Barber narration is very well done, going from British to Irish to Cockney accents all seamlessly. CD #6 felt like it ended in the middle of a sentence, but the way some of these stories just trail off I could be wrong about that.

I wanted to read this because it is going to be on PBS Masterpiece as I am a Masterpiece geek .It was a good book but not quite the story/plot I expected, will be curious how they make it into more of a storyline than a bunch of shorter stories.  I will order the paper book for our local library also. I also see this is the first in a trilogy and hope the rest will soon be available on audio! Especially since this one kind of just trailed off like the rest of the short stories.

4 Stars

I received this audiobook from the Audiobookjukebox Solid Gold Reviewer Program & Highbridge Audio for a fair and unbiased review.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall narrated by, Kate Forbes

Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall narrated by, Kate Forbes

I want to put the synopsis here today because as you can see it sounds like a great book , then see my Review:
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Amid the mayhem of the Civil War, Virginia plantation wife Iris Dunleavy is put on trial and convicted of madness. It is the only reasonable explanation the court can see for her willful behavior, so she is sent away to Sanibel Asylum to be restored to a good, compliant woman. Iris knows, though, that her husband is the true criminal; she is no lunatic, only guilty of disagreeing with him on notions of justice, cruelty, and property.

On this remote Florida island, cut off by swamps and seas and military blockades, Iris meets a wonderful collection of residents--- some seemingly sane, some wrongly convinced they are crazy, some charmingly odd, some dangerously unstable. Which of these is Ambrose Weller, the war-haunted Confederate soldier whose memories terrorize him into wild fits that can only be calmed by the color blue, but whose gentleness and dark eyes beckon to Iris?

The institution calls itself modern, but Iris is skeptical of its methods, particularly the dreaded "water treatment." She must escape, but she has found new hope and love with Ambrose. Can she take him with her? If they make it out, will the war have left anything for them to make a life from, back home?

Blue Asylum is a vibrant, beautifully-imagined, absorbing story of the lines we all cross between sanity and madness. It is also the tale of a spirited woman, a wounded soldier, their impossible love, and the undeniable call of freedom.

My Review:

I ended up not liking this book as much as I was hoping to; it was good but not great. I wanted to care more for the characters but they were a little one dimensional. The realization of what it was that sent Ambrose over the edge was the best twist in the book, and made me understand him so much better. But we really never got the entire story on Iris I always felt there was something missing, we get hints and events are alluded to but we never really get her entire story and I think had iris been more fleshed out it would have been a much better book.

I liked the premise of this book as it is post Civil War and how just because you stand up to your husband you can be sent away to an asylum, the cast of characters in the asylum were interesting but we never got to know any of them really well. The author showed how the Civil war divided people’s beliefs and how even if you were on the other side you could still understand some things about the other.

However there is something missing in this story I’m not sure if it is the one-dimensional characters, the unsatisfying ending or that she didn’t give us enough information about the asylum and Iris’ husband and the consequences of what happened at the end of the book. There is one part near the end I rewound twice thinking I’d missed something there is a jump in time here that confused me. The ending was very anti-climatic and felt rushed.

Kate Forbes narrated this book or should I say read this book because that’s kind of how it felt to me it was just a straight reading, every once in a while there was an accent but it wasn’t every time that person spoke so there were inconsistencies in the narration.

This is a quick ok read, but really nothing that is going to stick with me for very long.

2 ½ to 3 Stars

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Gone Girl by, Gillian Flynn narrated by, Kirby Heyborne & Julie Whelan

Gone Girl by, Gillian Flynn narrated by, Kirby Heyborne  &  Julie Whelan

Warning this book may cause whiplash from the crazy twists and turns.

This is a very hard book to review without spoilers because you must experience it for yourself. So I am going to try to give you some thoughts without any spoilers…

It took me a little while to get into this book because the two characters are not very likable, it is told in very well done alternating narratives giving you a background on both of them. Another warning these characters don’t get any more likeable, but once this book grabs you, hang on for dear life because you are in for a heck of a ride!

I was very impressed with Gillian Flynn’s writing and have since gone out and bought her other two books however I will warn you there is A LOT of swearing I don’t mind some but there were times this seemed a bit much . This is NOT a happy book and the conclusion may perplex some but I guess I was satisfied with the ending (No Spoilers).

I listened to this on audio narrated by the wonderful Kirby Heyborne & Julia Whelan who both did a great job embodying these characters.

This isn’t an in depth review because I don’t want to spoil your enjoyment of this story as it unfolds. Would highly recommend this book for bookclubs because you will want to discuss this one when you are done!

4 Stars

Monday, September 24, 2012

January First: A Child's Descent into Madness and Her Father's Struggle to Save Her by, Michael Schofield

January First: A Child's Descent into Madness and Her Father's Struggle to Save Her by, Michael Schofield

I received this book from Netgalley; I requested it because I had seen the documentary about Jani “Born Schizophrenic”. So I was able to really see the behavior while reading this book, the story of Jani is so sad and her parents are handling it the best they can. Yes, there were times when this is a tough read but Michael Schofield is brutally honest in how he deals with Jani, other people, his wife and his son; he is also very honest about the toll it’s taken on his own psyche.

Mental illness is tough in any family or situation but to have a child this young with schizophrenia is beyond words, I honestly don’t know how I would handle it. The fact that Jani is incredibly intelligent gives me hope as it does her parents that one day Jani can have a stable as close to normal life as is possible, not an over medicated zombie.

This is a tough look at a very tough subject but I want to know how it turns out I want to follow Jani’s life and see if what her parents have done for her helps her in the long run. I hope that one day Jani can become a productive member of society and that she is able to have a wonderful life.

See, this book made me care so much about Jani because her father wrote with such raw emotion I was enthralled with this heart-wrenching story. I would highly recommend watching the documentary Born Schizophrenic: January’s Story and following Michael Schofield’s blog  .

I think watching the documentary first was helpful to understanding how Michael and Susan deal with Jani’s behaviors, because it helped me better understand  why they make the choices they do. I also think this book is great because of all the parents out there are dealing with a mental illness in a child they know now they are not alone. When you think about how many other children and families out there are dealing with the same sort of situation, who we don’t know about or where would Jani be if it was 20+ years ago.

I wish Michael & Susan and their family luck in life and the strength to make it through.

4 ½ Stars

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick narrated by, Norman Dietz

Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick narrated by, Norman Dietz
Produced by: Highbridge Audio
Time: 9 Hrs 30 Min.

Synopsis: An attractive an engimatic stranger -- Charlie Beale, a longer recently home from the war in Europe -- wanders into the town of Brownsburg, a sleepy village of only a few hundred people nestled in the Valley of Virginia. He brings with him two suitcases: one contains all his worldly possessions, including a set of butcher knives; the other is full of money.
Charlie quickly finds a job at the local butcher shop and through his work there meets all the townspeople, most notably Sam Haislett, the five-year-old son of the shop's owner, and Sylvan Glass, the beautiful, eccentric teenage bridge of the town's richest man. What no one anticipates is how the interaction of these three people will alter the town forever, and how the passion that flares between Charlie and Sylvan will mark young Sam for life.
Told through the eyes of Sam, now an older man looking back on that time, this much-anticipated second novel from Robert Goolrick is an exciting, erotically charged, and altogether unforgettable story of love gone terrible wrong in a place where once upon a time such things could happen.

My review:

Robert Goolrick is a great writer he knows how to turn a phrase and his descriptions are always lush. I read the Reliable Wife when it first came out it was an odd story but well written and a book that stuck with me much longer than I expected it to and I actually liked The Reliable Wife the longer I was away from it and I think this one may end up the same way. So, I had high hopes for this book expecting and getting Goolricks fantastic writing but the story was a much slower simmer than I expected it to be,  it made me sit on the edge of my seat not from the story really, but in the waiting for the other shoe to drop, you just know something bad is coming.

I am not sure how I felt about Charlie dragging this little boy along with him on his trysts, I don’t understand why he took him along it’s not like it was his child.  I think what he put the little boy through was worse than anything else Charlie did. Another story from this author that I think will stick with me awhile and probably will end up liking more the farther away I am from it. But I think that is the genius of Goolrick he is an amazing writer but his books are never easy but they will touch you and stay with you even if you didn’t totally love the book.

Norman Dietz is the narrator of this one and I’m just not sure what I thought of him; all of his voices sounded like old men, including the little boy and the women. But he fit the book well, so I am not saying he was awful it was just his variations on voices weren’t that different. I hope that makes sense.

If you haven’t read Goolrick’s biography – “The End of the World as we Know It” you won’t see how biographical Goolrick’s work is. I think to really “get” his fiction you should read his biography.

3 ½ Stars

I received this book from Audiojukebox Solid Gold Reviewer Program for a fair and honest review.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Roots of the Olive Tree by, Courtney Miller Santo narrated by, Karen White

The Roots of the Olive Tree by, Courtney Miller Santo narrated by, Karen White

This is a story of family, resentments, age and secrets. It shows how resentments affect generation after generation and in this family there are 5 generations of first born women with a 6th generation on the way, the oldest being Anna who is 112  and strives to become the oldest living human being, especially since she still has her mind and her body is still pretty spry too. Then there is Dr. Amrit who is on a mission to find out more about super-agers and thinks he has hit pay dirt with the The Keller women but with his research secrets are uncovered that the women would all rather stayed buried.

I really liked this story even though the ending was a bit rushed and not as satisfying as I had hoped.  The Keller women are not always likable but you still can’t help falling in love with them, flaws and all. Every mother and daughter has had their share of troubles some more than others, however they all still live in the same house which has become tense as these women move about their days without ever really connecting with each other. The quote below summed up perfectly what it was like for them all to live together.

"I’d put more distance between us. Having us here, always together hasn’t allowed for any fondness to grow between us."

 But with the youngest coming back home with problems of her own and Dr. Amrit’s research dislodging lost (or best forgotten) memories these women are all doing some soul searching.

Karen White’s narration was fantastic all her different voices and accents were spot on; you always knew exactly who was talking.  Her voice took on so many different characteristics of each of the women as they told their story and her delivery held my interest all the way through.

I thought this was a great first novel it is set in California but has a southern fiction feel to it so I think if you are a fan of Southern Fiction I would suggest giving this one a try.

4 stars