Monday, April 28, 2014

Rage Against the Dying (Brigid Quinn #1) by Becky Masterman narrated by, Judy Kaye ~~ Armchair Audies

Rage Against the Dying (Brigid Quinn #1) by Becky Masterman narrated by, Judy Kaye ~~ Armchair Audies
2014 Audie Nominee Mystery Category
Length: 11 hrs and 17 mins
Publisher: Macmillan Audio

I really enjoyed this book, even though I didn’t understand Brigid’s decisions some of the times, I really liked her and will definitely read the second book in this series. I was impressed to see this was this author’s first book and think she has a good career in front of her.

From the moment we meet retired FBI Agent Brigid Quinn we know she is no shrinking violet ready to buy a walker and toddle on into retirement, oh no Brigid Quinn is a badass no matter what her age is.  There are times though that I was wondering about her decisions, there is actually many of them that make you go hmmm, however, I needed to know what happened next, I also needed to know why she made the decisions she did, there had to be a reason behind it.  The more I learned about Brigid and why she does the things she does made me like her more and more as the book went on.

All the secondary characters are fully fleshed out and I really hope that certain people will be back, okay that was ambiguous I know, but there are characters you need to worry about to enjoy this book and I don’t want to spoil it for you.

This book is a thrill ride from beginning to end, it is a hard book to put down I didn’t ever want to stop listening. It starts out with a bang and doesn’t let up to the crazy conclusion. It kept me guessing all the way through I never had an inkling who the serial killer was and the reveal was edge of your seat screaming at Brigid get out of there, get back up, Ahhhh look out!

Judy Kaye’s narration was fabulous all of the characters and accents were very well done. She did a few different accents which felt authentic especially since the main accents were male characters it was very impressive. She brought Brigid to life flawlessly and I hope that she will continue to narrate this series because I will keep listening, I see she narrates Sue Grafton’s series and I have been meaning to re-read those so may have to start them on audio.
 This one is definitely a contender for winner in this category but I am only half done so we will see. 

If you haven’t already surmised I truly enjoyed this book and look forward to this series continuing. This would be a full 5 stars but there are times you have to suspend a little belief (which stems from Brigid’s decisions) but this is a solid 4 ½ Stars.

4 ½ Stars

5 Star narration

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats by, Kristen Iversen

Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats by, Kristen Iversen

This was a fascinating look at the Rocky Flats, Colorado plant that built the “triggers” for the atomic bomb, and produced a lot of plutonium waste that affected people’s health that lived around the plant. However according to the government everything is fine and no one should worry.

Kristen grew up next to the plant though neither of her parents worked at the plant, plenty of her friends’ parents did, plus she rode horse and played within close proximity to the plant never realizing it would affect her health years later. That is the scary part about this contamination your symptoms don’t show up immediately it takes decades in some people for the cancers to show up.

At first I was a little put off by her family story since neither of her parents worked at the plant so I didn’t really understand why there was so much about her fathers alcoholism but then she said ‘I couldn’t tell one story without the other because as big as Rocky Flats was in my growing up so was fathers alcoholism they went hand in hand in my memories.” (This is paraphrased) but it made me understand why the two stories needed to be told.

What I found most upsetting in reading this book was; the government cover-ups that went on for decades under the shroud of national security, the tons and tons of missing plutonium, the barrels of waste rusting and leaking into the ground, and that this place even after “clean-up” has no warning signs for people using the reclaimed land as a park. It also amazes me how stupid we were about the effects of plutonium that they built this plant 15 miles from the huge metropolis of Denver. And the lies that the DoE was checking on the levels out there and come to find out that the company that owns the plant send them a memo/report saying everything is fine and we have checked and it was all lies but was rubber stamped by the people that were supposed to be protecting the peoples’ health.

The sad part is Rocky Flats is in no way alone there are numerous plants around the country with these same problems and when you look into nuclear power plants you open up another scary can of worms about the waste from those too.

I think this and books like it are very important to read and research for yourself. I highly recommend this book.

4 Stars

Some other observations, articles, videos & documentary

And because I am a nerd I have watched several documentaries about atomic waste, there are a lot of viewpoints out there so you can pick a side. I think it’s clear what side I am on, and living in my state this isn’t a popular side to be on. Just recently in the local news was this article “Radioactivedump site found in remote North Dakota town.” And of course there is no clean-up fund people are making jokes out of it and no one seems to be telling the truth about how this will affect peoples’ health in the future, and is this the only site that is out there because no one wants the waste?  But I am not trying to tell you how to believe I am just giving my 2 cents after reading this book and the things it made me wonder about and research.

Here is the author talking about her book and being downwind of Rocky Flats

Watch the Rocky Flats Legacy Documentary HERE: it is only 20 min. long and well worth your time.

Monday, April 21, 2014

He's Gone by Deb Caletti narrated by, Cassandra Campbell~Armchair Audies

Audies Nominee for Mystery
He's Gone by Deb Caletti narrated by, Cassandra Campbell
Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
Publisher: Tantor Audio

My Review:
This is a quiet, slow moving mystery that felt like more of a deconstruction of a marriage than a mystery. I kept waiting for a Gone Girl Twist that never happened. After Dani’s husband goes missing she goes through every minute their relationship and realizes it wasn’t the great love story she thought it was. And honestly the more she reveals about who Ian is I can’t help thinking why the hell would you want him back anyway! Plus Dani’s self-deprecation and whining got on my nerves, she wasn’t a very likable character either.

I’m not sure I liked this book, but I didn’t hate it I just didn’t feel like it was a mystery. Yes there is the mystery of what happened to Ian but that feels almost secondary to Dani going through their entire relationship with a fine toothed comb.

Cassandra Campbell’s narration was really good, she had just the right amount of emotions in her voice and when Dani is feeling overwhelmed and frantic the narration conveys this superbly. As always Cassandra’s narration is very well done.

I’m sorry but this book was forgettable and the reveal of what happened to Ian felt rushed and didn’t have any impact on me at all. I wanted to be shocked or even the least bit interested and it just didn’t happen.

2 ½ star book
4 ½ star narration

Thursday, April 17, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Stars

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

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Stars

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

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 ½ Stars

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Savage Girl By, Jean Zimmerman Narrated by, Edoardo Ballerini

Savage Girl By, Jean Zimmerman Narrated by, Edoardo Ballerini

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 ½ Stars

5 Star Narration