Apr 182019
 

Melinda and the Wild West: The Award Winning Original Version

Melinda And The Wild West by Linda Weaver Clarke
A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho #1
Narrated by Carolyn Kashner

In 1896 Melinda Gamble a very elegant, very naïve young woman from Boston decides to give up her life of monotonous comfort for the turbulent uncertainty of the still untamed Wild West. Driven by her intense desire to make a difference in the world, Melinda takes a job as a schoolteacher in the small town of Paris, Idaho, where she comes face-to-face with a frightening bank robber, a vicious grizzly bear, and an intense blizzard that leaves her clinging to her life. But it is a ruggedly handsome and very mysterious stranger who challenges Melinda with the one thing for which she was least prepared love.

Thoughts
I usually don’t read books set in this time period but I’m a fan of this author so when she offered a copy for a reveiw, I decided to listen to it. It’s the first in this series, and I loved it.

The story is about Melinda, who moves to Idaho (to become a teacher) which is nothing like her home in Boston. She encounters all kinds of hardships and is a bit out of her element, but she conquers her fears and begins to feel like this is the life she is meant to live.

There is adventure, scary moments, excitement, and love. Melinda has a student named Jenny whose mother died years ago. She was well taken care of by her father but her previous teacher and her fellow students mistreated her.  Melinda changes that.

The narration was great. I really enjoyed this book and will start the 2nd book in the series soon.

Thanks to the author for this review book!

Apr 122019
 

Audiobook Image

Always by Sarah Jio
Narrated by Brittany Pressley

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 8 hours and 52 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Random House Audio
Audible.com Release Date: February 7, 2017
Language: English, English
ASIN: B01MT8Z7YV

While enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner with her fiance, Ryan, at one of Seattle’s chicest restaurants, Kailey Crane can’t believe her good fortune: She has a great job as a writer for the Herald and is now engaged to a guy who is perfect in nearly every way. As they leave the restaurant, Kailey spies a thin, bearded homeless man on the sidewalk. She approaches him to offer up her bag of leftovers, and is stunned when their eyes meet, then stricken to her very core: The man is the love of her life, Cade McAllister.

When Kailey met Cade ten years ago, their attraction was immediate and intense everything connected and felt “right.” But it all ended suddenly, leaving Kailey devastated. Now the poor soul on the street is a faded version of her former beloved: His weathered and weary face is as handsome as Kailey remembers, but his mind has suffered in the intervening years. Over the next few weeks, Kailey helps Cade begin to piece his life together, something she initially keeps from Ryan. As she revisits her long-ago relationship, Kailey realizes that she must decide exactly what and whom she wants.

Alternating between the past and the present, Always is a beautifully unfolding exploration of a woman faced with an impossible choice, a woman who discovers what she’s willing to save and what she will sacrifice for true love.

Thoughts
This book was wonderful! The story started with a twist and kept the excitement going until the end. I liked all the characters. One of them started out on my “dont like” list but by the end of the book he was taken off and joined the others. I had his character all wrong.

The story seemed so real and I loved seeing what was going to happen between the characters next. I loved the ending, it was what I was hoping for.

The narration was great, Brittany’s voice made it an easy listen.

A small amount of the reviews for this book were negative, but l am among those who loved it and it will probably be going on my top 10 books of 2019 list.

Apr 052019
 

Never Let You Go

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens
Narrated by Rachel Fulginiti

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 11 hours and 56 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Audible.com Release Date: March 14, 2017

Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband, Andrew, was sent to jail and Lindsey started over with a new life.

Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with her own business and a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When Andrew is finally released from prison, Lindsey believes she has cut all ties and left the past behind her. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her, tracking her every move. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But has he really changed? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?

Thoughts
I loved the authors first three books (5* ratings for me) and when I saw this one I thought it sounded really good so got the audio.

While I did enjoy the book, it just didn’t grab me like the other 3 Stevens books that I’ve read. The story was good, the characters good, the narration good, but something was lacking. It just wasn’t as  white knuckle as the others. It had some suspense, but it was much tamer in this story. Still, I did enjoy it so I’d give it a 4*.

Mar 282019
 

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll
Narrated by Elizabeth Knowelden

Listening Length: 8 hours and 24 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Audible.com Release Date: October 1, 2017
Whispersync for Voice: Ready
Language: English
ASIN: B074TTKX3C

What would it take to make you intervene?

When Ella Longfield overhears two attractive young men flirting with teenage girls on a train, she thinks nothing of it—until she realises they are fresh out of prison and her maternal instinct is put on high alert. But just as she’s decided to call for help, something stops her. The next day, she wakes up to the news that one of the girls—beautiful, green-eyed Anna Ballard—has disappeared.

A year later, Anna is still missing. Ella is wracked with guilt over what she failed to do, and she’s not the only one who can’t forget. Someone is sending her threatening letters—letters that make her fear for her life.

Then an anniversary appeal reveals that Anna’s friends and family might have something to hide. Anna’s best friend, Sarah, hasn’t been telling the whole truth about what really happened that night—and her parents have been keeping secrets of their own.

Someone knows where Anna is—and they’re not telling. But they are watching Ella.

Thoughts
This was a good book and it kept me listening to find out what happened to Anna. The author did a good job of making a few of the characters seem like they could be the quilty one so it was hard to figure out who actually did it. When I thought I had it all figured out, I found out I was wrong. It ended up being one of the characters I had never even suspected.

The book switches back and forth with a few different POV’s and I liked that aspect of it. The story takes place in England which I didn’t know until I started listening. The narrator did a great job.

The book is full of suspicions, regret, guilt, fear.  And finally, closure.

Mar 092019
 


Rapid Falls by Amber Cowie
Narrated by Kate Marcin

Audible AudiobookListening Length: 7 hours and 38 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Audible.com
Release Date: December 1, 2018

Forgive and forget? In this twisty thriller of psychological suspense, the past and present collide for two sisters who survived a tragedy – and must now survive the truth behind it.

It’s been twenty years since Cara’s boyfriend died in a horrible accident and her sister, Anna, went to prison. The tragedy has become a local legend, but Cara has moved past her grief to have a successful career and a happy family. Pity about Anna. Recently released from incarceration, she’s struggling with addiction, guilt, and shame – a shattered life. Cara’s forgiveness seems to be the only thing that helps her pick up the pieces.

But as Anna pulls herself together, her memories of that night on the bridge start to come into focus. And few of them match her sister’s.

As past secrets unfold and nothing is what it seems anymore, Anna desperately searches for the truth. But what if Cara doesn’t want her to find it?

Thoughts
I’ve had this book on my Kindle for a while and when I saw Cheryl @ CMash Reads post a review of it and read how much she loved it, I decided to start it as soon as I finished the book that I was listening to at the time.

I loved this book. It was interesting from the first paragraph when Cara is an adult, 20 years after the accident. It then switches to the past, before the accident. I was glued to the story, and with every surprise I was more and more hooked.

The characters where very well written, they acted the way most teens would act in those situations. The journey to find out what really happened that night was one surprise after another and so much happened throughout the book that I was excited find out what was going to happen next.

This is a book that I won’t forget for a very long time. Lots of twists and surprises and an ending I did not see coming.

The narrator did a great job and I’d love to listen to more from her.

Feb 082019
 

Nell and Lady by Ashley Farley
Narrated by Shannon McManus

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 8 hours and 21 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Audible.com Release Date: September 18, 2018

A heart-stirring novel of family and forgiveness from bestselling author Ashley Farley.

In her grand home in Charleston, Willa Bellemore raised two girls during the tumultuous 1970s. One was her daughter, Lady. The other was Lady’s best friend, Nell – adopted after the sudden, heartbreaking death of her mother, the Bellemores’ beloved maid. Willa showered Nell with love and support, all the while ignoring the disdainful whispers of her neighbors. After all, they were family. Nell and Lady were sisters at heart – sisters who vowed to never let anything come between them.

Then, on the night of Lady’s sixteenth birthday, something went terribly wrong, sparking painful secrets and bitter resentments that went unspoken for three decades.

Now Willa is dying, and Lady and Nell – each with a teenager of her own – are brought together after all these years. It’s Willa’s last wish. The time has come to confront what happened on that fateful night. But it may take a tragic twist of fate to reconcile the past and come to terms with the true meaning of family.

Thoughts
Wow, I’m on a roll this year with books that have characters that react very different than I would and/or keep secrets that tear relationships apart. But again, the story was good enough to make the book a hit with me.

Nell & Lady were very different, but they were best friends from an early age. Something happens one day that tears that friendship apart which is sad, and if they had just been honest with each other about what happened the friction could been avoided. Guess it wouldn’t have made such an interesting story though.

This book is full of good times and bad times, family love and a few surprises. I really liked the ending. If you like tense moments, suprises, and reading how a broken family finds it’s way to healing, check this book out.

The narrator did a great job!

Jan 312019
 

Trail of Broken Wings audiobook cover art

Trail of Broken Wings
By: Sejal Badani
Narrated by: Karen Peakes
Length: 12 hrs and 48 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 05-01-15
Language: English
Publisher: Brilliance Audio

When her father falls into a coma, Indian American photographer Sonya reluctantly returns to the family she’d fled years before. Since she left home, Sonya has lived on the run, free of any ties, while her soft-spoken sister, Trisha, has created a perfect suburban life, and her ambitious sister, Marin, has built her own successful career. But as these women come together, their various methods of coping with a terrifying history can no longer hold their memories at bay.

Buried secrets rise to the surface as their father – the victim of humiliating racism and perpetrator of horrible violence – remains unconscious. As his condition worsens, the daughters and their mother wrestle with private hopes for his survival or death, as well as their own demons and buried secrets.

Told with forceful honesty, Trail of Broken Wings reveals the burden of shame and secrets, the toxicity of cruelty and aggression, and the exquisite, liberating power of speaking and owning truth.

Thoughts
I absolutely loved the book The Storyteller’s Secret  by this author so I decided to listen to this one too, which is her first book.

This is a semi hard review for me to write because I liked the story but the reactions of the charachers in almost every situation aggravated me. They avoided telling each other their true thoughts and acted like everything was fine when it most definitely wasn’t, they did things behind each other’s backs and kept secrets that would have probably made things better between them.

I don’t want to go into much detail of the story and give spoilers, but this family was messed up and a lot happens in the book.

Like I said, the story was good and kept me anxious to know how it would all turn out but I wanted to shake the sisters and their mother most of the way through the book.

Even though I struggled with the attitudes of the characters, I enjoyed the story and am glad I read it. I would read more from this author.

Dec 312018
 

Hidden Secrets by Carolyn Brown
Narrated by Shannon McManus

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 6 hours and 44 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Audible.com Release Date: January 9, 2017
Whispersync for Voice: Ready
Language: English, English
ASIN: B01N9OOXCJ

Kim Brewster’s ill-fated marriage was annulled so quickly that she thought she could keep the whole thing a secret…until she found out she was pregnant. But before her confession can blow a hole in the seemingly perfect lives of the Brewster women, her great-grandmother, Hannah, drops a bomb of her own. She’s selling her hotel and moving to a farm in Oklahoma—and all the Brewsters are coming with her. Kim is sure her grandmother, Karen, and mother, Sue, won’t go along with the plan, but Hannah can be very convincing. Soon the women are working the farm, selling their wares from a roadside stand, and finally feeling like a family.

And as the Brewster women’s lives take shape in ways they never expected, Kim may have found another shot at love. Luke thought he’d washed his hands of women, but when he stops by the vegetable stand and meets Kim, he’s instantly smitten. To find love, though, they’ll both have to dig past their hidden secrets.

Thoughts
I love books about family, especially if it’s about the females in a family. This book had a great grandmother, grandmother, mother, daughter.

The relationships of these women were good but grew as the book progressed. By the end their bond was as close as it could be and was unbreakable.

The story-line moved along at a good pace and there were a lot of surprises. The narration was very good, especially considering how many female voices there were.

This is a story about the bond women have through thick and thin, and how you can reach the happiness you desire no matter your age.

I loved this book!

Counts toward the following challenge:
Audiobook

Dec 172018
 

The Nöel Diary

The Nöel Diary by Richard Paul Evans
Narrated by Richard Paul Evans

Audio CD
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio; Unabridged edition (November 7, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1508238219
ISBN-13: 978-1508238218

In this new holiday-themed novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Mistletoe Promise and The Walk, a man receives the best Christmas present he could ask for: the chance to re-write the past.

Bestselling romance author Jacob Churcher hasn’t been home for almost twenty years—not since his mentally ill mother kicked him out of the house when he was just sixteen. When a lawyer calls, days before Christmas, to inform him that his estranged mother has passed away and left her house to him, Jacob returns not just to settle the estate but to try and reconcile with the past and the pain and abuse he experienced as a child. Also, maybe cleaning out her house will be slightly less depressing than spending the holidays alone, watching re-runs of Christmas classics.

But as it turns out, the house holds more than just difficult memories, Jacob’s mother had become a hoarder and he must excavate through two decades worth of clutter. As Jacob digs through the detritus, like an archaeologist, he uncovers many puzzling items including a diary left by someone named Noel, a young woman he has no recollection of, who stayed with Jacob’s family during her pregnancy. That’s not the only echo from the past. Jacob has an unexpected visitor, Rachel, a woman looking for the mother who put her up for adoption thirty years before. United by their quest to make sense of the past and rewrite their futures, Jacob and Rachel begin a search for Noel. Along the way they find more than they possibly imagined, including grace, forgiveness and a chance at love.

Thoughts
I love Richard Paul Evans books and this is no exception. The author narrated and did a great job. I liked that he used his regular voice even for the females and just stated “Rachel (or whichever woman was talking) said”, etc. It was so much better than a male trying to speak in a female sounding voice, or vice versa. It rarely works well.

I enjoyed all the characters, even the ones who only showed up once or twice. Evans is a wonderful story teller! The book has an even flow and I never got bored or tired of listening to it.

This is book #1 in a three book series, of which #2 is also available now.

Counts toward the following challenge:
Audiobook
Monthly Motif
2018 Christmas Spirit Challenge

Dec 102018
 

The Christmas Forest by Rebecca Boxall
Narrated by Fiona Hardingham, Henrietta Meire, & Nico Evers-Swindell

In this festive novella by the author of Christmas at the Vicarage, will Enid follow her heart or her head?

Since the tragic loss of her parents, Enid has lived alone in a coastal cottage in Jersey. But this year someone new has come into her life: Fred, who truly gets her, and who knows how to make her happy. The only problem is that Enid has Asperger’s and doesn’t like to leave her comfort zone – and Fred lives in Australia.

Like Enid, Fred has survived heartbreak and is searching for a way to start again. Could a stranger on the other side of the world really bring new meaning to his life, or is he just setting himself up for another fall?

When Fred invites Enid to Australia for Christmas, her vivacious sister Bess begs her to take a risk for the first time ever. But Enid’s whole life is structured around familiarity. As the festive season approaches, she has a decision to make: play it safe, or embark on a momentous journey into the unknown?

Thoughts
I enjoyed this book, it was a great story that kept my attention from the start. But, I really wouldn’t call this book a “festive novella” as the description states. Yes, it takes place around Christmas time but the only mention of Christmas is a few times when a Christmas play is mentioned (which is where the title comes from because the play is called The Christmas Forest, when Enid asks Fred to stay for Christmas, and buying or giving of a few Christmas presents.

Still, like I said, the story is good and I’m glad I read it. I just wish that it would have been more “Christmassy.

Counts toward the following challenge:
Audiobook
2018 Christmas Spirit Challenge

Nov 292018
 

Raymie Nightingale by [DiCamillo, Kate]

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
Narrated by Jenna Lamia

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 4 hours and 25 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Listening Library (Audio)
Audible.com Release Date: April 12, 2016

Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie’s picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship – and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

Thoughts
This book is geared toward middle school readers but I enjoyed it a lot. It reminded me of being a child and the friends I had.

Raymie is a fun character who is loyal to her friends and whatever they want to do, or need her to do. Even if she’s afraid. The three girls go on a few adventures, get into some trouble, rescue a a few critters, and learn that no matter what hard blows life gives you, things will be eventually be ok.

This was a fun book that was very cute, often funny, and always entertaining. It’s a short one at only 4 1/2 hours, but a lot happens in that time.

I loved the narration and was glad I decided to listen instead of read. There were quite a few instances where hearing a voice made it so much better.

Would recommend this to anyone who loves to read, or listen 🙂

Counts toward the following challenge:
Audiobook

Nov 262018
 

The Storyteller's Secret

The Storyteller’s Secret by Sejal Badani
Narrated by Siiri Scott

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 13 hours and 21 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Audible.com Release Date: September 1, 2018

Nothing prepares Jaya, a New York journalist, for the heartbreak of her third miscarriage and the slow unraveling of her marriage in its wake. Desperate to assuage her deep anguish, she decides to go to India to uncover answers to her family’s past.

Intoxicated by the sights, smells, and sounds she experiences, Jaya becomes an eager student of the culture. But it is Ravi—her grandmother’s former servant and trusted confidant—who reveals the resilience, struggles, secret love, and tragic fall of Jaya’s pioneering grandmother during the British occupation. Through her courageous grandmother’s arrestingly romantic and heart-wrenching story, Jaya discovers the legacy bequeathed to her and a strength that, until now, she never knew was possible.

Thoughts
I’m so glad I decided to read (listen) to this book! It was a Prime First Reads and none of them really grabbed me, but this book sounded different and I thought I’d enjoy it more than the others, so I choose it.

The story is about love, loss, family secrets, heartbreak, healing, and life changing friendships. It’s also about so much more.

The descriptions of India were so vivid that I could see myself there, and to me that makes a huge difference in a book, especially when it’s about a far away place that I’ve never been.

The writing was terrific, the story flowed smoothly, the narration was wonderful, the characters were interesting . I didn’t want to stop reading. This was a great story that grabbed my attention from the first paragraph and I thought it got better and better as it went on. There were a few times that the story made me gasp, either from shock or sadness.

I was satisfied with the way the book ended, but would also have liked it to keep going.

I definitely recommend this book. I loved it so much that I’ve already gotten a copy of her first book, Trail Of Broken Wings.

Counts toward the following challenges:
Audiobook

Monthly Motif

Nov 192018
 

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In Pieces by Sally Field
Narrated y Sally Field

Listening Length: 10 hours and 41 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Audible.com Release Date: September 18, 2018

In this intimate, haunting literary memoir, an American icon tells her story for the first time and in her own gorgeous words about a challenging and lonely childhood, the craft that helped her find her voice, and a powerful emotional legacy that shaped her journey as a daughter and a mother.

One of the most celebrated, beloved, and enduring actors of our time, Sally Field has an infectious charm that has captivated the nation for more than five decades, beginning with her first television role at the age of seventeen. From Gidget’s sweet-faced girl next door to the dazzling complexity of Sybil to the Academy Award-worthy ferocity and depth of Norma Rae and Mary Todd Lincoln, Field has stunned audiences time and time again with her artistic range and emotional acuity. Yet there is one character who always remained hidden: the shy and anxious little girl within.

With raw honesty and the fresh, pitch-perfect prose of a natural-born writer, and with all the humility and authenticity her fans have come to expect, Field brings readers behind the scenes for not only the highs and lows of her star-studded early career in Hollywood but deep into the truth of her lifelong relationships-including, most importantly, her complicated love for her own mother.

Powerful and unforgettable, In Pieces is an inspiring and important account of life as a woman in the second half of the twentieth century.

Thoughts
I finished this book about 2 weeks ago and have been trying to decide whether to write a review or not because of what I thought of the book.

I’ve been a fan of Sally Field practically my whole life. I loved Gidget and The Flying Nun and then watched her in most everything else she ever starred in.

When she was on talk shows etc. she always seemed so happy and that’s what popped into my head every time I thought about her.

So… I was really looking forward to this book.  I knew that the book was going to be sad at times but thought it would also make me smile or laugh. It didn’t.  I stopped listening to it a few times because it was so depressing, and then I’d start it again hoping I’d get a teeny tiny bit of sunshine, but that didn’t happen.

As for the narration, for most of the book she sounded whiny. It wasn’t the voice I’ve heard all these years.

I’ll never think Sally Field is a happy person again, which is so very sad.

Counts toward the following challenges:

Audiobook
Non-Fiction
Monthly Motif

Nov 072018
 

Our House by Louise Candlish
Narrated by: Elizabeth Knowelden, Elliot Hill
Length: 12 hrs and 40 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 08-07-18
Language: English
Publisher: Penguin Audio

There’s nothing unusual about a new family moving in at 91 Trinity Avenue. Except it’s her house. And she didn’t sell it.

When Fiona Lawson comes home to find strangers moving into her house, she’s sure there’s been a mistake. She and her estranged husband, Bram, have a modern coparenting arrangement: bird’s nest custody, where each parent spends a few nights a week with their two sons at the prized family home to maintain stability for their children. But the system built to protect their family ends up putting them in terrible jeopardy. In a domino effect of crimes and misdemeanors, the nest comes tumbling down.

Now Bram has disappeared, and so have Fiona’s children. As events spiral well beyond her control, Fiona will discover just how many lies her husband was weaving and how little they truly knew each other. But Bram’s not the only one with things to hide, and some secrets are best kept to oneself, safe as houses.

Thoughts
This is another 4⋆ for me. I can’t fathom what Fiona was going through. First there was the confusion of someone else moving into her house. Then there was the realization that her husband had all their belongings removed from the house and that HE actually sold it to the new owners. The book was one surprise after another with a lot of twists and shocking moments.

I had just resigned myself to everything that had happened and was thinking everything would be ok with Fiona, and then Bram’s last entry took me by surprise and shocked me so much my jaw dropped, and I knew it was not over for her. I’m really hoping there is a follow up book.

I loved that there was a woman and a man narrating the book. I’m not a huge fan of a woman trying to sound like a man or a man trying to sound like a woman. It made listening to the audio a lot more enjoyable. Both narrators did a great job.

I loved this book!

 

Counts toward the following challenges:

Audiobook

 

Oct 242018
 

Whiskey in a Teacup

Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon
Narrated by Reese Witherspoon
Listening Length: 2 hours and 50 minutes
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Release Date: September 18, 201

Reese Witherspoon’s grandmother Dorothea always said that a combination of beauty and strength made southern women “whiskey in a teacup.” We may be delicate and ornamental on the outside, she said, but inside we’re strong and fiery.

Reese’s southern heritage informs her whole life, and she loves sharing the joys of southern living with practically everyone she meets. She takes the South wherever she goes with bluegrass, big holiday parties, and plenty of Dorothea’s fried chicken. It’s reflected in how she entertains, decorates her home, and makes holidays special for her kids—not to mention how she talks, dances, and does her hair (in these pages, you will learn Reese’s fail-proof, only slightly insane hot-roller technique). Reese loves sharing Dorothea’s most delicious recipes as well as her favorite southern traditions, from midnight barn parties to backyard bridal showers, magical Christmas mornings to rollicking honky-tonks.

It’s easy to bring a little bit of Reese’s world into your home, no matter where you live. After all, there’s a southern side to every place in the world, right?

Thoughts
I had seen this book posted about by a few bloggers and since I’ve been a Witherspoon fan for many years, I decided to get a copy.

I enjoyed getting to know Reese as she is in her personal life. She talks a lot about her grandmother Dorothea and the love she feels for her is apparent. She also talks some about her husband and kids, and it all was very interesting.

Reese tells us how she uses hot rollers for her hair, her family traditions, decorating for holidays, how she loves throwing parties, about food, and more, and I learned quite a few things about her.

Her narration is easy to listen to, and a few times she was very funny. I enjoyed listening to this book very much.

Counts toward the following challenges:

Audiobook
Non-Fiction

Oct 222018
 

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Narrated by Cassandra Campbell

Listening Length: 12 hours and 12 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Audible.com Release Date: August 14, 2018

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

Thoughts
I LOVED this audiobook!!! Kya was an amazing person as a child and I was so impressed with her survival skills. I don’t know if I could have managed as well as she did. I loved following her through her childhood into her teens and then into adulthood. The way the town felt about her had me shaking my head. Thankfully she had Jumpin’ and his wife to look after her.

Kia loved her marsh and learned as much about it as she could, which was pretty much everything.  I enjoyed learning about it too. I was surprised at how smart she was even though she had never gone to school. She just loved learning and became quite knowledgeable about her part of the world.

So many things happened in this book and I was glued to the story. The book was sometimes very sad, sometimes happy, shocked me a few times, and during part of the book I was trying to figure a few things out. Some I did, some I didn’t.

Loved the story
Loved the characters
Loved the dialect
Loved the narration

If you haven’t read/listened to this, why not? Another book that’s going on my “Best Of 2018” list!

Counts toward the following challenge:

Audiobook

Oct 122018
 

Wish Me Home audiobook cover art

Wish Me Home by Kay Bratt
Narrated by Kate Rudd

Listening Length: 9 hours and 9 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Audible.com Release Date: March 21, 2017

A hungry, stray dog is the last thing Cara Butter needs. Stranded in Georgia with only her backpack and a few dwindling dollars, she already has too much baggage. Like her twin sister, Hana, who has broken Cara’s heart one too many times. After a lifetime of family troubles, and bouncing from one foster home to another, Cara decides to leave it all behind and strike out alone—on foot.

Cara sets off to Florida to see the home of her literary hero, Ernest Hemingway, accompanied only by Hemi, the stray dog who proves to be the perfect travel companion. But the harrowing trip takes unexpected turns as strangers become friends who make her question everything, and Cara finds that as the journey unfolds, so does her life—in ways she could never imagine.

Thoughts
Cara and her twin Hana have had a rough life. After something terrible happens, she leaves Georgia for Key West with little money and just a backpack. Not far from home her car breaks down so she takes off on foot. She runs into a stray dog whose paws are hurt and decides to keep him with her to tend to his injuries and then find him a forever home. In the meantime, she decides she has to name him so she doesn’t have to call him “dog”. She decides on Hemi because she loves Hemingway.  She meets a few people who cause her some trouble, but also a few who take her in for a bit and show her that not everyone in the world is bad.

She finally makes it to Key West and that is where her life starts to change for the better.

This book was so good right from the start. The characters were interesting, the different situations Cara found herself in sounded real and the ending was great, but left a few things open. I’m hoping that means there is a book #2 on the way.

The narrator did a great job and made the book very easy to listen to. This is another book that will make it on my top 10 favorites this year.

 

Counts toward the following challenge:

Audiobook

Oct 042018
 

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

Cast of Narrators:
N’Jameh Camara, as Haley
Jose Carrera, as Tiago
Dean Flanagan, as Ashton
Angel Romero, as Esteban
Toshi Widoff-Woodson, as Holly
Mikelle Wright-Matos, as Amari
and also featuring the author, Jacqueline Woodson, as Ms. Laverne

It all starts when six kids have to meet for a weekly chat—by themselves, with no adults to listen in. There, in the room they soon dub the ARTT Room (short for “A Room to Talk”), they discover it’s safe to talk about what’s bothering them—everything from Esteban’s father’s deportation and Haley’s father’s incarceration to Amari’s fears of racial profiling and Ashton’s adjustment to his changing family fortunes. When the six are together, they can express the feelings and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world. And together, they can grow braver and more ready for the rest of their lives.

Thoughts
A teacher, M. Laverne, tells six kids that they are to meet in a classroom once a week to talk. No adults and no subject is off limits, as long as they respect each other.

The kids, Esteban, Tiago, Holly, Amari, Ashton and Haley are a diverse group who don’t really know each other. Slowly they start to bond as they talk and learn about each other. Through discussions about losing someone you love, family members who are in prison, the idea someone could be deported, and death, they become very close and are surprised to find out their lives are very alike in some ways.

The title refers to the idea that we should harbor each other in times of need, and as the book progressed, these kids became a safe harbor for each other. TI love that they made a pact to meet back in that classroom in 20 years.

The book is narrated by multiple people including the author, all who did a great job.

I loved this book and think it should be required reading for elementary school.

 

Counts toward the following challenge:

Audiobook

Sep 242018
 

The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King

Narrated by LeVar Burton

Fred Rogers (1928-2003) was an enormously influential figure in the history of television and in the lives of tens of millions of children. As the creator and star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, he was a champion of compassion, equality, and kindness. Rogers was fiercely devoted to children and to taking their fears, concerns, and questions about the world seriously.

The Good Neighbor, the first full-length biography of Fred Rogers, tells the story of this utterly unique and enduring American icon. Drawing on original interviews, oral histories, and archival documents, Maxwell King traces Rogers’s personal, professional, and artistic life through decades of work, including a surprising decision to walk away from the show to make television for adults, only to return to the neighborhood with increasingly sophisticated episodes, written in collaboration with experts on childhood development. An engaging story, rich in detail, The Good Neighbor is the definitive portrait of a beloved figure, cherished by multiple generations.

Thoughts
I loved this book. I learned so much about Fred Rogers that I didn’t know, from his childhood all the way to his death.

I always thought he was an amazing man, but after listening to the audiobook I know he was so much more. The book is very detailed and you will learn how he turned a simple idea into a mega hit.

He cared for everyone and wanted the best for them. Not just his friends & family. Everyone! He made each child feel special, that they mattered, and he truly cared for them.

Rogers was the same soft spoken & loving man in real life that he was on tv. He was an inspiration to many people, especially a huge number of children. The world is a sadder place without him in it.

The book is narrated by LeVar Burton who did a great job.

If you are a fan or not, I urge you to read or listen to this book.

 

Counts toward the following challenge:

Audiobook
Non-Fiction

Sep 072018
 

The Sometimes Sisters by Carolyn Brown
Narrated by Brittany Pressley

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 8 hours and 42 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Audible.com Release Date: February 27, 2018

A bittersweet inheritance reunites three estranged sisters in a novel of family, trust, and forgiveness from New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown.

When they were growing up, Dana, Harper, and Tawny thought of themselves as “sometimes sisters.” They connected only during the summer month they’d all spend at their grandmother’s rustic lakeside resort in north Texas. But secrets started building, and ten years have passed since they’ve all been together-in fact, they’ve rarely spoken, and it broke their grandmother’s heart.

Now she’s gone, leaving Annie’s Place to her granddaughters-twelve cabins, a small house, a café, a convenience store, and a lot of family memories. It’s where Dana, Harper, and Tawny once shared so many good times. They’ve returned, sharing only hidden regrets, a guarded mistrust, and haunting guilt. But now, in this healing summer place, the secrets that once drove them apart could bring them back together-especially when they discover that their grandmother may have been hiding something, too…

To overcome the past and find future happiness, these “sometimes sisters” have one more chance to realize they are always family.

Thoughts
I’ve loved every book by this author that I’ve read and this is added to the list. I loved all the characters, especially Zed. He was such a good man and loving “uncle” to the girls.

I loved the lakeside resort  that had cabins, a small house, a café, a convenience store. I live at a lake when I was young and down the road there was a place that reminds me of this book.

The sisters haven’t always gotten along but they are all loyal to family and the more time the girls spend at Annie’s Place, the more they start to realize how much they love and need each other, and the healing begins.

This is a book that I couldn’t wait to get back to, and did as often as I could. It was a bit sad but also full of happy times and made me laugh here and there.

I really loved this book and so glad I listened to it. The narrator did a great job with the voices and each one was distinct.

I highly recommend this book.

Counts toward the following challenge:
Audiobook