Wednesday, January 29, 2014

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

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

A lot of this review is just my thoughts while listening to the book…

This book was so hard to put down between the great story and fabulous narration by Edoardo Ballerini I wanted the world to go away so I just listen without interruptions.

There were times this book made my blood boil , these sickening men the way they treated and talked to Rachel and she just had to take it but I loved that the author let us know that our champion  Matthew was feeling the same way right along with me! Matthew is so far ahead of his time and has his own mind and doesn’t go along with the hive mind thinking of this witch hunt. I have all these feelings about Rachel’s innocence but when she asks Matthew to hold her hand my mind says, but, but what if she is evil?!!? Great writing plus the hesitation the narrator (Ballerini) puts into Matthews’s voice had me on the edge of my seat. Matthew getting the whipping just broke my heart and made me sick to my stomach but it was an amazing scene.

I can’t stand this Reverend Jerusalem the minute I hear his voice the hair on the back of neck stands up if she really is a witch she should smite him! And Bidwell too he is such an ass!

There are times I feel so bad for Rachel it makes me want to cry and I am not sure I would have such strong emotions without the fantastic narration.

I was a bit shocked by a certain scene with a horse.

From English gentleman, to slaves, to women, to Indian Chiefs and everything in between Edoardo Ballerini is so absolutely amazing! Ballerini has earned a spot in my favorite narrators list his narration of this book was absolutely amazing.  I will listen to anything he narrates!

I don’t know why this has been shelved in horror because as usual the demons and devils are just good old human beings. This book is not paranormal, fantasy or horror it is just a good old fashioned mystery.

This was a long story (31 hours on audio) but it kept me rapt the entire time it never bogged down and I enjoyed every word. This was such an interesting look at life at the end of the 1600’s, the superstitions that ruled people’s hearts and the recent fever deaths that still remain in people’s memory. I will definitely continue to listen to this series especially since Edoardo Ballerini narrates them all!

I truly enjoyed this book and look forward to more from this author and narrator.

4 1/2 Stars
5 star Narration

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd narrated by, Jenna Lamia & Adepero Oduye

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd narrated by, Jenna Lamia & Adepero Oduye

I maybe shouldn’t have started this one so soon after finishing The Wedding Gift because there were some similarities, but this book was different in that Sarah Grimke was a real person. The other similarity between The Wedding Gift and this book was the slave, Handful, was always hoping to escape she and her mama saved money so that they could finally get away and be free. But of course things don’t work out as hoped.

Sarah was so far ahead of her time that when she was gifted a slave on her 12th birthday she asked her daddy for remuneration paper so she could free said slave when she turned of age. As she grew older she was also not only an abolitionist but also suffragette at this time in our country's history these two and hand-in-hand.

There were times in this book when I wanted something happy to happen, just anything even a tiny thing but it never did. But this is probably more true to the real circumstances of these women’s lives.

I love Sue Monk Kidd’s writing and this was a good story if not at all happy. This book also had real people so I had a lot of fun researching after I was done. I loved the alternating chapters between Sarah & Handful because sometimes the same event was seen so differently from each woman’s viewpoint it was very fascinating.

The narration by Jenna Lamia & Adepero Oduye was absolutely spot on. As always Jenna was great as Sarah and new to me narrator Adepero Oduye was fantastic as Handful, I would definitely listen to more books by her. These two were great choices for these two women and all the secondary characters.

Fans of southern fiction won’t want to miss this one. I also learned a lot about Sarah Grimke that I never knew because I had never heard of her and that is sad because she did some amazing work.

4 Stars

Full Disclosure: I did receive an early review copy of this from Netgalley but then I saw that Jenna Lamia was one of the narrators so waited and bought the audiobook.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

To the End of the Land by, David Grossman narrated by, Arthur Morey

To the End of the Land by, David Grossman narrated by, Arthur Morey

This book was tough for me the story felt like it had ADD, I had a hard time with the cadence or flow of the text it was like she spoke and thought so fast it was hard to keep up especially as her thoughts raced from one thing to the next. I also didn’t really like these people much Ora was just a bit too odd for me, if not a bit crazy. I can see how some people may like this book the writing is beautiful but I felt like I was slogging through it most of the time and just wanted it to be over.

Arthur Morey was not the right choice for the narration of this book, this should have had a female narrator and I think Shohreh Aghdashloo would have been perfect. It was off-putting to have a man talking about her son suckling on her teet, also he has a very strong (in my mind) New York/New England accent and this book screamed for a Israeli/middle eastern accent and I am just guessing here but I doubt his pronunciations were correct. (and if they were correct they sounded bad without an accent). I will say I would listen to Morey again but not on a book where he is playing an Israeli woman. This was just plain bad casting and I think I would have enjoyed this book more with a different narrator. Although I did try to give up the audio and read the book but I couldn’t find the cadence of Ora’s racing mind.

I only finished this book because it was a bookclub book I would have DNF’d if it hadn’t been but I ended up reading some of it in print ,listening to some on audio and skimming some, and at the end a huge sigh of thank god that’s over!

Above are my thoughts on the book but this was a bookclub book that made for a great discussion and others in the bookclub loved this book, so even though this isn’t a favorite I would recommend it for bookclubs.

2 ½ Stars

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher, #1) by Kerry Greenwood, narrated by, Stephanie Daniel

Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher, #1)  by Kerry Greenwood,  narrated by, Stephanie Daniel

The last thing I needed was another series but that is what I got with this book, I really enjoyed the character of Phryne, she’s tough and funny and a sexual being( when you get towards the end you will understand this statement)  who was way ahead of her time. This is the best kind of cozy with historical fiction thrown in. This series is set 1920’s and Phryne is bored with being a London socialite and at a party is asked by a gentleman to find out what is going on with his daughter in Australia so off she goes and so begins our adventure into the seedy world of cocaine and murder.

Sometimes a person forgets how long cocaine has been prevalent and how long it has ruined lives, what I found interesting is this wasn’t the downtrodden these were rich people addicted to cocaine and getting it right from their friendly neighborhood pharmacist.  Along with this there is a story about abortion too, this book and its characters seemed far ahead of their time yet at the same time you could tell the sensibilities were right for the time period.

The mystery was almost secondary to the fun cast of characters, although I did enjoy the mystery; I hope to see more of Dot, Sasha, and Cec & Bert.

 I also plan on watching this episode of the TV show soon and see how it compares to the book.

I listened to this on audio narrated by, Stephanie Daniel and was totally swept up in her narration every accent was superb and everyone had their own voice, I am so glad she narrated the rest of this series. Then this morning I heard that Stephanie Daniel passed away last week and was very saddened since I had just discovered her wonderful talent but I will honor her memory by listening to the rest of this series and anything else she has narrated. RIP Miss Daniel thank you for sharing your beautiful voice the world.

If you are a fan of cozies or the 1920’s give this one a try.

4 Stars

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Fear Nothing , by Lisa Gardner

Fear Nothing , by Lisa Gardner

This book definitely had the creep factor that Lisa Gardner writes so well and it is now the second creepiest after Say Goodbye.

I love that DD has grown so much as a person I've always loved the writing of this series but DD has always annoyed me but the last couple books , well, since she got pregnant there has been a humanizing of her and I am glad for that. This one gave us a raw, injured DD and we saw a softer more vulnerable side to her which I enjoyed immensely.

This story kept me guessing and had some great red herrings including one I made up in head about the Warden that never did come to pass but I still think Gardner wanted me to suspect what I did. (*no spoilers*)

She also explores nature vs. nurture if everyone in your family is a psychopath, even though you didn’t grow up with them will it make you one too? When your father was a serial killer who kidnapped and tortured young women then buried them under your house, then your sister murders a child when she is just a child plus has killed a couple guards so is in prison with no hope of parole, but you were a baby these things shouldn’t have to be you should they? Adeline was the lucky one adopted by a doctor who really did help her so much and kept her from her past but when he dies… Adeline ends up making decisions that will change everything.

 I was also fascinated by the Adeline’s condition; she doesn’t feel pain which sounds good on the surface but as Adeline shows us it’s not a gift but a curse because you have to live very, very carefully. Adeline has to check her body every night because an infection she can’t feel will kill her. I can’t imagine breaking a bone and not feeling it and just going on with your day.

Gardner also goes into the crazy murderabilia business where people buy letters and items from horrific crimes & criminals. Google it , it is more macabre than any book could ever be.  I didn’t realize just how much there really was out there till I googled this to see what the correct spelling was, it is frightening and very odd!

All in all this is another great book from Gardner and I am happy to report DD is finally growing on me and I am liking her more and more. Another great read from Lisa Gardner! Highly recommend.

5 Stars

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

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Favorite Books of 2013

I read so many great books this year it was very hard to narrow down the lists so here they are.
Happy reading. (links will take you to the review when available)

5 Star Reads: (In no particular order)

Calling Me Home by, Jule Kibler narrated by, Bahni Turpin & Lorna Raver
Fever by, Mary Beth Keane
Whistling Past the Graveyard by, Susan Crandall narrated by, Amy Rubinate
Looking for Me by, Beth Hoffman
Songs of Willow Frost: A Novel by, Jamie Ford
Code Name Verity by, Elizabeth Wein narrated by, Morven Christie,& Lucy Gaskell
The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion: A Novel by, Fannie Flagg narrated by, Author
The Wedding Gift by, Marlen Suyapa Bodden narrated by, Jenna Lamia, & January LaVoy
The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel by, Neil Gaiman narrated by, author
Frost Burned by, Patricia Briggs

2 Books that will be released in 2014:

Evergreen by, Rebecca Rasmussen
Lost Lake by, Sarah Addison Allen

5 Star Re-reads: (Books I’ve read in the past that I re-read on audio)

Daughter of the Forest (The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Book 1) by, Juliet Marillier narrated by, Terry Donnelly
Dragon Flight by, Anne McCaffrey narrated by, Dick Hill

4 ½ Star books:

Out of the Easy by, Ruta Sepetys
Orphan Train by, Christina Baker Kline
Touch & Go by, Lisa Gardner
My One Square Inch of Alaska: A Novel by Sharon Short
Six Years by, Harlan Coben narrated by, Scott Brick
Half-Forgotten Song by, Katherine Webb
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book I: The Mysterious Howling
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book II: The Hidden Gallery        
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book III: The Unseen Guest #3 by, Maryrose Wood narrated by, Katherine Kellgren
The Asylum by, John Harwood narrated by, Rosalyn Landor
Is This Tomorrow: A Novel by, Caroline Leavitt narrated by, Xe Sands
The Firebird by, Susanna Kearsley narrated by, Katherine Kellgren
Back to Christmas by, Dan Canfield

Some 4 Star books that deserve honorable mentions:

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini narrated by,Shohreh Aghdashloo & Navid Negahban
The Storycatcher by, Ann Hite narrated by, Allyson Johnson
A Bitter Veil by, Libby Fischer Hellmann narrated by, Diane Piron Gelman
Frozen by, Mary Casanova
Safe House by Chris Ewan narrated by, Simon Vance
Life After Life by, Kate Atkinson
Little Bee by, Chris Cleave narrated by, Anne Flosnik