Mar 012018
 

Nomadland audiobook cover art

Nomadland
Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century
By: Jessica Bruder
Narrated by: Karen White
Length: 9 hrs and 57 mins
Unabridged
Release date: 09-26-17
Language: English
Publisher: HighBridge, a Division of Recorded Books

From the beet fields of North Dakota to the wilderness campgrounds of California to an Amazon warehouse in Texas, people who once might have kicked back to enjoy their sunset years are hard at work. Underwater on mortgages or finding that Social Security comes up short, they’re hitting the road in astonishing numbers, forming a new community of nomads: RV and van-dwelling migrant laborers, or “workampers”.

Building on her groundbreaking Harper’s cover story, “The End of Retirement”, which brought attention to these formerly settled members of the middle class, Jessica Bruder follows one such RVer, Linda, between physically taxing seasonal jobs and reunions of her new van-dweller family, or “vanily”. Bruder tells a compelling, eye-opening tale of both the economy’s dark underbelly and the extraordinary resilience, creativity, and hope of these hardworking, quintessential Americans – many of them single women – who have traded rootedness for the dream of a better life.

Thoughts
I tried reading this book and just couldn’t get into it so I decided to try listening to the audio and that worked. I was hooked from the beginning and loved learning about this alternate lifestyle.

I’ve always thought it would be so neat to travel the country in an RV, camper, or travel van. I still think it would be, but now I know it’s not a great way to live for most people who must work also.

Most of these nomads were older, and I was really shocked by how some companies treat these people. It’s really hard work which is hard on the body, really long hours, and doesn’t pay much. One of the men in the book walked about 18 miles a day for his job. WOW!

I think if you had a small monthly income and would be ok with a less intense and/or part time job it would be a great way to live. But most of these people need full time.

Karen White did a great job of narrating this book.

This was a very good book. Makes me want to  listen to more like it.

I think the print would work for most people, but I’m on an audiobook kick this year (which is really surprising) and only a few print books have kept my attention. I usually have to switch to audio and then I’m ok with the book.

 

Counts toward the following challenges:

Audiobook
Non-Fiction
Monthly Motif

Feb 212018
 

Why I Hate Green Beans cover art

Why I Hate Green Beans by Lincee Ray
Narrated by Lincee Ray

Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 4 hours and 57 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Oasis Audio
Audible.com Release Date: February 9, 2018
Language: English

If there is one thing Lincee Ray has learned over the years, it’s that the majority of women on the planet struggle with insecurities. Our skinny jeans mock us. Our just-trying-to-help mothers are just driving us crazy. Our social media feeds taunt us with everyone else’s picture-perfect lives. It’s enough to send you on a gummy-bear bender while binge-watching Friends reruns and not showering for a week. Lincee knows. She’s been there. Right there, in fact. Gummy bears and all.

For every woman who’s ever wondered if she’s unlovable, uninteresting, or unattractive, Lincee offers her particular brand of hilarious (and hard-hitting) self-reflection. Like a true friend, she shows us that the fastest way to happiness is to embrace ourselves in all our imperfection, trust that God knew what he was doing when he made us, and maybe go buy a new tube of mascara.

Walk alongside Lincee as she discovers that her identity is not found in her job, her relationship status, her bank account, or her social circle. It’s found in Christ.

Thoughts
Lincee Ray is hilarious! I can’t even tell you how many times I laughed out loud while listening to this.

Lincee tells it all, from her family and childhood to her college years, marriage, divorce, and life after that.

Lincee is a good daughter, sister, aunt, friend. The stories she shares in this book are funny, heartwarming, and at times a bit more personal than I think I’d be willing to share.

I loved listening to her talk about her faith, which by the way is not preachy at all. It’s just her thoughts about the God she loves and relies on.

If you like a quick read that will brighten your day, pick up a copy of this book. I suggest the audiobook. Lincee brings an element to the book that I doubt you could get from the printed book.

I had never heard of Lincee before seeing this book. By the way I love the title (even though I love green beans). I am now a Lincee a fan. I follow her blog, and also her podcast on the Podcast app on my iPhone, but you can use another app or read it on her blog.

I highly recommend this book!

Counts toward the following challenges:

Audiobook
Non-Fiction

Feb 102018
 

Stowaway: A Young Man's Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica, Laurie Gwen Shapiro

The Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica
by Laurie Gwen Shapiro
Narrated by Jacques Roy

Listening Length: 6 hours and 28 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Audible.com Release Date: January 16, 2018
Language: English
ASIN: B078462RYY

The spectacular true story of a scrappy teenager from New York’s Lower East Side who stowed away on the Roaring Twenties’ most remarkable feat of science and daring: an expedition to Antarctica.

It was 1928: a time of illicit booze, of Gatsby and Babe Ruth, of freewheeling fun. The Great War was over, and American optimism was higher than the stock market. What better moment to launch an expedition to Antarctica, the planet’s final frontier? This was the moon landing before the 1960s. Everyone wanted to join the adventure. Rockefellers and Vanderbilts begged to be taken along as mess boys, and newspapers across the globe covered the planning’s every stage.

The night before the expedition’s flagship launched, Billy Gawronski – a skinny, first-generation New York City high schooler desperate to escape a dreary future in the family upholstery business – jumped into the Hudson River and snuck aboard.

Could he get away with it?

From the grimy streets of New York’s Lower East Side to the rowdy dance halls of sultry Francophone Tahiti, all the way to Antarctica’s blinding white and deadly freeze, Laurie Gwen Shapiro’s The Stowaway takes you on the unforgettable voyage of a gutsy young stowaway who became an international celebrity, a mascot for an up-by-your-bootstraps age.

THOUGHTS
This book was not what I thought it would be. I love true life adventure stories and was very excited to listen to The Stowaway. I wanted to go along with Billy to Antarctica, and experience all he did. Sadly, the book did not give me that. I  thought the book started out good. We learned about Billy, his parents, and his attempt to stowaway on the trip to Antarctica. We were told how he did this, how he was discovered, and then most of the book was focused more on other people and facts leading up to, during, and after the trip to Antarctica.

You can tell the author did a lot of research, and it was all interesting, it just wasn’t what I thought the book would be about. I wanted to take a trip to Antarctica. I barely got that from the book.

The narrator spoke in a dull monotone.  I easily could have fallen asleep, but I listened while driving so I didn’t. Only once or twice while he was repeating what a character in the book said did his voice come alive.

If you go into this book knowing that doesn’t give much of Billy’s personal experience, it may be a better fit for you than it was for me. I do know that I’m in the minority with my thoughts.

 

Counts toward the following challenges:

Audiobook
Non-Fiction

Feb 052018
 

Best Day Ever: A Psychological Thriller, Kaira Rouda

Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda
Narrated by Graham Halstead & Amy McFadden

Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 7 hours and 56 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Harlequin Audio
Audible.com Release Date: September 19, 2017

“As I opened the door and stepped into the humid night, her scream followed me out. But I knew there was still love for me in her heart….

“I’m unforgettable.”

Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys, and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he’s promised today will be the best day ever.

But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them, and doubts start to arise. How perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really? How much do they trust each other? Is Paul the person he seems to be? And what are his secret plans for their weekend at the cottage?

Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Ever crackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion. In the best-selling vein of The Couple Next Door and The Dinner, Kaira Rouda weaves a gripping, tautly suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal dark enough to destroy a marriage…or a life.

Thoughts
It had been a while since I’ve read a thriller so when I kept seeing glowing reviews of this book I decided I’d give it a listen. Oh how glad I am that I did!

Paul Strom is successful, he’s handsome, he’s a good husband & father. At the beginning of the book, about 5 minutes, I liked him, he seemed to love his family and be thoughtful. But then he kept talking.  And the more he talked the more I discovered that he’s the biggest narcissist I’ve ever ran across in my years of reading.

As they ride in the car to their lake house, little arguments start and I can tell something is going to happen to make this not the best day ever. And boy does it. I don’t want to give to much away and spoil it for anyone who wants to give the book a try, so I won’t say much more. I think anything else will be “tmi” since the book was all about the “bad” parts of the day.

Paul narrates the whole book from his viewpoint. I kept wanting to hear Nia’s side but she didn’t get a voice until the end.

I wish the book had been longer. I want to know what the future brought for Paul, Nia, and the boys. We got a little info about Nia and the boys future, but I wanted to know what the future held for Paul.

Both narrators did a great job, especially Paul. He WAS the character.

I could not stop listening to this audiobook. It’s definitely going on my list of favorites for 2018.

 

Counts toward the following challenge:

Audiobook

Feb 012018
 

The Last Ballad cover art

The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash
Narrated by Karen WhiteElizabeth Wiley

Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 14 hours and 6 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Harper Audio
Audible.com Release Date: October 3, 2017

Twelve times a week, 28-year-old Ella May Wiggins makes the two-mile trek to and from her job on the night shift at American Mill No. Two in Bessemer City, North Carolina. The insular community considers the mill’s owners – the newly arrived Goldberg brothers – white but not American and expects them to pay Ella May and other workers less because they toil alongside African Americans like Violet, Ella May’s best friend. While the dirty, hazardous job at the mill earns Ella May a paltry nine dollars for 72 hours of work each week, it’s the only opportunity she has. Her no-good husband, John, has run off again, and she must keep her four young children alive with whatever work she can find.

When the union leaflets begin circulating, Ella May has a taste of hope, a yearning for the better life the organizers promise. But the mill owners, backed by other nefarious forces, claim the union is nothing but a front for the Bolshevik menace sweeping across Europe. To maintain their control, the owners will use every means in their power, including bloodshed, to prevent workers from banding together. On the night of the county’s biggest rally, Ella May, weighing the costs of her choice, makes up her mind to join the movement – a decision that will have lasting consequences for her children, her friends, her town – indeed all that she loves.

Seventy-five years later, Ella May’s daughter Lilly, now an elderly woman, tells her nephew about his grandmother and the events that transformed their family. Illuminating the most painful corners of their history, she reveals, for the first time, the tragedy that befell Ella May after that fateful union meeting in 1929.

Intertwining myriad voices, Wiley Cash brings to life the heartbreak and bravery of the now forgotten struggle of the labor movement in early 20th-century America – and pays tribute to the thousands of heroic women and men who risked their lives to win basic rights for all workers. Lyrical, heartbreaking, and haunting, this eloquent novel confirms Wiley Cash’s place among our nation’s finest writers.

THOUGHTS
I went back and forth about whether to listen to this book or not, and I’m really glad I decided to give it a try. I liked the story from the beginning and stayed hooked until the end.

I liked Ella May. She lived and worked alongside her neighbors and friends, many of whom were African Americans, not very heard of during that time, and wanted what was best for them. She was only 28 yrs. old, but was raising four children, mainly alone, because her husband came and went as he pleased.

I liked most all the characters in the book, especially Hampton Haywood and Katherine McAdam. I didn’t like the mill owners and the other “nefarious forces”. Because of them, many people were hurt or killed.

I liked the alternating voices. The book is based on true facts and it is a very important part of our history.

This is the first book by this author that I’ve read and now I want to read his other books.

 

Counts toward the following challenge:

Audiobook

Jan 192018
 

The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse

Narrated by Amanda Prowse
Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 9 hours and 31 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Audible.com Release Date: August 22, 2017

Nina McCarrick has it all: a loving husband, two beautiful boys, a well-appointed home and more time than she knows what to do with. Life is perfect. Until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.

Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina’s life of luxury quickly disappears and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate – and the sister – she thought she had left far behind.

But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed – her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.

Stirring and empowering, this novel from bestselling author Amanda Prowse once again plumbs the depths of human experience in this tale of one woman’s loss and love.

THOUGHTS
The book is sad and I felt for Nina and her boys. I can’t imagine having that kind of lifestyle and then losing it within a few days.

I liked Nina. She didn’t know how she was going to take care of her family, but she figured it out while trying to make sure her boys were ok. I liked her youngest son Declan. I thought for his young age he handled things really well. Conner on the other hand did not. And even though I understood, I still wanted Nina to handle him differently. She just took all his crap. She didn’t tell him the truth at the beginning. She let him blame her and talk awful to her. Thankfully he let the anger go towards the end of the book.

I liked this book a lot. It was nice seeing Nina and her boys go from such a great life, to an awful life, and then finding peace with their new, comfortable life.

The author did a great job with the narration. It was easy to listen to.

 

Counts toward the following challenge:

Audiobook

Jan 042018
 

Unashamed

Unashamed by Lecrae Moore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Counts toward the following challenges:

Audiobook
Non-Fiction
Monthly Motif

Dec 302017
 

Turtles All the Way Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dec 292017
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dec 172017
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dec 142017
 

Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff

Capital Gaines by Chip Gaines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Dec 012017
 

Talking as Fast as I Can cover art

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 272017
 

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

Narrated by the author

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 162017
 

Nourished by Lia Huber

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 082017
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 012017
 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct 232017
 

Here We Go Again Audiobook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

America loves you Betty!

Oct 162017
 

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sep 272017
 

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sep 212017
 

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

Narrated by Cassandra Campbell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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