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.

Jul 032017
 

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

The Curious Charms Of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

Narrated by James Langton

Audio CD: 1 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Audio and Blackstone Audio; Unabridged edition (May 3, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1504739663
ISBN-13: 978-1504739665

In this poignant and curiously charming debut, a lovable widower embarks on a life-changing adventure.

Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden.

But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met — a journey that leads him to find hope, healing, and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.

Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters with big hearts and irresistible flaws, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a joyous celebration of life’s infinite possibilities.

Thoughts
I loved this book from the first paragraph to the last and didn’t want to stop reading for even one minute! I fell in love with Arthur, and just wanted to give him a hug, many times throughout the book. He loved his wife so much, and wanted to know about her life before him, even if he was going to find out things he didn’t want to know.

Since she passed away, Arthur mostly stayed inside his house, so the idea of him taking off and traveling to so many places alone, was exciting to read about. He was very brave, more so than I might be at that age.

The story was very touching, the characters fun to read, and the adventure was engrossing.

This is the first book for me by this author, but after listening to this I got the audio version of Rise And Shine Benedict Stone and want to get to it soon.

Jun 262017
 

Faithful

Faithful by Alice Hoffman

Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 8 hours and 27 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Audible.com Release Date: November 1, 2016

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.

What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a road map.

Alice Hoffman’s “trademark alchemy” (USA TODAY) and her ability to write about the “delicate balance between the everyday world and the extraordinary” (WBUR) make this an unforgettable story. With beautifully crafted prose, Alice Hoffman spins hope from heartbreak in this profoundly moving novel.

Thoughts
I have been wanting to read a book by Alice Hoffman for a while. When I saw this book available on one of my audio apps, I decided to listen to it.

The main character is Shelby, a broken girl who feels responsible for the accident that changed her best friend Helene’s life forever. She loves Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, her friends. Sounds a bit like me! She feels responsible for what happened to Helene, even though it wasn’t really her fault. She isn’t afraid to be herself, and although she seems to be tough, she’s not.

I absolutely loved this book! Shelby was a fantastic character and I loved following along on her journey as she falls in and out of love, became the person she wanted to be, and finally ends up exactly where she wants to be.

There’s so much more to this book, it was fantastic. I would definitely recommend this book.

The book was narrated by Amber Tamblyn, who did an awesome job.

Jun 092017
 

Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
Narrated by Kimberly Farr

Listening Length: 8 hours and 25 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Random House Audio
Audible.com Release Date: April 25, 2017

“As I was writing My Name Is Lucy Barton,” Strout says, “it came to me that all the characters Lucy and her mother talked about had their own stories—of course!—and so the unfolding of their lives became tremendously important to me.”

Here, among others, are the “Pretty Nicely Girls,” now adults: One trades self-respect for a wealthy husband, the other finds in the pages of a book a kindred spirit who changes her life. Tommy, the janitor at the local high school, has his faith tested in an encounter with an emotionally isolated man he has come to help; a Vietnam veteran suffering from PTSD discovers unexpected solace in the company of a lonely innkeeper; and Lucy Barton’s sister, Vicky, struggling with feelings of abandonment and jealousy, nonetheless comes to Lucy’s aid, ratifying the deepest bonds of family.

With the stylistic brilliance and subtle power that distinguish the work of this great writer, Elizabeth Strout has created another transcendent work of fiction, with characters who will live in readers’ imaginations long after the final page is turned.

My Thoughts
I think I liked this even better than I did My Name Is Lucy Barton. I loved the way the stories connected one to the other. I liked being introduced to these new characters and their stories.

One of my favorite characters was Tommy. I thought his story was really interesting and liked that he had such a good heart. I like that Strout used not so familiar names, and that her characters were so real, emotional, and vulnerable.

I’ve read a lot of reviews of this book where people said that they thought there were too many characters. I usually don’t like a lot of different characters either, and if the book had been one continuous story I might have had a hard time following along. But since it was a book of short stories that didn’t bother me. When one story ended, it was like going on to another book. I wish I could explain it better, but the point is it didn’t bother me at all.

Kimberly Farr did a great job with the narration. It was very easy to listen to.

I’ve loved both books that I’ve read by this author, and now I’ve added Olive Kitteridge to my “to read list”.

May 252017
 


Prayers For Sale by Sandra Dallas
Narrated by Maggi-Meg Reed
Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 9 hours and 33 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Audible.com Release Date: April 14, 2009

Hennie Comfort is eighty-six and has lived in the mountains of Middle Swan, Colorado, since before it was Colorado. Nit Spindle is just seventeen and newly married. She and her husband have just moved to the high country in search of work. It’s 1936 and the depression has ravaged the country and Nit and her husband have suffered greatly. Hennie notices the young woman loitering near the old sign outside of her house that promises “Prayers For Sale.” Hennie doesn’t sell prayers, never has, but there’s something about the young woman that she’s drawn to.

What I Thought
I’ve had this book in print since it was published. I put it on my tbr shelf thinking I’d get to it soon, but like so many of my books, I never started it. Why why why do I wait so long to read/listen to books that I really really want to read? I guess there are so many books out there that I just get sidetracked.

A week or so ago I saw the audio of Prayers For Sale was available through Overdrive.  Since I’ve recently gotten addicted to audiobooks, I added it to my list and as soon as I finished the book I was listening to, I started it.

Let me tell you, I LOVED this book! I loved the story, the characters, and the way it made me feel while listening to it. The story took me on a trip to 1936 Middle Swan, Colorado. Hennie Comfort, who is 86 years young, has lived there since before it was known as Colorado. Hennie is in great shape for her age and can climb those mountains as good if not better than her friend Nit Spindle who is 17.

The two women meet when Nit stops by to see Hennie after seeing a “Prayers For Sale” sign outside her house. The two bond over quilting and a tragedy they both had gone through.

Nit starts to think of Hennie as a mother figure and Hennie is very fond of Nit. The two enjoy their quilting group, talking about life over cups of coffee, and their walks to town or up the mountains.

The book gave me many emotions. It had me happy, sad, and even worried how things would turn out. The characters seemed real as did the situations. I loved the writing and the way the people talked. I loved everything about it.

 I’m so glad I decided to listen to the audio of this book because not only is the book one of the best books I’ve ever read (and I am not a fan of historical fiction), but also because of the narration. It is narrated by Maggi-Meg Reed. I’ve always been very picky when it comes to narrators, but I loved her voice and she’s now one of my favorite narrators. I’ll definitely be reading more from this author, and from this narrator.

The ending surprised me so much. I never in a million years would have thought that it would end that way.

I loved this book from the beginning to the end, and will more likely than not listen to it again sometime. I definitely recommend this book!

Apr 272017
 

Room by Emma Donoghue
Narrated by: Michal Friedman, Ellen Archer, Robert Petkoff, Suzanne Toren
Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 10 hours and 52 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Audible.com Release Date: September 13, 2010

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

What I Thought:
Wow! This book kept me in it’s grasp from start to finish. I didn’t want to stop listening for a minute.

I can’t imagine being held captive like that. For Ma, the horror was being in Room. To Jack, it was all he knew. Ma made sure he had as normal a childhood as he could. Teaching him, making sure he got excersise, playing games, watching tv. But she wanted to get them out of there. When she planned their escape, I was scared for Jack. I didn’t know if he could do it. But he did! Then I wondered if he’d be able to lead the police to Room, and he did!

They were finally free, but that’s when the truth hit Jack. Everything he thought was only in tv or Room, was actually out in the world too. And there was so much more out there. He saw and felt the sun for the first time. He talked to someone other than Ma for the first time. He saw a real dog, tree, cars….

This book was amazing. I thought it ended too abrubtly, and was wanting more. I wanted to know how Ma and Jack did in the following years. Still, I loved this book. It was so sad, but had a few funny parts. It shows that there is always hope. There was one part concerning Ma that shocked me. I still struggle with it. If you haven’t read this book, you’re missing a good one. I’m glad I listened to the audio version. All the narrators did a great job.

I loved ROOM!

Mar 282017
 

12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup

Written by: Solomon Northup
Narrated by: Louis Gossett, Jr.
Length: 7 hrs and 22 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:09-06-13
Publisher: Audible Studios

Hugh Quarshie reads the extraordinary autobiography of Solomon Northup. His harrowing true story, first published in 1853, was a key factor in the national debate over slavery prior to the American Civil War, significantly changing public opinion on the topic of abolition. It tells the horrifying tale of Solomon Northup, an educated, free black man living with his wife and children in New York State, whose life takes an appalling turn when he is kidnapped, drugged and sold into slavery.

Shipped to New Orleans, he endures the life of a slave in Louisiana’s isolated plantation country. For twelve long years, he endures the unimaginable brutality and inhumanity of daily life, while keeping his dignity intact and dreaming of one day returning home to the arms of his family.

Twelve Years a Slave is soon to be a major motion picture, starring Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender.

What I Thought:
This was very hard to listen to. I can’t imagine how it must have felt to someone to be born into slavery. But imagine being born free, and then as a married adult with children, being kidnapped and sold into slavery.

Some of the things Solomon and the other slaves had to endure at the hands of their master, and that they were forced to do to other slaves, were so horrible that I literally cringed. This was the first time I heard of a slave owner forcing a slave to harm another slave. What Solomon was forced to do to a female slave was shocking. No, it wasn’t sexual.

I can’t wrap my head around how someone could treat another human being that way.

I teared up many times during this book, especially when Solomon was finally rescued. I’m sure there were parts in the book that told of some of good times the slaves had, but honestly I don’t remember any specific thing. The torture the slaves endured is what I remember.

The audiobook I read was narrated by Louis Gossett, Jr. and I thought he did a good job, but his voice was so deep that at times the last word or two of a sentence was hard to understand.

This book will stay with me for a very long time.

Feb 272017
 

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A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley
Narrated by: Vikas Adam
Length: 7 hrs and 28 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:06-12-14
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.

At only five years old, Saroo Brierley got lost on a train in India. Unable to read or write or recall the name of his hometown or even his own last name, he survived alone for weeks on the rough streets of Calcutta before ultimately being transferred to an agency and adopted by a couple in Australia.

Despite his gratitude, Brierley always wondered about his origins. Eventually, with the advent of Google Earth, he had the opportunity to look for the needle in a haystack he once called home and pore over satellite images for landmarks he might recognize or mathematical equations that might further narrow down the labyrinthine map of India. One day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for and set off to find his family.

A Long Way Home is a moving, poignant, and inspirational true story of survival and triumph against incredible odds. It celebrates the importance of never letting go of what drives the human spirit: Hope.

What I Thought:
Wow! This book had me from the first paragraph. It would be scary enough to be left in a place you’re not really familiar with, but on top of that his brother never comes back to get him. He can’t tell anyone anything that will help them find his family, and then he sets out on a journey that was scary for me as a reader, so I can’t even imagine what it was like for Saroo at the age of 5. Finally, after one horrible experience after another, Saroo is taken to a place where people help him find a family that wants to adopt him. Now, although he’s safe with people who care for him, he still has memories of his mom, brothers and sister, and wonders how they are, if they are looking for him, and if he’ll ever see them again.

Although he adjusts really well with his new family, those thoughts never leave him and he starts another journey to see if he can find them. Finally, he does and takes a trip back to India and sees his birth mom and siblings.

This is one of those books that I didn’t want to stop listening to for even a minute. I clung to every word, wanting to hear what happened next.

The book is narrated by Vikas Adam, and he did a great job. Very easy to listen too.

I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait to see the movie The Lion (hopefully tomorrow) based on the book. If you haven’t read this yet, I 100% recommend it!

Feb 092017
 

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My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
Written by: Elizabeth Strout
Narrated by: Kimberly Farr
Length: 4 hrs and 12 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:01-12-16
Publisher: Random House Audio

Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.

What I Thought:
Lucy hasn’t had the best life. Her childhood was spent being so poor that they barely had enough food, didn’t have indoor plumbing for a long while, and she was picked on at school, mostly because of the clothes she wore.

What she did have was gentle heart and a lot of love for her family, her two daughters, and for writing. She also said many times throughout the book about the people she had met, that she loved “her” “him”, “them”. She was very grateful for the people who showed her any kindness.

The book is about Lucy’s life, told in a random order, whatever she thinks of at the time. Still, there’s an even flow to the story.

I thought the conversations between Lucy and her mom were a bit strange at times. I can’t imagine having a relationship like that with my mom.

The narrator did a great job with each characters. I thought it was interesting tha there were characters with the last name Nicely. It’s a very unusual name, and is my mother’s maiden name.

This is the first time I’ve tried a Strout book, but I plan on reading/listening to more from her. I enjoyed learning about Lucy, she felt like a friend telling me her life’s story.

The ending came quite abruptly though, I would have liked more.

Feb 062017
 

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Miracle at the Higher Grounds Café  by Max Lucado

with Candace Lee , Eric Newman
Narrated by: Ben Holland
Length: 5 hrs and 39 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:02-03-15
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers

Chelsea Chambers is on her own. After a public split from her NFL superstar husband, Chelsea takes a bold step out of the limelight and behind the counter of the Higher Grounds Café, an old-fashioned coffee shop in dire need of reinvention. But when her courage, expert planning, and out-of-this-world cupcakes fail to pay the bills, this newly single mom finds herself desperate for help. Better yet, a miracle.

Then a curious stranger lands at Chelsea’s door, and with him, an even more curious string of events. Soon, customers are flocking to the Higher Grounds Café, and not just for the cupcakes and cappuccino. They’ve come for the internet connection to the divine. Now the café has become the go-to place for people in search of answers to life’s biggest questions.

When a catastrophe strikes and her ex comes calling, Chelsea begins to wonder if the whole universe is conspiring against her quest to make it on her own. After a shocking discovery opens her eyes to the unseen world around her, Chelsea finds the courage to ask God a question of her own. Heaven answers in a most unexpected way.

What I Thought
I was excited to listen to this book. I liked the blurb and thought it would be an uplifting story, and it was. I liked all the characters, especially Manny. He sure added a lot to the story, and I grew very fond of him and his quirkiness.

While I liked Chelsea, she jumped to conclusions a bit too quickly for me, especially about her husband. Everything is not what it seems, which she found out.

The narrator was good, but it seemed that he took a big deep breath at the beginning of most sentence, and listening to that over and over kind of got on my nerves. He did, however, do a terrific job with all the different voices.

This was a quick listen, just a bit over 5 1/2 hours. I liked that it was a good clean book with a positive message. I really enjoyed this book.

Jan 262017
 

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A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Narrated by: George Newbern
Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:08-05-14
Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon – the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him ‘the bitter neighbor from hell.’ But behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

What I Thought
I started this audio book a few months ago but didn’t finish it. Then I started it again, and again I didn’t finish it. To be honest, Ove got on my nerves. I thought he was a grumbling grouch. I decided to give it one more try since I kept seeing so many 5 star reviews for it. This time, finally, Ove’s gruff personality didn’t seem so annoying. I actually started liking him. I laughed more than a few times at some of the things he said and thought. I especially thought the names he gave everyone were funny…the lanky one, the pregnant one, white shirt etc.

Poor Ove can’t stand things that are not what he thinks they should be. It truly angers him. He says “right is right and wrong is wrong” quite often throughout the book. And he can’t trust anyone who doesn’t drive a Saub, among other things.

I loved learning about Sonia, I liked her a lot. I felt bad for Ove because I know what it feels like to lose your spouse.

There a quite a few characters in the book, all personable except for two (not counting Ove), and I enjoyed each one of them. I loved all the different stories from Ove & Sonia’s past, and how Ove’s relationships with the other characters grew into something that surprised everyone who lived in his neighborhood. I was surprised too. I  learned that there was a kind soul behind all that gruffness. I loved how Ove fought so hard for the right thing concerning the people he cared about, just because “it’s the right thing to do”.

I’m so glad I gave this audio book another chance. It made me laugh a lot, and even made my eyes leak a few times.

This was the first book I’ve listened to that is narrated by George Newbern. I’m very picky about narrator’s, but I thought he did an amazing job with all the voices. He made the book very easy to listen to.

Although it took me a few times to start enjoying the book, (I don’t think I gave it enough time the first two times I started it), I ended up loving it, and I even ended up loving Ove.

I highly recommend this, both print and audio.

Jan 012017
 

As you can see, I tried audiobooks in 2014 but didn’t really enjoy them.
Then I decided to try them again in 2017 and fell in love with them.

2017 (21 Audiobooks)
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Miracle at the Higher Grounds Café by Max Lucado
My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley
12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup
Room by Emma Donoghue
Prayers For Sale by Sandra Dallas
Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
The Broken Road by Richard Paul Evans
Faithful by Alice Hoffman
The Curious Charms Of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Goldy’s Kitchen Cookbook by Diane Mott Davidson
And We’re Off by Dana Schwartz
Walking with Miss Millie by Tamara Bundy
The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne
Healthy Five Ingredient Recipes by Hannie P. Scott
The Sacrifice by Indrajit Garai
Fistful of Love by Om Swami
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney
Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam
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.
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2014 : (7 Audiobooks)
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
What’s So Funny by Tim Conway
Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler
The History Lover’s Cookbook by Roxe Ann Peacock
Can You Hear The Music? by Sandra Farris
Maisy And The Missing Mice by Elizabeth Woodrum
Bones In Her Pocket by Kathy Reichs

 

Aug 032014
 

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The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Narrator: Gary Farmer
Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 12 hours and 39 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: HarperAudio
Audible.com Release Date: October 2, 2012
Whispersync for Voice: Ready
Language: English
ASIN: B009KEZ2Y6

In the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. While his father, who is a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe sets out to get some answers of his own. The quest takes him first to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe. And this is only the beginning. Louise Erdrich’s novel embraces tragedy, the comic, a spirit world very much present in the lives of her all-too human characters, and a tale of injustice that is, unfortunately, an authentic reflection of what happens in our own world today.

Thoughts
This story highlights how a terrible attack on someone not only highly effects that person, but also their family and friends. This is such a sad story, but one that also has some humor thrown in, and is very thought provoking.

The idea of your mom having such a horrible thing happen to her, and then she locks herself in her room, and you may never see the person who did this punished for it…what a heavy weight on Joe’s shoulders. He felt a mix of emotions, loss as his mother shut herself away from him, anger that his father, who was a judge on the reservation, couldn’t seem to bring the guilty to justice.  And so, he wanted to get revenge himself. I loved the relationships between Joe, Cappy, Angus and Jake. I’m glad he had someone to help him through this tough time.

The author did such a great job with the story line and characters that I had to keep reminding myself that this was a work of fiction. What happens in this book can and does happen, and you get a glimpse of Native American traditions and laws which added to the non fiction feel.

Excellent book, although the ending wasn’t what I wanted.

I listened to this on my iPod and thought the narrator did a great job.

Jul 302014
 

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What’s So Funny by Tim Conway
Jane Scovell (Author, Narrator), Carol Burnett (Author, Narrator), Dick Hill (Narrator)

Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 8 hours and 39 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Audible.com Release Date: October 30, 2013
Whispersync for Voice: Ready
Language: English
ASIN: B00GBCFR40

Six-time Emmy Award–winning funnyman Tim Conway, best known for his characters on The Carol Burnett Show, offers a straight-shooting and hilarious memoir about his life on stage and off as an actor and comedian.

In television history, few entertainers have captured as many hearts and made as many people laugh as Tim Conway. There’s nothing in the world that Tim Conway would rather do than entertain—and in his first-ever memoir, What’s So Funny?, that’s exactly what he does. From his pranks in small Ohio classrooms to his perfor­mances on national television and movies, Tim has been cracking people up for more than seventy years. Long regarded as one of the funniest come­dians around, Tim also boasts an inspiring rags-to-riches story.

What’s So Funny? captures Tim’s journey from life as an only child raised by loving but outra­geous parents in small-town Ohio during the Great Depression, to his tour of duty in the Army—which would become training for his later role in McHale’s Navy—to his ascent as a national star and household name. By tracing his early path, this book reveals the origins of many of Tim’s unforgettable characters—from Mr. Tudball and the Oldest Man to Mickey Hart to everyone’s favorite, Dorf.

What’s So Funny? shares the hilarious accounts of the glory days of The Carol Burnett Show and his famous partnerships with entertainment greats like Harvey Korman, Don Knotts, Dick Van Dyke, Betty White, Vicki Lawrence, Bob Newhart, and of course, Carol Burnett. As a bonus, readers will enjoy never-before-shared stories of hilarious behind-the-scenes antics on McHale’s Navy and The Carol Burnett Show.

Thoughts
I’ve loved Tim Conway since the first time I saw him, and watching him on the Carol Burnett show made me laugh until my jaw and sides hurt. If you saw the show where he walked down the wall instead of the stairs, or where he was talking about an elephant, you know what I mean. When I was in middle school, one of my teachers told us she went to school with him in Willoughby , Ohio (not far from where I lived) and that he was just as funny even as child.

This book lets us into the life and thoughts of this man, who in my opinion is one of the funniest people, and best comedic actors, ever! I know about his childhood and his unusual parents who he calls by their first names, Sophie and Dan. They were very different from my parents, and did quirky, even strange things. There was a part in the audio where he talked about his mom not likeing a certain family in the neighborhood, so whenever they saw the family coming up the driveway, they’d shut the curtains and hide under the kitcen table! Another thing that stuck out in my mind was when he was going to New York, and his dad told him to go see his sister who he hadn’t seen for years (after they came to the U.S. from Ireland, they lost contact) and when Tim got to her apartment she wouldn’t open the door, so he talked to her very shortly through the door and then he left. This was after he was famous even. But she said she didn’t watch tv so didn’t really know who he was. All I can figure is that she was older and lived alone in New York so was leery that he was even who he said he was, and too afraid to open the door to a strange man.

I could go on and on, but think you should either read the book or listen to the audio version for yourself. It is a LOL audio that I plan on listening to from time to time, whenever I need a feel good listen or a laugh.

Highly recommended!

Jun 262014
 

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Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler

Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 9 hours and 58 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Audible.com Release Date: March 11, 2014

Welcome to Little Wing.

It’s a place like hundreds of others, nothing special, really. But for four friends—all born and raised in this small Wisconsin town—it is home. And now they are men, coming into their own or struggling to do so.

One of them never left, still working the family farm that has been tilled for generations. But others felt the need to move on, with varying degrees of success. One trades commodities, another took to the rodeo circuit, and one of them even hit it big as a rock star. And then there’s Beth, a woman who has meant something special in each of their lives.

Now all four are brought together for a wedding. Little Wing seems even smaller than before. While lifelong bonds are still strong, there are stresses—among the friends, between husbands and wives. There will be heartbreak, but there will also be hope, healing, even heroism as these memorable people learn the true meaning of adult friendship and love.

Seldom has the American heartland been so richly and accurately portrayed. Though the town may have changed, the one thing that hasn’t is the beauty of the Wisconsin farmland, the lure of which, in Nickolas Butler’s hands, emerges as a vibrant character in the story. Shotgun Lovesongs is that rare work of fiction that evokes a specific time and place yet movingly describes the universal human condition. It is, in short, a truly remarkable book—a novel that once read will never be forgotten.

Thoughts
This is a story centered around a few friends who were raised in a small town, went their own ways and then come back together for a wedding. I lived in a small town for a few years as a teen, so I could relate somewhat to this story. I’ve known a Kip, a Ronny, a Leland, a Hank and a Beth. I know that the author nailed the people and life of a small town.

It’s told by alternating characters, which I thought would be strange, but didn’t take away from the story at all. The story moves at a steady pace, then slows for a teeny bit, and then picks up again. Even through the slow part, I never lost interest.

The characters were well written and I enjoyed them all, as well as every aspect of their relationships…the good and the bad parts. The book made me feel so many different emotions. The characters portrayed love, sorrow, happiness, hope and disappointment.

This is a really good book that will be in my head for a while. It brought back so many good memories of living in a small town and I was so drawn to what was going on and to the characters that I was sad when I was finished. I hope the author has plans to bring these characters back in a future book. Either way, I look forward to more from Nickolas Butler.

I listened to the audio cd version of this book, which had multiple narrators. Since I’m so picky when it comes to narrators, I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to handle listening to this. I was pleasantly surprised. None of the voices grated on my nerves or made me want to turn it off.  The author did good on choosing all the narrators, and now I have some more names to add to my listenable list!