Apr 022020
 

With the Fire on High audiobook cover art

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Narrated by: Elizabeth Acevedo
Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 05-07-19
Language: English
Publisher: Quill Tree Books

Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions – doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.

Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.

Thoughts
I loved the story, the characters, the food, and flow of this book. Emoni had a lot to deal with in her life, but she was level headed, knew what she wanted, and trudged ahead to make sure she reached her goals so that she could give her daughter “Baby Girl” everything she needed. I loved the relationship between her and her abuela. Both of my grandmothers passed away when I was really young and I don’t remember them, so those parts of the book were very touching to me.

I really enjoyed reading about the trip to Spain. I would have loved to have taken a trip like that when I was in school. The relationship with her boyfriend Malichi was just what it should have been, but now I’m wondering what happened to them after the book ended.

I loved how the family recipes connected Emoni, her abuela, and her aunt. The one thing I wish is that all of the recipes would have had ingredient amounts.

This is a great book and I recommend it to anyone who likes family/women relationships or culinary themed fiction books.

The author did a great job with the narration!

Here is one of the recipes in the book:
Part 3: The Bittersweet
Emoni, When The World Tries To Break You, Break Beer Bread With Those You Love
Serves Your Strength When You Feel Alone

Ingredients:
3 double scoops of flour
4 thumbs of white sugar
1/2 stick of melted butter
2 bottles of beer
a sprinkle of Sage
a sprinkle of Island Oregano

Directions:
1: Preheat oven to 400°
Mix all ingredients except herbs until it’s a smooth mixture
Mix Sage and Island Oregano into the batter

2:
Spread the mixture into a greased bread pan
Spread some more butter over the top

3:
Bake the bread for the entirety of Bad Bunny’s last album

Mar 112020
 

Edith and the Mysterious Stranger: A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho

Edith and the Mysterious Stranger: A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho
Book 2
by Linda Weaver Clarke
Narrated by Carolyn Kashner

Length: 6 hrs and 33 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: March 26, 2018
Language: English
Publisher: Red Mountain Shadows Publishing

In this inspirational historical romance, Edith is a nurse and has gone home to assist her cousin who is “with child.” Edith has wonderful qualities but never gives a man a second chance because her expectations are so high. However, all that changes when a mysterious stranger starts writing to her. For the first time, she gets to know a man’s inner soul before making any harsh judgments.

Whoever he is, this man is a mystery and the best thing that has ever happened to her. The question that puzzles her is whether or not he’s as wonderful in person as he is in his letters.

Thoughts
This is the second book in the series, and this time we meet Edith, a nurse, who has gone back home to help with her cousin Melinda’s pregnancy and birth.  Melinda and her husband Gilbert are from book 1 in this series, as is Jenny, Gilbert’s daughter and Melinda’s step daughter.

I loved the first book so I thought I might like the rest of the books in the series. I’m not a big fan of historical fiction, but I loved the first 2 books in the series, so I will be listening to the rest.

I loved the “secret admirer” aspect of the book and spent most of the book trying to figure out which man he was. There was one part that threw me off a bit but I kept reading and pretty much had figured it out by the time he was revealed, which didn’t take away from the book at all.

This book was a nice short read (listen) and I liked it from the beginning to the end. It had a bit of everything, friendships, first loves, humor, and even a few situations that were a bit tense.

As I said above, I’m not a big fan of historical fiction, but this series is changing my mind.

Highly recommended whether you’re a fan of historical fiction or not.

Audiobook Challenge

2020 Reading Challenge Month-by-Month

Feb 282020
 

Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service

Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service by Gary Sinise

Narrated by: Gary Sinise

Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 02-12-19
Language: English
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

As a kid in suburban Chicago, Gary Sinise was more interested in sports and rock ‘n’ roll than reading or schoolwork. But when he impulsively auditioned for a school production of West Side Story, he found his purpose – or so it seemed.

Within a few years, Gary and a handful of friends created what became one of the most exciting and important new theater companies in America. From its humble beginnings in a suburban Chicago church basement and eventual move into the city, the Steppenwolf Theatre Company launched a series of groundbreaking productions, igniting Gary’s career along with those of John Malkovich, Joan Allen, Gary Cole, Laurie Metcalf, Jeff Perry, John Mahoney, and others. Television and film came calling soon after, and Gary starred in Of Mice and Men (which he also directed) and The Stand before taking the role that would change his life in unforeseeable ways: Lieutenant Dan in the Academy Award-winning Forrest Gump.

The military community’s embrace of the character of the disabled veteran was matched only by the depth of Gary’s realization that America’s defenders had not received all the honor, respect, and gratitude their sacrifices deserve. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, this became Gary’s mission. While starring in hits like Apollo 13, Ransom, Truman, George Wallace, CSI:NY, and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Gary has worked tirelessly on behalf of those who serve this country, entertaining more than a half-million troops around the world playing bass guitar with his Lt. Dan Band, raising funds on behalf of veterans, and eventually founding the Gary Sinise Foundation with a mission to serve and honor America’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need.

Grateful American is the moving, entertaining, profoundly gripping story of how one man found his calling: to see that those who defend this country and its freedoms are never forgotten.

Thoughts
I’ve been a fan of Gary Sinise for a lot of years. I love his acting, how much he’s done for vets, his band (Lt. Dan Band),  and after listening to this book I like him even more.

The book is full of so many stories about his life from childhood through adulthood. I learned about things that he and his wife have gone through in their marriage and as parents, and so much more. He has led a very interesting life full of ups and downs, and if you read this you’ll find out what an amazing man, husband, and father he is. I knew quite a bit about what he’s done but this book is full of things that I had no clue about.

I loved this book and recommend it whether you are a fan of Gary’s or not.

Audiobook Challenge

2020 Reading Challenge Month-by-Month

Feb 132020
 

Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith, and Braving the Storms of Life

Forever and Ever, Amen:
A Memoir of Music, Faith, and Braving the Storms of Life by Randy Travis
Ken Abraham – contributor

Narrated by: Rory Feek
Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 05-14-19

Narrated by: Rory Feek
Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 05-14-19

The long-awaited, deeply personal story of one of American music’s greatest icons, a remarkable tale of the utmost heights of fame and success, the deepest lows of life’s sorrows, and a miraculous return from the brink of death – told as only Randy Travis can.

Beloved around the world, Randy Travis has sold more than 25 million albums in both country and gospel genres and is considered one of the finest performers of his generation, admired by superstars across the musical landscape, from Garth Brooks to Mick Jagger.

From a working-class background in North Carolina to a job as a cook and club singer in Nashville to his “overnight success” with his smash 1986 album Storms of Life – which launched the neotraditional movement in country music – Randy’s first three decades are a true rags-to-riches story.

But in 2009, this seemingly charmed life began a downward spiral. His marriage dissolved, he discovered that his finances had unraveled, and his struggles with anger led to alcohol abuse, public embarrassment, and even police arrest in 2012.

Then, just as he was putting his life back together, Randy suffered a devastating viral cardiomyopathy that led to a massive stroke he was not expected to survive. Yet he not only survived but also learned to walk again and in 2016 accepted his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame by singing the hymn that explains his life today: “Amazing Grace.”

Filled with never-before-told stories, Forever and Ever, Amen is a riveting tale of unfathomable success, great joy, deep pain, and redemption that can come only from above.

Dive into Randy’s story with photos available in the audiobook companion PDF download.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

Thoughts
I enjoyed this audiobook so much. I learned about Randy’s childhood, his teen years, how he got started in the music industry, and more. It was all very interesting.

I  really only listened to classic rock up until the time I met my husband in the late 80’s. He liked all genres of music so I got used to listening to a lot of different music. Soon I was a fan of many different country stars, including Randy Travis.

There were parts of this book that were funny, but also a lot of sad things.  I learned so much about his life, and I’m sure there are many people who would learn a lot about him too.

I liked hearing about his career and the people he met, many famous names! I was sad to learn that his first manager/wife (Lib) controlled almost everything in his life, including who he spent his spare time with and his finances, and that she took so much from him. I liked her in the beginning of the book but then her true colors came out. I don’t think she was/is a person any of us would want to have in our lives. Read/listen to the book and I think you’ll agree.

Randy’s life was filled with super highs and super lows, and it breaks my heart to learn that Lib took such advantage of him. It was implied in the book that she was the one who took almost every penny he ever made, and I couldn’t think of anyone else who would have done it since the book stated she was the one person in control of everything. She also took most all of his belongings without his knowledge when she left because of their divorce. Thankfully, he found happiness with his second wife Mary.

He was always a trusting, kind person, and he has been taken advantage of, and that is so sad to me. Randy is a Christian, who has done un-Christian like things, which is true of a lot of Christians. But I’m glad that both his faith and wife Mary got him through the massive stroke and coma that almost took his life.

This was read by Rory Feek and he did a great job!

Audiobook Challenge

Nonfiction Challenge: Memoir

Jan 152020
 

It’s Not What It Looks Like by Molly Burke

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 3 hours and 5 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Original recording
Publisher: Audible Original
Audible.com Release Date: August 1, 2019
Language: English, English
ASIN: B07TXLSL83

Close your eyes and get ready to see the world in a new and more positive way. As a child in Toronto, Molly Burke was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa and became completely sightless as a teenager. Now an award-winning YouTube star and global Influencer, Molly shares what it’s like to be a purple-haired, pink-obsessed fashion and makeup lover in a seeing world. She speaks with authenticity and candor about how she tackles the preconceived notions we have around blindness; Molly has made it her mission to make us see her – and ourselves- in a wholly empowering way. Learn about her struggles with bullying and anxiety, her quest for inclusivity, how she built a successful Influencer business (with more than 1.8 million followers), and what it’s really like to travel with the true star of this audio, her service dog, Gallop.

Thoughts
I had never heard of Molly Burke before seeing this Audible Original. After listening to it I subscribed to her YouTube channel.

Molly tells us what it was like loosing her site from a young age and up to the time she wrote the book. I learned alot about what it would be like to loose your site slowly, after years of being able to see. She is brutaly honest about many things, and talks about her fears, accomplishments, family, friends and what it was like to be bullied for being blind. That part upset me a lot. Bullying is just plan wrong in any circumstance, but especially so when the person is disabled in any way.

I really enjoyed listening to Molly talk about her service dogs, her love for them was evident in her voice. She talked about how people can make it so hard for someone who depends on a service dog, and what is ok and not ok to do when you see someone with a service dog.

I enjoyed listening to this audiobook, the author did a great job with the narration. I would recommend it to everyone.

2020 Diversity Challenge

2020 Non-Fiction Challenge: Medical Issue

2020 Audiobook Challenge

Jan 092020
 

Regretting You audiobook cover art

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

Narrated by: Tanya Eby, Lauren Ezzo
Length: 11 hrs and 17 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 12-10-19
Language: English
Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.

Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.

With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.

While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.

Thoughts
This book had my feelings all over the place. At first I was thinking “this book is so good! I love Morgan, Chris, Jenny, Jonah and Clara”. Then I was thinking “Morgan and Clara are so aggravating. What in the world is wrong with them?”

Then slowly, things happened that made me like them again. And I loved Johna, Miller and his gramps all the way through the book.

This is a book that took me on a roller coaster of feelings. I laughed with them, cried with them, and felt their pain. And in the end I loved them again.

The two narrators did a great job!

This is the first book I’ve read by Hoover, but I plan on reading more from her. This book was outstanding!

2020 Reading Challenge Month-by-Month

2020 Audiobook Challenge

 

Oct 052019
 

The Lido by Libby Page

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 9 hours and 18 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Audible.com Release Date: July 10, 2018

A tender, joyous debut novel about a cub reporter and her 86-year-old subject – and the unlikely and life-changing friendship that develops between them.

Kate is a 26-year-old riddled with anxiety and panic attacks who works for a local paper in Brixton, London, covering forgettably small stories. When she’s assigned to write about the closing of the local lido (an outdoor pool and recreation center), she meets Rosemary, an 86-year-old widow who has swum at the lido daily since it opened its doors when she was a child. It was here Rosemary fell in love with her husband, George; here that she’s found communion during her marriage and since George’s death. The lido has been a cornerstone in nearly every part of Rosemary’s life.

But when a local developer attempts to buy the lido for a posh new apartment complex, Rosemary’s fond memories and sense of community are under threat.

As Kate dives deeper into the lido’s history – with the help of a charming photographer – she pieces together a portrait of the pool and a portrait of a singular woman, Rosemary. What begins as a simple local interest story for Kate soon blossoms into a beautiful friendship that provides sustenance to both women as they galvanize the community to fight the lido’s closure. Meanwhile, Rosemary slowly, finally, begins to open up to Kate, transforming them both in ways they never knew possible.

In the tradition of Fredrik Backman, The Lido is a charming, feel-good novel that captures the heart and spirit of a community across generations – an irresistible tale of love, loss, aging, and friendship.

Thoughts
I’ve had this book on my list for a while. I don’t know why it took me so long to get to it but I’m so glad I decided to move it to the top of my list.

I loved Rosemary! She is 86 and a widow who swims at the Lido every day and has been going there since it opened when she was a child. I loved learning about her life and her love for her husband George and their life together, and her love for the Lido.

Kate was a great character also. She is 26-year-old, works for a newspaper and suffers from anxiety, but with the help of Rosemary, the Lido,  and a man she starts having a relationship with (can’t remember his name), she finally starts living a “normal” life.

Together these two women, with the help of the community, set out to stop the Lido from being demolished and turned into an apartment complex.

This is a fantastic book that will be going on my “favorite” list for this year. The characters were full of love for their community, each other, and doing whatever it took to save the Lido. It was an awesome story that will stay with me for a very long time and I have a feeling I’ll be listening, or reading, it again.

This is the first book by Libby Page . I will be keeping an eye out for her next book, The 24-Hour Café which is scheduled to be released January 23rd in the UK, and hopefully soon after in the U.S.

Sep 252019
 

 

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Narrated by Christopher Welch

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 6 hours and 56 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: HarperAudio
Audible.com Release Date: May 13, 2008

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.
Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition. He sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny’s wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoe, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoe at his side.

Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life…as only a dog could tell it.

Thoughts
Anyone who knows me knows that I love dogs. I really can’t believe I missed this book when it was released, or since.

I absolutely loved Enzo and Denny! I loved that Enzo could understand what humans were saying and that although he could talk in his head, he couldn’t make the words come out of his mouth.

The story starts when Enzo is just a puppy and follows him throughout his life. The bond between him and Denny was so touching, and later when Eve and Zoe came along the relationships with them were too.

Enzo only wants the best for his people and does everything he can to help them. His favorite thing other than eating of course is speeding along the track with Denny.

I don’t want to give much away, but Enzo knows things that he wishes he could tell them, and he does what he can to protect them when they need it.

There was one part of the book when things looked very sad/bad for Denny, but with the light bulb moment of  someone also trying to help Denny, Enzo saves the day. That part was amazing, and I wish it was an actual thing.

This book sent me on a roller coaster ride of emotions, I had all the feels listening to this.

I didn’t see the movie when it came out because I wanted to read the book first, but now I need to find a copy!

If you haven’t read this yet, just do it! I’m sorry I waited so long.

Aug 072019
 

Summer of '69

Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand
Narrated by Erin Bennett

Audio CD
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company; Unabridged edition (June 18, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1549119370
ISBN-13: 978-1549119378

Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century. It’s 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother’s historic home in downtown Nantucket. But like so much else in America, nothing is the same: Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests and determined to be independent, takes a summer job on Martha’s Vineyard. Only-son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother and her worried mother, each of them hiding a troubling secret. As the summer heats up, Ted Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, man flies to the moon, and Jessie and her family experience their own dramatic upheavals along with the rest of the country.

In her first historical novel, rich with the details of an era that shaped both a nation and an island thirty miles out to sea, Elin Hilderbrand once again earns her title as queen of the summer novel.

Thoughts
I loved everything about this book. It takes place in Nantucket and a lot of it is centered at the beach. I loved most of the characters but there were two that I wanted to shake from time to time.

The book is about a family who gets along really well. Even though they all love Grandmother Exalta, she is known for putting a damper on things.

I loved how they genuinely cared for each other and the book brought back a lot of emotions from my own childhood.  Jessie and Tiger reminded me of me and my twin brother. We were 11 yrs. old in ’69 and we got along really good from the time we were infants. Another thing that was similar was that Rick went into the Marines not long after high school. We had 3 older sisters and this book took me back in time to many good memories of growing up with my sisters and brother.

The book has a lot of references to 1969 like Woodstock, the moon landing, the Vietnam war, and the incident at Chappaquiddick in which Ted Kennedy’s car went over the the side of the  bridge  and 28 yr. old Mary Jo Kopechne died. I remember all of those things.

This book made me feel all kinds of emotions. I was engrossed in it from the beginning to the end and was sorry when it was over. I wanted more.

Hilerbrand did a great job with this book, especially since it was her first historical fiction. I listened to the audio cd version of the book and really enjoyed the narration.  Erin Bennett has a voice that is very easy to listen to.

I highly recommed this book!

Jul 112019
 

Have You Seen Luis Velez?

Have You Seen Luis Valez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Narrated by Michael Crouch

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 11 hours and 30 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Audible.com Release Date: May 21, 2019

Raymond Jaffe feels like he doesn’t belong. Not with his mother’s new family. Not as a weekend guest with his father and his father’s wife. Not at school, where he’s an outcast. After his best friend moves away, Raymond has only two real connections: to the feral cat he’s tamed and to a blind ninety-two-year-old woman in his building who’s introduced herself with a curious question: Have you seen Luis Velez?

Mildred Gutermann, a German Jew who narrowly escaped the Holocaust, has been alone since her caretaker disappeared. She turns to Raymond for help, and as he tries to track Luis down, a deep and unexpected friendship blossoms between the two.

Despondent at the loss of Luis, Mildred isolates herself further from a neighborhood devolving into bigotry and fear. Determined not to let her give up, Raymond helps her see that for every terrible act the world delivers, there is a mirror image of deep kindness, and Mildred helps Raymond see that there’s hope if you have someone to hold on to.

Thoughts
I know I say “I loved this book” a lot. I really do love books so it’s unusual for me to find a book that I don’t love. So for this book, I’ll say I triple loved it! It is a great story of a teenager with a heart of gold. He is everything a mother wishes for her child to be. He is like my children. They also are very caring people.

I loved listening to how the friendship between Raymond and Mildred came about and how it grew with time. They both added so much to each other’s lives and made them so much better! From the beginning I was hoping they would become close friends and “save” each other.

So much happened in this book and I couldn’t wait to get back to listening so I could find out what was going to happen next. I felt like I knew these people and was sad when the book ended. It touched me deeply and I know I’ll listen to it again. I’m hoping there is a “book 2” so I can find out what happened to everyone after the book ended.

I’ve loved every book by Catherine Ryan Hyde that I’ve read, but this one is on the top of my favorites. The narrator did a great job too!

This audiobook is free with Kindle Unlimited so why not give it a try? If you do, I hope you love it as much as I did.

I’d rate this a 10★ and it will definitely be on my most favorite books ever & my favorites list for 2019.

 

Jul 102019
 

Turtle In Paradise by Jennifer Holmes

Narrated by Becca Battoe

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 3 hours and 47 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Listening Library
Audible.com Release Date: May 11, 2010

Life isn’t like the movies. But then again, 11-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple.

She’s smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it’s 1935 and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. So when Turtle’s mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn’t like kids, Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads off to Key West, Florida, to live with relatives she’s never met. Florida’s like nothing Turtle’s ever seen before though. It’s hot and strange, full of ragtag boy cousins, family secrets, scams, and even buried pirate treasure! Before she knows what’s happened, Turtle finds herself coming out of the shell she’s spent her life building, and as she does, her world opens up in the most unexpected ways. Filled with adventure, humor and heart, Turtle in Paradise is an instant classic both boys and girls will love.

Thoughts
The age range for this book is 8-12, but I think that’s off. I’m way older (way way way older) than 12 and I LOVED this book, as I think most people above 8 would.

It’s a cute book about a girl named Turtle who is sent to stay with an aunt and cousins whom she doesn’t really know, and how the summer unfolds. At first Turtle isn’t welcomed by her cousins, but they slowly accept her and they all become best friends.

It’s a really cute story and I enjoyed every minute of it. There are some very funny parts, but also some that are scary and/or sad. It’s only about 4 hours long so it’s a good choice for when you have a few free hours. I listened to it on my way to and from work.

The book is narrated by Becca Battoe who did an awesome job!

And yes, I would recommend it!

Jun 282019
 

Postcards From A Stranger by Imogen Clark

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 10 hours and 11 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Audible.com Release Date: August 7, 2018
Whispersync for Voice: Ready
Language: English, English
ASIN: B07F94Q1YP

A secret lies buried at the heart of her family—but it can’t stay hidden forever.

When Cara stumbles across a stash of old postcards in the attic, their contents make her question everything she thought she knew.

The story she pieces together is confusing and unsettling, and appears to have been patched over with lies. But who can tell her the truth? With her father sinking into Alzheimer’s and her brother reluctant to help, it seems Cara will never find the answers to her questions. One thing is clear, though: someone knows more than they’re letting on.

Torn between loyalty to her family and dread of what she might find, Cara digs into the early years of her parents’ troubled marriage, hunting down long-lost relatives who might help unravel the mystery. But the picture that begins to emerge is not at all the one she’d expected—because as she soon discovers, lies have a habit of multiplying . . .

Thoughts
Cara is still living in her childhood home, taking care of her father who has Alzheimer’s. One day she goes into the attic, a room her father forbid her and her brother to ever go into. In a box she finds some postcards which shocks her to her core and she realizes that everything she thought she knew about her parents is a lie.

Later, she finds out that what she thought the postcards meant was not the truth at all and she is completely shocked all over again.

She goes on a mission (alone because her brother doesn’t want to help her) to find out the details of what happened and  is shocked a few more times.

I loved that the author added so many surprises! The book first made me feel so sorry for Cara, and then I felt very happy for her at the end.

Thie twists and turns in this book kept me listening as often as I could!

Jun 262019
 

I'm Fine and Neither Are You

I’m Fine And Neither Are You by Camille Pagan

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 8 hours and 2 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Audible.com Release Date: April 1, 2019

Wife. Mother. Breadwinner. Penelope Ruiz-Kar is doing it all—and barely keeping it together. Meanwhile, her best friend, Jenny Sweet, appears to be sailing through life. As close as the two women are, Jenny’s passionate marriage, pristine house, and ultra-polite child stand in stark contrast to Penelope’s underemployed husband, Sanjay, their unruly brood, and the daily grind she calls a career.

Then a shocking tragedy reveals that Jenny’s life is far from perfect. Reeling, Penelope vows to stop keeping the peace and finally deal with the issues in her relationship. So she comes up with a radical proposal for Sanjay: both will write a list of changes they want each other to make—then commit to complete and total honesty.

What seems like a smart idea quickly spirals out of control, revealing new rifts and even deeper secrets. As Penelope stares down the possible implosion of her marriage, she must ask herself: When it comes to love, is honesty really the best policy?

Thoughts
Even though the synopsis is a bit misleading, I liked this book from start to finish.

The relationships between the two woman and their husband shows that when it comes to your friends, what you see with your eyes and hear with your ears can be misleading.

The two couples have real problems and struggles and it surprised me when I found out what was going on with Jenny. I liked that Penelope decided to make changes to hopfully improve her marriage, and I thought the author did a great job with the whole story. I enjoyed this book and I really liked the ending. And the title? I LOVE it!

The book is narrated by Amy McFadden who did a great job.

May 232019
 

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
Philip Gabriel (Translator)
Ray Porter (Narrator)

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 4 hours and 23 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Audible.com Release Date: July 29, 2008
Whispersync for Voice: Ready
Language: English, English
ASIN: B001DEWH9E

Equal parts training log, travelogue, and reminiscence, this revealing memoir covers his four-month preparation for the 2005 New York City Marathon. Settings range from Tokyo, where he once shared the course with an Olympian, to the Charles River in Boston among young women who outpace him. Through this marvelous lens of sport emerges a cornucopia of memories and insights: the eureka moment when he decided to become a writer, his triumphs and disappointments, his passion for vintage LPs, and the experience, after fifty, of having seen his race times improve and then fall back.

Thoughts
This was the first book by this author that I’ve read and I’m so glad I decided to try it. It let me into his life and where his mind goes when he’s running. This was a short book at almost 4 1/2 hours, but it seems like a much longer audio (in a good way) because of all the information and descriptions that make you feel as if you are there with him. He travels to a few different places/races and I loved going with him to all of them.

I’m not a runner or a writer, but I loved this book. It lets you into the mindset of Murakami when he’s on a run or writing. It shows how dedicated to both he is. It made me feel like I could do more than I ever thought I could, if I just make up my mind, 100%, to do it.

I’m very glad I listened to. this book. I haven’t quite decided which of his books I’ll choose next, but I will choose one. I may even re-listen to this one in the future. It has a very positive message, with some humor thrown in.

Apr 182019
 

Melinda and the Wild West: The Award Winning Original Version

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to the author for this review book!

Apr 122019
 

Audiobook Image

Always by Sarah Jio
Narrated by Brittany Pressley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apr 052019
 

Never Let You Go

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens
Narrated by Rachel Fulginiti

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

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

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

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

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

Mar 282019
 

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll
Narrated by Elizabeth Knowelden

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

What would it take to make you intervene?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mar 092019
 


Rapid Falls by Amber Cowie
Narrated by Kate Marcin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feb 082019
 

Nell and Lady by Ashley Farley
Narrated by Shannon McManus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The narrator did a great job!