Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Favorite Books of 2014

My Favorite Books of 2014

(Some links will take you to my library blog or Goodreads for my reviews)

102 books Read ( my list on Goodreads) -75 were Audiobooks (890 Hours) –While putting this list together I notice I really need to listen to more male narrations I am going to try to listen to more male narrators in 2015

Narrator of the Year:

January LaVoy - I just discovered this wonderful narrator this year with the books Dollbaby and Missing You. I love her range of voices she can sound like a child and an old woman all within minutes I will always choose a book in audio if she is the narrator she quickly shot to the top of my must listen list. Here is her list on audible 

5 Star Reads:

Dollbaby by, Laura Lane McNeal narrated by, January LaVoy

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

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon narrated by, Cassandra Campbell & Kathe Mazur

Missing You by Harlan Coben narrated by, January LaVoy

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Euphoria by Lily King narrated by, Simon Vance & Xe Sands

Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander #8) by Diana Gabaldon narrated by, Davina Porter

Unfit by Lara Cleveland Torgesen

Sunrise (Ashfall #3) by, Mike Mullin

Fear Nothing by, Lisa Gardner

Night Broken (Mercy Thompson #8) by Patricia Briggs

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

2015 release 5 Stars:

Rebel Queen by, Michelle Moran

A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers by, Hazel Gaynor

Honorable mentions: (books I enjoyed that stayed with me):

Rage Against the Dying: A Thriller (Brigid Quinn #1) by Becky Masterman narrated by, Judy Kaye

The Book of Obeah (Crossroads #1) by Sandra Carrington-Smith Narrated by, Dave Fennoy

Speaks the Nightbird (Matthew Corbett #1) by Robert R. McCammon, narrated by, Edoardo Ballerini

The Legendary Adventures of the Pirate Queens by James Grant Goldin narrated by, Shiromi Arserio

Blunder Woman written and narrated by, Tanya Eby

Wild Rover No More: Being the Last Recorded Account of the Life & Times of Jacky Faber by, LA Meyer Narrated by, Katherine Kellgren

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng narrated by, Cassandra Campbell

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune By, Bill Dedman & Paul Clark Newell Jr. narrated by, Kimberly Farr

The Burning Room (Harry Bosch #19) by Michael Connelly narrated by, Titus Welliver

A Sudden Light by Garth Stein

You're Next by, Gregg Hurwitz narrated by, Scott Brick

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Favorite Audiobook of 2014 ~ Dollbaby , by Laura Lane McNeal narrated by, January LaVoy

This was my favorite audiobook of 2014

Dollbaby , by Laura Lane McNeal narrated by, January LaVoy

Warning: You will fall in love with the characters in this book.

This book made me laugh and made me cry. 11 year old Ibby’s (Liberty) father has died and her mother (can I put quotes around mother to let you know what I think of her) drops her off at her grandmother Fannie’s house the problem is Ibby and Miss Fannie have never met, and this so called mother doesn’t even walk her to the door to introduce them just drops her off in the street and drives away. If you can’t tell by this paragraph I don’t think very highly of Vidrine’s so called motherly love. Especially the “gift” she wants Ibby to give to her grandmother, Vidrine is just a spiteful woman.

Luckily for Ibby she is going into a house full of women that will love her and take care of her, the first person she meets is Dollbaby and her momma Queenie who work for her grandmother Fannie and Ibby doesn’t realize her grandmother is just as scared as she is that they won’t like each other, but Miss Fannie is a character and luckily they do hit it off even if it is strained for a little while. Miss Fannie is an interesting character strong yet fragile I laughed when she was helping the bookie then cried when she had her spell on Ibby’s birthday she was such an interesting character that has been through some awful things and when we learn how Queenie came to work for her and how she got her nickname it really gives insight into both of these women.

The book starts out in 1964, 3 days before Ibby’s 12th birthday and continues on till she is in college. Now, you know what race relations were like at this time in our country and even though this is New Orleans there is still certain things that can’t be done, even though Ibby is friends with Doll & Queenie’s family when she is out alone with any of them things are said and done that will make you cringe and hope that in this day and age things like that don’t happen anymore.

There is one other character that I did not like and that was neighbor girl Annabelle what a little brat who grew up to be a spoiled rotten brat (ok not the b-word I was going to use but you get my drift) but karma oh wonderful karma with a little push from Miss Fannie and Miss Ibby she does get her comeuppance and that made me laugh and cheer!

I truly loved the characters in this book Doll and Queenie are great ladies and I loved how loyal and loving they were towards both Miss Fannie and Ibby even from the first time meeting them. This is a story about family and acceptance and is a truly wonderful read.

Narrator January LaVoy did a fantastic job of bringing these characters to life I loved how she voiced Ibby at age 11 sounding like a little girl and voiced her differently as she got older but yet you knew it was Ibby talking, everyone had their own unique voice, LaVoy’s narration truly added to my experience of this book.

If you are a fan of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt or Secret Life of Bees or just southern fiction in general give this one a try.

5 Stars

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Wild Rover No More: Being the Last Recorded Account of the Life & Times of Jacky Faber by, LA Meyer Narrated by, Katherine Kellgren

Wild Rover No More: Being the Last Recorded Account of the Life & Times of Jacky Faber by, LA Meyer Narrated by, Katherine Kellgren

Well Played Mr. Meyer you made me laugh, you made me cry and gave Jacky the sendoff she deserved!

 Great narration by Katherine Kellgren, as always, but this time she had to do a Russian accent and sing in that accent, you are an amazing talent Ms. Kellgren!

I don’t want to spoil this book for those of you that have read the entire series, so I will just say I enjoyed this book more than Boston Jacky and it was an excellent end to a fabulous series that will forever be a go-to book for me and I know I will listen to this series again and again.

I am sad that the series is over but am glad that Mr. Meyer had the chance to finish the book before he passed away and that we won’t end up with another author coming in and ruining his work. I am so glad your memory will live on in the wonderful characters you have written, RIP Mr. Meyer.

5 Stars

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers by, Hazel Gaynor

A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers by, Hazel Gaynor

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, this was a very interesting look at a sad time in London history when there were many homeless children who would sell flowers and watercress on the streets by day and sleep in doorways by night. Some did have families but going there and being beaten was worse than sleeping on the streets.

We first meet , sisters Florrie and Rosie who is almost blind and Florrie has a problem with her leg they live with their parents, a sick mother and abusive father, they sell their violets and watercress in the markets when their mother dies and the father is not someone you'd want to be around, then the father dies too, that is when Rosie and Florrie spend the most time sleeping on the streets. Rosie and Florrie are inseparable, Florrie always tells Rosie don't let go of my hand no matter what don't let go until the worst happens and one day Rosie’s hand slips out of Florrie’s and she's gone.

In the second part of the story we meet Tilly we are not sure what exactly happened to Tilly’s sister but we know whatever it was Tilly was blamed for it and that life at home is not happy at all, so she seeks a position as a housemother at the Violet house home for orphan watercress and flower girls.

We also meet Mr. Shaw the benefactor of the Training Home for Watercress and Violet girls where he takes them in, gives them a home and teaches them to make silk flowers to sell, including making thousands and thousands of roses for the first Queen Alexandra Rose Day. Mr. Shaw also takes Florrie in after she loses Rosie and gives her a purpose and a home. In a twist of coincidence Tilly ends up in the room Florrie had been in and finds her journals detailing her life-long search for her sister Rosie. We do not find out what happened to Rosie until much later in the book.

This book is sad and hopeful all at the same time we get to see Tilly blossom and become stronger with every step she makes away from her home, she becomes a much loved housemother at Violet House, she also enjoys her time at the Clacton Orphanage and starts to feel at home and comfortable in her own skin. Florrie’s story is also sad but there is hope there too.

 I don’t want to give anymore away than I already have, this was such an interesting story I never knew about these flower girls. This book is fiction but I was able to find out more about the real Flower Girls home and the Alexandra Rose Charities that truly exist but were elaborated upon for the book. The story of these 3 girls and also Mr. Shaw’s story were quite fascinating and I would highly recommend this well written book that you won’t be able to put down and will end up reading into the wee hours of the night!

This is the second book by Hazel Gaynor I have thoroughly enjoyed and I look forward to reading anything else she writes.

5 Stars

I was lucky enough to get an early review copy of this book from Edelweiss and the Publisher for a fair and honest review.

This is an interesting link to the actual training home for watercress and flower girls

Here is the history of the Alexandra Rose Charities starting with the event that took place in the book in 1912. (the book is fiction but so well researched )