Jan 042018
 

Unashamed

Unashamed by Lecrae Moore

Narrated by: Lecrae Moore
Length: 4 hrs and 17 mins
Unabridged
Release date: 05-03-16
Language: English
Publisher: Christianaudio

If you live for people’s acceptance, you’ll die from their rejection.

Two-time Grammy winning rap artist, Lecrae, learned this lesson through more than his share of adversity—childhood abuse, drugs and alcoholism, a stint in rehab, an abortion, and an unsuccessful suicide attempt.

Along the way, Lecrae attained an unwavering faith in Jesus and began looking to God for affirmation. Now as a chart-topping industry anomaly, he has learned to ignore the haters and make peace with his craft. The rap artist holds nothing back as he divulges the most sensitive details of his life, answers his critics, shares intimate handwritten journal entries, and powerfully models how to be Christian in a secular age.

This is the story of one man’s journey to faith and freedom.

Thoughts
I’ve never been a fan of  hip-hop and had never heard of Lecrae Moore before seeing this book. To be honest, I never really gave Christian hip-hop a chance because of the few times I’ve heard secular hip-hop. Don’t like it at all. But, I’d be more open to listening to Christian hip-hop after listening to this audiobook.  Each chapter began with a sample of one of his songs. Because of the messages  in them, I think I may enjoy it.

Anyway…Wow! What a great testimony! Lecrae had a tough life and had to grow up way faster than he should have. He finally got the life he wanted, but it was a long hard battle, sometimes he hindered himself.

Whether you like Christian hip hop or not, this is an interesting book. It’s short, but his story is huge! And even if I never become a fan of Christian hip-hop, I am a fan of Lecrae Moore!

Counts toward the following challenges:
Audio
Memoir
Nonfiction
Monthly Motif

Dec 302017
 

Turtles All the Way Down

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
Narrated by Kate Rudd

Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 7 hours and 12 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Listening Library
Audible.com Release Date: October 10, 2017

It all begins with a fugitive billionaire and the promise of a cash reward.

Turtles All the Way Down is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity.

Thoughts
Aza has mental health issues including OCD and anxiety and can’t stop thinking about getting C Diff. That’s a big part of this book.

Aja and her BFF Daisy are investigating the disappearance of Russell Pickett, the father of Davis, one of Aza’s friend from a few years before. There is a huge cash reward to anyone who calls the police with a clue that leads to him.

I liked Aza, Daisy, Davis, & Mychal. I felt so bad for Davis’s younger brother.

There is a lot that happens. Good things and bad things, and it all makes this a fascinating book. The whole story about the tuatara was great, even though some of it left me shaking my head.

The book is narrated by Kate Rudd who did such an amazing job with all the different characters, even the men. I really don’t know how she did it, but they all had their own unique voice.

The ending came sooner than I was expecting, but it left me satisfied. I would love a sequel to this book.

Dec 292017
 

Bare Bones: I'm Not Lonely If You're Reading This Book

Bare Bones: I’m Not Lonely If You’re Reading This Book by Bobby Bones

Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 6 hours and 28 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: HarperAudio
Audible.com Release Date: May 17, 2016

A touching, funny, heart-wrenching, and triumphant memoir from one of the biggest names in radio, the host of The Bobby Bones Show, one of the most listened-to drive time morning radio shows in the nation.

Growing up poor in Mountain Pine, Arkansas, with a young, addicted mom, Bobby Estell fell in love with country music. Abandoned by his father at the age of five, Bobby saw the radio as his way out—a dream that came true in college when he went on air at the Henderson State University campus station broadcasting as Bobby Bones, while simultaneously starting The Bobby Bones Show at 105.9 KLAZ. Bobby’s passions were pop, country music, and comedy, and he blended the three to become a tastemaker in the country music industry, heard by millions daily. Bobby broke the format of standard country radio, mixing country and pop with entertainment news and information, and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the business, including Luke Bryan, Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum, and Jason Aldean.

Yet despite the glamour, fame, and money, Bobby has never forgotten his roots, the mom and grandmother who raised him, the work ethic he embraced which saved him and encouraged him to explore the world, and the good values that shaped him. In this funny, poignant memoir told in Bobby’s distinctive patter, he takes fans on a tour of his road to radio. Bobby doesn’t shy away from the curves he continues to navigate—including his obsessive-compulsive disorder—on his journey to find the happiness of a healthy family.

Funny and tender, raw and honest, Bare Bones is pure Bobby Bones—surprising, entertaining, inspiring, and authentic.

Thoughts
I had never heard of Bobby Bones before seeing this book, but it sounded good so I decided to get it in print and audiobook.

The book is very interesting, he tells the story of what his childhood was like, and how he fought his way to making it big. He had a lot of struggles and the odds were against him, but he made it. BIG time.

He almost sabbatogged himself a few times, but things always worked out in the end.

I started with the audio and didn’t ever start the print because I loved listening to Bobby. He did a great job with the narration. It was like listening to him talking to his friends.

I am now a huge fan of Bobby Bones. If you aren’t familiar with him (I can’t be the only person to never hear of him before can I?) check him out on the radio or pick up a copy of this book. It’s very interesting and he holds nothing back. A few times he gives a little tmi, but he’s very funny. Loved this book!

Dec 172017
 

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
Narrated by Christina Moore
Newbery Honor Book

Listening Length: 54 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Recorded Books
Audible.com Release Date: October 22, 2008

Never out of print since its 1944 publication, this tender story offers readers of all ages a timeless message of compassion and understanding. At its heart is Wanda Petronski, an immigrant girl in an American school, who is ridiculed for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. When she tells her classmates that she has one hundred dresses at home, she unwittingly triggers a game of teasing that eventually ends in a lesson for all.

In restoring the reproduction of Louis Slobodkin’s artwork, this new edition recaptures the original vivid color. And to celebrate the book’s enhanced beauty, Helena Estes, the daughter of the author, has written a new letter to readers about the true story behind The Hundred Dresses.

Thoughts
I didn’t remember ever hearing about this before seeing it online, but have since learned that it was required reading in many elementary schools.

The book is really short, but it’s full of lessons every child should learn, like bullying or making fun of someone is not acceptable, and that if you see/hear anyone bullying someone you should say stand up for that person.

It also shows that even if you don’t believe what someone says, doesn’t mean it isn’t true. It may not be exactly the way it sounds, but still it could be true.

The book also shows how important forgiving someone is. It makes you feel so much better than holding a grudge.

I loved this book and think it should be required reading for young children. Most adults will probably love it too.

Dec 142017
 

Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff

Capital Gaines by Chip Gaines

Narrated by: Chip Gaines, Joanna Gaines, Melinda Paul, Rachel Agee, Gabe Wicks
Length: 5 hrs and 7 mins
Unabridged
Release date: 10-17-17
Language: English
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

The funny and talented Chip Gaines is well known to millions of people as a TV star, renovation expert, bestselling author, husband to Joanna, and father of four in Waco, Texas. But long before the world took notice, Chip was a serial entrepreneur who was always ready for the next challenge, even if it didn’t quite work out as planned. Whether it was buying a neighborhood laundromat or talking a bank into a loan for some equipment to start a lawn-mowing service, Chip always knew that the most important thing was to take that first step.

Now a #1 New York Times bestselling book, Capital Gaines offers readers a ringside seat as Chip relives some of his craziest antics and the lessons learned along the way. His mentors taught him to never give up and his family showed him what it meant to always have a positive attitude despite your circumstances. Throw in a natural daredevil personality and a willingness to do (or eat!) just about anything, and you have the life and daily activity of Chip Gaines.

Capital Gaines is the perfect book for anyone looking to succeed not only in business but more importantly in life.

Thoughts
I’ve watched Fixer Upper for a years and love not only the show but Chip and Joanna and their relationship. Chip never fails to make me lol and I enjoy the banter between the two of them. I also love the way they transform a so so house into a beautiful place to call home.

As soon as I saw this book I knew I wanted to read it. I learned a lot about Chip that I didn’t know. I learned about his childhood, that he owned a few businesses when he was young, and his love for family and friends, and so much more.

He takes you on a very interesting journey of his life and I enjoyed every minute of it. Whether you are a Chip fan or not, this book is so worth reading/listening to, a 5★.

 

Dec 012017
 

Talking as Fast as I Can cover art

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

Narrated by: Lauren Graham
Length: 4 hrs and 38 mins
Unabridged
Release date: 11-29-16

In her first work of nonfiction, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood recounts her experiences on Gilmore Girls – the first and second times – and shares stories about life, love, and working in Hollywood. This collection of essays is written in the intimate, hilarious, and down-to-earth voice that made her novel, Someday, Someday, Maybe, a New York Times best seller.
“This book contains some stories from my life: the awkward growing up years, the confusing dating years, the fulfilling working years, and what it was like to be asked to play one of my favorite characters again. You probably think I’m talking about my incredible achievement as Dolly in Hello, Dolly! as a Langley High School junior, a performance my dad called ‘you’re so much taller than the other kids.’ But no! I’m talking about Lorelai Gilmore, who, back in 2008, I wasn’t sure I’d ever see again. Also included: tales of living on a houseboat, meeting guys at awards shows, and that time I was asked to be a butt model. A hint: all three made me seasick.”

Thoughts
I love Lauren Graham and I enjoyed Someday, Someday, Maybe. So when I saw this book I knew I wanted to read (listen) to it.

I learned a lot about the author that I didn’t know. One of those things was that she lived on a houseboat for a time while she was growing up. This resonated with me because my husband and I came really close to buying a houseboat when our kids were young. But in the end we decided not to because they didn’t want to leave their friends and live on the water. I know, what was wrong with them?

Lauren talks a lot about her years on Gilmore Girls, the show, the relationships with her co-workers, the emotions of everyone when the show was ending etc.  And of course those stories were my favorite part of the book. I also loved hearing the stories of her growing up, the years of trying to make it as an actor, and her dating life.

The book is very funny of course, and she gives the reader bits of advice that you may or may not take, but will enjoy hearing either way.

This is a short book and it is well worth the time. It’s interesting, funny, and informative.

The author narrated the book and I thought she did a good job, but at times I found her a bit over the top. But of course, that’s Lauren Graham.

Nov 272017
 

The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking

Narrated by the author

Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 3 hours and 13 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: HarperAudio
Audible.com Release Date: January 17, 2017
Language: English
ASIN: B01N63906B

Embrace Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) and become happier with this definitive guide to the Danish philosophy of comfort, togetherness, and well-being.

Why are Danes the happiest people in the world? The answer, says Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, is Hygge. Loosely translated, Hygge—pronounced Hoo-ga—is a sense of comfort, togetherness, and well-being. “Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience,” Wiking explains. “It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe.”

Hygge is the sensation you get when you’re cuddled up on a sofa, in cozy socks under a soft throw, during a storm. It’s that feeling when you’re sharing comfort food and easy conversation with loved ones at a candlelit table. It is the warmth of morning light shining just right on a crisp blue-sky day.

The Little Book of Hygge introduces you to this cornerstone of Danish life, and offers advice and ideas on incorporating it into your own life, such as:
Get comfy. Take a break.
Be here now. Turn off the phones.
Turn down the lights. Bring out the candles.
Build relationships. Spend time with your tribe.
Give yourself a break from the demands of healthy living. Cake is most definitely Hygge.
Live life today, like there is no coffee tomorrow.
From picking the right lighting to organizing a Hygge get-together to dressing hygge, Wiking shows you how to experience more joy and contentment the Danish way.

Thoughts
I first saw this book when JoAnn reviewed it, and I thought I’d like learning more about Hygge. I put a hold on it at my library but was #6 in line and didn’t want to wait so I bought the audio version.

I really enjoyed this short book. I learned that I’ve been living a Hygge life for most of my life. How do I Hygge? Every day I curl up on the sofa and cover up with a soft throw, I light candles, the rooms of my house are barely lit when there’s no company. I  spend as much time as I can with family, just talking or playing games, mainly just enjoying each other’s company. I love walks on the beach, along the river, or at the park. Riding the nearby trials on my bike. Burning incense, adult coloring books, romantic movies or listening to soft music. I bet there are ways you Hygge too, you just didn’t know it.

I really enjoyed listening to this book, the author did a really good job of narrating it.

I recommend this book to everyone. We all need Hygge in our lives.

Nov 162017
 

Nourished by Lia Huber

Listening Length: 7 hours and 24 minutes
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Random House Audio
Release Date: October 24, 2017
Language: English
ASIN: B076DSKKCY

A noted entrepreneur, food writer, and recipe developer serves up an evocative adventure story abouther quest to find healing, meaning, and a place at the table.

Hunger comes to us in many forms, writes Lia Huber–we long to be satisfied not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. Nourished invites readers on Huber’s world-roaming search to find the necessary ingredients to nurture all three.
She begins her quest with an Anthony Bourdain moment in a Guatemalan village: she’s slipping fresh vegetables into a communal pot of soup she’s cooking up for chronically undernourished children. Village grannies look on disapprovingly… until the kids come back for more.
From there, Huber takes readers to the Greek island of Corfu, where she learns the joys of simple food and the power of unconditional love; to a Costa Rican jungle house (by way of an 8,000-mile road trip), where she finds hope and healing; and finally to California’s wine country, where she steps into the person she was meant to be and discovers her calling to nourish others.

Thoughts
I loved this book. It took me on a journey to Guatemala, Corfu, Costa Rica, and California, following along with Lia and then with her husband Christopher. It was like listening to two stories. One centered around the customs and people in the places they traveled, and the other centered around Lia and her relationships, food, and life.

The recipes were mostly ones that sounded more complicated than I like, and foods I’ve never tried, but I would like to make a few of them sometime.

I’m glad I listened to the book instead of read it. The author is the narrator and she brings a lot of emotion into the telling of it. I’d give this book a 5 ★

Nov 082017
 

The Last Lecture
By: Randy Pausch, Jeffrey Zaslow
Narrated by: Erik Singer, Randy Pausch
Length: 4 hrs and 39 mins
Unabridged
Release date: 04-08-08
Language: English
Publisher: Hyperion AudioBooks

A lot of professors give talks titled “The Last Lecture.” Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?
When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave–“Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”–wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have…and you may find one day that you have less than you think”). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.

In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come.

Thoughts
This is a book that will make you think. It’s a book that will make you want to hug your loved ones. It’s a book that will make you appreciate your life a bit more than you did before you started it.

I enjoyed this book a lot, it was full of interesting stories of the author’s life. I just wanted more stories of situations where things didn’t turn out so perfect.  Most of us have more of those than the the ones that include perfect choices and endings. I just wanted more of those.

I know the book is about his childhood dreams, but I’m sure he had really dark days and I would have liked to know how he coped with those times. I would have liked more of his wife’s thoughts. Still, I’m glad I listened to the book.

Nov 012017
 

Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore
Narrated by: Dan Butler, Barry Scott
Length: 3 hrs and 28 mins
Abridged
Release date: 03-20-08
Language: English
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers

 

A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery…
An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel…
A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream…
A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it…

It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana and in an East Texas honky-tonk – and, without a doubt, in the heart of God. It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda, an upscale New York gallery, a downtown dumpster, and a Texas ranch.

Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, this story also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.

Thoughts
I’ve had this book on my list to read for years but just never got to it. Then I saw that the movie based on the book was being released. Luckily I had just finished listening to another book so I quickly downloaded the audio and started listening to it.

I was immediately drawn to Denver and Ron, and stayed hooked throughout the book. I loved the relationship that grew between Ron, his wife Deborah, and Denver. It supports what I’ve always known, that people are just people. We all want/deserve the same things in life. Skin color and the amount of money you have is not at all important. How you treat people is.

This is such an inspiring book, full of love, kindness, and caring people.  There is a sadness there too for how Denver’s life played out before he met the Hall’s.  It’s also very funny at times and I laughed out loud quite often.

I’m glad I decided to listen to the audio instead of reading this book. I found out after I had finished it that the book was hard to follow because the chapters alternated between Ron and Denver but they weren’t labeled “Ron” or “Denver”.  Some reviewers had a hard time with that.

The narrators did a good job, making this easy to listen to. One thing I wasn’t crazy about was the music in between the chapters. Sometimes it made me jump because it came out of the blue and was loud, and it scared me. Sometimes the music played over the narrator making it hard to hear the last few words.

I loved this book and can’t wait to see the movie. I highly recommend this to anyone who hasn’t read it yet.

Oct 232017
 

Here We Go Again Audiobook

Here We Go Again: My Life In Television by Betty White

Narrated by: Betty White
Length: 2 hrs and 56 mins
Abridged Audiobook
Release Date:05-21-10
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

“Here is Betty White – a woman who has been on television forever!” is generally how Betty White is introduced. And quite accurately, too, since she first appeared in 1949, when both she and television were rank beginners.

Since then, she has had one of the most amazing careers in TV, winning five Emmy awards, creating such unforgettable characters as Sue Ann Nivens and Rose Nylund, and appearing in a host of television classics from 1952’s Life with Elizabeth to The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls.

Here We Go Again gives an overview of television’s golden era, packed full of wonderful anecdotes about the many famous personalities with whom Betty has worked. It also gives a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at television over five decades, from her first show, Hollywood on Television, which ran live five and a half hours a day, six days a week (33 hours per week!), to Betty’s current television work. In addition, she talks about her personal life – how her hectic career caused strain in her relationships and how she finally found happiness with her third husband, the late talk-show host Allen Ludden.

As warm and funny as its author, Here We Go Again will thrill her many fans and delight all of those who are interested in the history of America’s most popular form of entertainment.

Thoughts
Betty White is such an interesting person, how could this book be anything but interesting. I enjoyed learning things I didn’t know about her. She knows so many people in “the biz” and leads such an amazing life. I loved listening to her thoughts on making some of the decisions she made, her love for her family, friends, tv, Alan Ludden, and animals. I loved hearing her infectious laugh.

This was a short listen but it’s pack full of wonderful stories. I think we need an update on what’s happened in her life since this book.

America loves you Betty!

Oct 162017
 

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Narrated by: Jeff Woodman
Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:08-31-09
Publisher: Recorded Books
Charlie Gordon knows that he isn’t very bright. At 32, he mops floors in a bakery and earns just enough to get by. Three evenings a week, he studies at a center for mentally challenged adults. But all of this is about to change for Charlie. As part of a daring experiment, doctors are going to perform surgery on Charlie’s brain. They hope the operation and special medication will increase his intelligence, just as it has for the laboratory mouse, Algernon. Meanwhile, each day Charlie keeps a diary of what is happening to him. This is his poignant record of the startling changes in his mind and his life.

Flowers for Algernon was first published as a short story, but soon received wide acclaim as it appeared in anthologies, as a television special, and as an award-winning motion picture, Charly. In its final, expanded form, this haunting story won the Nebula Award for the Best Novel of the Year. Through Jeff Woodman’s narration, it now becomes an unforgettable audio experience.

Thoughts
This book was required reading when I was in Jr. High. I really liked the book and never forgot about reading it so I decided to read it again, but this time I wanted to listen to the audio version.

I loved this book in school, and I loved it as I read it again. I felt for Charly. He was a kind soul who laughed along with everyone when they laughed at him, because he didn’t know they were laughing AT him. He didn’t have the best home life either.

Things started to drastically change once the experiment started and Charlie was able to read, write, and learn the way he had always wanted to. I loved that he finally knew what it was like to be “normal”, and even a genius.

I felt many emotions while listening to this book. Parts made me happy, some made me cheer for Charlie, and some made me sad.

It’s funny that the parts I remembered were of Algernon and Charlie, and had forgotten the relationships he had with the two women in his life. I’m a little shocked that this was assigned to us in Jr. High. I’m wondering if it was a “cleaned up” version. No, it wasn’t R rated, but for 12 year old kids back in the ’70’s, it was a bit risque.

The book is narrated by Jeff Woodman, and he did a great job. His voice made it easy to listen to.

This book was a great read, and listen, and I’m so glad I revisited it.

Sep 272017
 

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King

Narrated by Anne Heche
Length: 6 hrs and 36 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:12-16-99
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Somewhere in New England, nine-year-old Trisha gets lost in the woods while on a walk with her family. Her only comforts are the radio broadcasts of Boston Red Sox games featuring her favorite player, closing pitcher Tom Gordon. Lonely, frightened, starving, and cold, Gordon becomes Trisha’s imaginary companion – and the key to her survival against an unidentified someone (or something) leaving death and destruction in its wake.

Thoughts
I’m a huge King fan but somehow I missed this book. When I ran across the audio version I decided to get a copy.

I can’t even imagine being 9 years old and being lost in the woods. Whenever I went somewhere outdoors or any place that was really big with my parents, they always told me that if I ever got lost to stay where I was when I realized I was lost and they’d find me. Thankfully I never got lost, but Trisha did while out walking with her mom and brother. And she didn’t stay where she was, she started walking and ended up in a completely different state.

She was lost, alone, scared, hungry, thirsty, tired and sick. A lot of things happened and she wasn’t sure if they were real or she imagined them. She did find a bit of comfort in her favorite Red Socks player, Tom Gordan.

Trisha is one tough little girl. I think she lasted way longer than most girls that age in that situation would have.

The book is narrated by Anne Heche who I thought did a really good job.

I was expecting a lot more scary than this book had, but it still was a good book and I’m glad I listened to it.

Sep 212017
 

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

Narrated by Cassandra Campbell

Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 8 hours and 3 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Audible.com Release Date: July 25, 2017
Language: English
ASIN: B06XWYHS2N

An electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she ll go to to protect him
The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo, her child in her arms. And for the next three hours the entire scope of the novel she keeps on running.

Suddenly, mother and son are as trapped as the animals. Joan s intimate knowledge of this place that filled early motherhood with happy diversions the hidden pathways and under-renovation exhibits, the best spots on the carousel and overstocked snack machines is all that keeps them a step ahead of danger.

A masterful thrill ride and an exploration of motherhood itself from its tender moments of grace to its savage power Fierce Kingdom asks where the boundary is between our animal instinct to survive and our human duty to protect one another. For whom should a mother risk her life?”

Thoughts
I was really excited to start listening to this book since I’d read a lot of positive reviews.

While I enjoyed the book very much, there was a lot of time spent on the layout of the zoo. I did like that Joan had taken Lincoln to the zoo so often that she knew where she could keep them safe.

I liked all the characters. They all made the book exciting and I thought they were perfect choices for the book. The author was very descriptive, so even after a few weeks, I can still “see” some of the scary scenes in my mind. I can’t imagine being in that situation, especially with a young son.

The book was really good. I liked the relationship between  Joan and her son Lincoln. I liked how close they were and how well behaved Lincoln was. They listened to each other and the love they shared was obvious.

If I had to say something negative about the book it would be that I thought the ending was a bit too abrupt. I would have liked more closure.

The book was narrated by Cassandra Campbell and I enjoyed listening to her.

Aug 282017
 

Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam

Narrated by: Adam Verner
Length: 10 hrs and 39 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:10-13-15
Publisher: HarperAudio

Big Fish meets The Notebook in this emotionally evocative story about a man, a woman, and an alligator that is a moving tribute to love, from the New York Times best-selling author of the award-winning memoir Rocket Boys – the basis of the movie October Sky.

Elsie Lavender and Homer Hickam (the father of the author) were high school classmates in the West Virginia coalfields, graduating just as the Great Depression began. When Homer asked for her hand, Elsie instead headed to Orlando, where she sparked with a dancing actor named Buddy Ebsen (yes, that Buddy Ebsen). But when Buddy headed for New York, Elsie’s dreams of a life with him were crushed, and eventually she found herself back in the coalfields, married to Homer.

Unfulfilled as a miner’s wife, Elsie was reminded of her carefree days with Buddy every day because of his unusual wedding gift: an alligator named Albert she raised in the only bathroom in the house. When Albert scared Homer by grabbing his pants, he gave Elsie an ultimatum: “Me or that alligator!” After giving it some thought, Elsie concluded there was only one thing to do: Carry Albert home.

Carrying Albert Home is the funny, sweet, and sometimes tragic tale of a young couple and a special alligator on a crazy 1,000-mile adventure. Told with the warmth and down-home charm that made Rocket Boys a beloved best seller, Homer Hickam’s rollicking tale is ultimately a testament to that strange and marvelous emotion we inadequately call love.

Thoughts
I loved this audiobook so much! It was a great story and I loved Homer, Elsie, and especially Albert.

The story is a bit of truth and fiction, all of it is very entertaining, and most of it is really funny. Who would think a simple trip from West Virginia to Florida would lead to all the encounters and opportunities they found themselves in. Each story was unique, and each one was rally good. I’ll be thinking about this story for a long time. I may have to listen to it again in the future, I really loved it.

Of the three of them, I loved Albert the most. He was a most unusual Alligator, but I’m assuming that since he was sent to Elsie very young that she helped mold him into the “little boy” he was. The rooster was also very amusing, I’d have loved to see him sitting on top of Albert like they were best buds.

The book is narrated by Adam Verner, who did a fantastic job!

I can’t say enough good things about this audio, it was fantastic!

Note:
There was one chapter that had a lot of the GD word in it. I definitely didn’t like that, but I don’t remember any other cussing in the book.

Aug 202017
 

 

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

Written by: Kathleen Rooney
Narrated by: Xe Sands
Length: 8 hrs and 56 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:01-17-17
Publisher: Macmillan Audio

It’s the last day of 1984, and 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish is about to take a walk.

As she traverses a grittier Manhattan, a city anxious after an attack by a still-at-large subway vigilante, she encounters bartenders, bodega clerks, chauffeurs, security guards, bohemians, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be—in surprising moments of generosity and grace. While she strolls, Lillian recalls a long and eventful life that included a brief reign as the highest-paid advertising woman in America—a career cut short by marriage, motherhood, divorce, and a breakdown.

A love letter to city life—however shiny or sleazy—Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop.

Thoughts
This book took me on a journey through Manhattan, a place that I love. I enjoyed traveling through 1984 Manhattan with Lillian, a very poised 85 year old woman.

Her journey takes her from Murry Hill to Herald Square where she spent her working years as an advertising executive for Macy’s department store.

I don’t think Lillian ever met a stranger. She had a knack for getting anyone to talk to her, and found quite a few diverse strangers during her New Years Eve walk to talk to. She also had a knack for getting out of what could be dangerous situations.

We learn a lot about Lillian as she walks. She talks about her marriage and son, and her years at Macy and co-workers. About the city and how it’s changed.

I really loved the time I spent listening to this audiobook. It’s narrated by Xe Sands who did a great job with Lillian’s voice. She sounded just like the woman described in the book. She also gave the other characters their own distinct voice.

This book made me fall in love with Manhattan from a different time. It’s an amazing city. There were parts that were sad, parts that were hilarious, and I enjoyed every word.

Aug 032017
 

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne
Narrated by: Emily Rankin
Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:06-13-17
Publisher: Penguin Audio

The Marsh King’s Daughter is mesmerizing psychological suspense, the story of a woman who must risk everything to hunt down the dangerous man who shaped her past and threatens to steal her future: her father.

At last, Helena Pelletier has the life she deserves. A loving husband, two beautiful daughters, a business that fills her days. Then she catches an emergency news announcement and realizes she was a fool to think she could ever leave her worst days behind her.

Helena has a secret: she is the product of an abduction. Her mother was kidnapped as a teenager by her father and kept in a remote cabin in the marshlands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. No electricity, no heat, no running water, not a single human beyond the three of them. Helena, born two years after the abduction, loved her home in nature – fishing, tracking, hunting. And despite her father’s odd temperament and sometimes brutal behavior, she loved him, too…until she learned precisely how savage a person he could be.

More than 20 years later, she has buried her past so soundly that even her husband doesn’t know the truth. But now her father has killed two guards, escaped from prison, and disappeared into the marshland he knows better than anyone else in the world. The police commence a manhunt, but Helena knows they don’t stand a chance. Knows that only one person has the skills to find the survivalist the world calls the Marsh King – because only one person was ever trained by him: his daughter.

Thoughts
It’s been a while since I’ve read a book like this, and I’m glad I chose this book to get back into the genre.

I liked Helena, who has for years lived a normal life with a husband and two girls. Her husband had no idea about her childhood or who her father was, until the police came to their house.

I thought the book was going to focus on the hunt for her dad, but there was so much more to it. We learned about her mother’s abduction, her years in the Marsh and how her father taught her to fish, hunt and survive. Helena and her mother weren’t that close, because her father didn’t want them to be. Helena learned from her father and didn’t treat her mother very good, and her mother wasn’t affectionate to Helena. At times her dad treated Helena and her mom in horrific ways, but he was everything to her as a small girl.

There are some really white knuckle moments in the book, and some that made me cringe. But it all made me not want to stop listening.

This book was very good. It kept me excited to see where the story was going to go and how it would end. It was everything I wanted it to be, only better.

The way the author described the marsh and everything that happened was so vivid that I could see it in my mind like I was a bystander.

The book is narrated by Emily Rankin who did a great job! Her voice was calm and soothing and gave a great balance to the harshness of the story.

Jul 242017
 

Walking with Miss Millie Audiobook

Walking with Miss Millie by Tamara Bundy

Narrated by: Catherine Taber
Length: 4 hrs and 39 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Genre: Middle School Fiction
Release Date:07-04-17
Publisher: Listening Library

A poignant middle grade debut about the friendship between a white girl and an elderly black woman in the 1960s South.

Alice is angry at having to move to Rainbow, Georgia – a too small, too hot, dried-up place she’s sure will never feel like home. Then she gets put in charge of walking her elderly neighbor’s dog. But Clarence won’t budge without Miss Millie, so Alice and Miss Millie walk him together.

Strolling with Clarence and Miss Millie quickly becomes the highlight of Alice’s day and opens her eyes to all sorts of new things to marvel over. During their walks, they meet a mix of people, and Alice sees that although there are some bullies and phonies, there are plenty of kind folks, too. Miss Millie shares her family’s story with Alice, showing her the painful impact segregation has had on their town. And with Miss Millie, Alice is finally able to express her own heartache over why her family had to move there in the first place.

Tamara Bundy’s beautifully written debut celebrates the wonder and power of friendship: how it can be found when we least expect it and make any place a home.

Thoughts
Oh my goodness, how I loved this book! I fell in love with Alice, Millie, and Clarence. I loved how their friendship grew and how they ended up depending on each other’s company.

I felt for Alice, she really didn’t want to move from her home and friends, but Millie made that move turn into something wonderful and gave her memories she’ll never forget. There were some sad parts in the book, but mostly it was filled with kindness and love.

Millie also taught Alice some history and told her about her life in the past.  I loved listening to every minute of it.

Pam and her brother Jake were also characters I fell in love with. Pam was a kind girl and became friends with Alice and her brother Eddie. She wanted to learn sign language so she could communicate with Eddie, who was deaf. Jake was also a good kid, and he too became friends with them and learned some sign language. Pam and Jake’s other brothers were not so nice.

This is a feel good story about life in a small town where everyone knows everyone. It was short at just over 4 1/3 hours, but it’s really good and I’m sure I’ll listen to it again in the future.

It is narrated by Catherine Taber who did a great job with all the voices. I especially loved Pam’s voice. She made me laugh more than once.

I highly recommend this book to everyone.

Jul 182017
 

And We’re Off by Dana Schwartz

Narrated by: Lauren Fortgang
Length: 6 hrs and 25 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:05-02-17
Publisher: Listening Library

 
Seventeen-year-old Nora Holmes is an artist, a painter from the moment she could hold a brush. She inherited the skill from her grandfather, Robert, who’s always nurtured Nora’s talent and encouraged her to follow her passion. Still, Nora is shocked and elated when Robert offers her a gift: an all-expenses-paid summer trip to Europe to immerse herself in the craft and to study history’s most famous artists. The only catch? Nora has to create an original piece of artwork at every stop and send it back to her grandfather. It’s a no-brainer: Nora is in!

Unfortunately, Nora’s mother, Alice, is less than thrilled about the trip. She worries about what the future holds for her young, idealistic daughter – and her opinions haven’t gone unnoticed. Nora couldn’t feel more unsupported by her mother, and in the weeks leading up to the trip, the women are as disconnected as they’ve ever been. But seconds after saying good-bye to Alice at the airport terminal, Nora hears a voice call out: “Wait! Stop! I’m coming with you!”

And…they’re off.

Thoughts
I enjoyed getting to know Nora, her mom Alice, and the other characters. I enjoyed the story and following along with them as they toured Europe, especially Ireland.

What I didn’t enjoy was the relationship between Nora and Alice. Nora wanted to be on her own, feeling grown up. Numerous times she screamed at her mother “this was supposed to be MY trip.” The relationship between them was awful. I felt bad for Nora since it was indeed supposed to be her trip, but I felt worse for her mom since she was going through a very hard time in her life and just wanted to get away for a while, and Nora was always mad and/or yelling at her.

There were a few times here and there when they did get along pretty good, but the whole tantrum throwing Nora did got on my nerves.

The book was narrated by Lauren Fortgang who did an good job with the voices, although I thought she made Alice’s voice a bit too hoity toity. I have the audiobook The Bookshop at Water’s End by Patti Callahan Henry which is narrated by Lauren Fortgang, and am looking forward to hearing how she does with the narration.

Overall, I’m glad I listened to this book, which is the author’s debut novel. I would like to read more from her.

Jul 072017
 

Beartown

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Narrated by Marin Ireland

Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 13 hours and 11 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Audible.com Release Date: April 25, 2017

From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here, comes a poignant, charming novel about a forgotten town fractured by scandal, and the amateur hockey team that might just change everything.

Winning a junior ice hockey championship might not mean a lot to the average person, but it means everything to the residents of Beartown, a community slowly being eaten alive by unemployment and the surrounding wilderness. A victory like this would draw national attention to the ailing town: it could attract government funding and an influx of talented athletes who would choose Beartown over the big nearby cities. A victory like this would certainly mean everything to Amat, a short, scrawny teenager who is treated like an outcast everywhere but on the ice; to Kevin, a star player just on the cusp of securing his golden future in the NHL; and to Peter, their dedicated general manager whose own professional hockey career ended in tragedy.

At first, it seems like the team might have a shot at fulfilling the dreams of their entire town. But one night at a drunken celebration following a key win, something happens between Kevin and the general manager’s daughter—and the next day everything seems to have changed. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected. With so much riding on the success of the team, the line between loyalty and betrayal becomes difficult to discern. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear.

Fredrik Backman knows that we are forever shaped by the places we call home, and in this emotionally powerful, sweetly insightful story, he explores what can happen when we carry the heavy weight of other people’s dreams on our shoulders.

Thoughts
At first I thought I wouldn’t enjoy this book very much because it was about a hockey team, but I decided to read it anyway because of how much I loved A Man Called Ove. I was surprised that I ended up enjoying it so much. The story grew on me and I fell in love with the town, the hockey team, and mostly the characters.

The book starts out with such a bang that I didn’t want to stop listening. I wanted to find out what happened, and to whom.  It was fully explained toward the end of the book, and what I thought had happened really had a completely different ending. Then there was another part that left me with a question that was never answered. So, I’m hoping there is another book that will explain it. I usually don’t like books that leave something unknown, but this time I’m ok. I’m left wanting more, but ok.  I do hope there is a Beartown 2 that will tell me what I’m wanting to know.

I’m not a fan of cussing but since this was a book with a bunch of teenagers, mostly boys, I expected some. I did think some of the language was a bit harsh, but that’s just me.

I thought the author did a great job with the characters. The teens were just like the kids who might live in your hometown, same with the parents.

I thought Marin Ireland did a fantastic job with narration.

There was a lot of emotions spilling out of this story, and I felt them all. It’s a book that will stay with me for a long time.