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