Dec 312018
 

Hidden Secrets by Carolyn Brown
Narrated by Shannon McManus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I loved this book!

Counts toward the following challenge:
Audiobook

 Posted by at 6:26 PM
Dec 272018
 

Twas the Night before Christmas (Enhanced Edition with Original Illustrations): Magic Winter Literature

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore
Illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith

Age Range: 4 – 7 years
Series: Holiday Classics
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0544325249
ISBN-13: 978-0544325241

Everyone knows the famous beginning to this beloved holiday poem: “’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house . . .” Clement Moore’s poem was written in 1822 and has been a holiday classic ever since. This edition, with gorgeous illustrations by Jessie Willcox Smith, was first published in 1912 and is considered by many to be the definitive version of the story.
This lovely tale is now a part of the Folk Tale Classics series, with gold foil stamping on the cover and full-color illustrations throughout. A beautiful and affordable edition of a classic, this book deserves a place in every child’s library!

Thoughts
I remember one of my parent or one of my sisters reading this book to me every Christmas when I was young. I still can recite it from memory. To me, it just didn’t seem like Christmas without this book and a few movies that we watched every year like Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and A Charlie Brown Christmas.

This is a short book that can be read in just a few minutes, and even though it’s geared toward children 4-7 years old, I’m sure many adults would love it. I love the cover and illustrations.

For me, this is a must read for Christmastime.

Counts toward the following challenge:
2018 Christmas Spirit Challenge

 Posted by at 3:28 PM
Dec 242018
 

Merry Christmas, Little Hoo!

Merry Christmas, Little Hoo! by Brenda Ponnay

File Size: 5150 KB
Print Length: 32 pages
Publisher: Xist Publishing (December 1, 2014)
Publication Date: December 1, 2014

It’s Christmas Eve and Little Hoo should be sleeping. But there are so many interesting noises! Are there reindeer on the roof and elves in the kitchen? Join your favorite owl and find out in this Christmas story that will make December bedtime more fun for toddlers, preschoolers and even big kids who can’t help but believe in Christmas magic.

Thoughts
This is such a cute little book. The story reminds me of my kids when they were little and so excited that Santa and his reindeer were coming to bring them presents.

The author did the illustrations and did a fantastic job! Very bold and cute.

This would be a perfect book for little ones. She also has some other books and I’m adding them to my list.

Counts toward the following challenge:
2018 Christmas Spirit Challenge

 Posted by at 11:12 AM
Dec 172018
 

The Nöel Diary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Posted by at 12:45 PM
Dec 102018
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Counts toward the following challenge:
Audiobook
2018 Christmas Spirit Challenge

 Posted by at 8:00 AM
Dec 062018
 

Elevation

Elevation by Stephen King

Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (October 30, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1982102314
ISBN-13: 978-1982102319

Although Scott Carey doesn’t look any different, he’s been steadily losing weight. There are a couple of other odd things, too. He weighs the same in his clothes and out of them, no matter how heavy they are. Scott doesn’t want to be poked and prodded. He mostly just wants someone else to know, and he trusts Doctor Bob Ellis.

In the small town of Castle Rock, the setting of many of King’s most iconic stories, Scott is engaged in a low grade—but escalating—battle with the lesbians next door whose dog regularly drops his business on Scott’s lawn. One of the women is friendly; the other, cold as ice. Both are trying to launch a new restaurant, but the people of Castle Rock want no part of a gay married couple, and the place is in trouble. When Scott finally understands the prejudices they face–including his own—he tries to help. Unlikely alliances, the annual foot race, and the mystery of Scott’s affliction bring out the best in people who have indulged the worst in themselves and others.

Thoughts
I’ve loved Stephen King’s books since Carrie but haven’t read one in a while. When I saw this book and read that it was different than his usual horror books, I decided to get a copy from my local library.

I really enjoyed this book and thought it was perfect for readers who don’t read King because they don’t like the horror aspect of his books. This is a perfect book for them, it has King’s gift for telling a great story without the scariness.

The book is only 160 pages and I could have easily read it in one sitting, but I had a lot to do the day I started it so it took me two for a total of about 3 hours.

I loved this book. The story was very different and kept me interested from the first paragraph. I really hope King decides to write more books like this. I would read every one.

 Posted by at 2:35 PM
Nov 292018
 

Raymie Nightingale by [DiCamillo, Kate]

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
Narrated by Jenna Lamia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Counts toward the following challenge:
Audiobook

 Posted by at 6:08 PM
Nov 262018
 

The Storyteller's Secret

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Counts toward the following challenges:
Audiobook

Monthly Motif

 Posted by at 2:23 PM
Nov 192018
 

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In Pieces by Sally Field
Narrated y Sally Field

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Counts toward the following challenges:

Audiobook
Non-Fiction
Monthly Motif

 Posted by at 12:35 PM
Nov 152018
 

Sea Prayer

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini
Illustrated by Dan Williams
Hardcover: 105 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Books
First Edition edition (September 18, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0525539094

A short, powerful, illustrated book written by beloved novelist Khaled Hosseini in response to the current refugee crisis, Sea Prayer is composed in the form of a letter, from a father to his son, on the eve of their journey. Watching over his sleeping son, the father reflects on the dangerous sea-crossing that lies before them. It is also a vivid portrait of their life in Homs, Syria, before the war, and of that city’s swift transformation from a home into a deadly war zone.

Impelled to write this story by the haunting image of young Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed upon the beach in Turkey in September 2015, Hosseini hopes to pay tribute to the millions of families, like Kurdi’s, who have been splintered and forced from home by war and persecution, and he will donate author proceeds from this book to the UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) and The Khaled Hosseini Foundation to help fund lifesaving relief efforts to help refugees around the globe.

Khaled Hosseini is one of the most widely read writers in the world, with more than fifty-five million copies of his novels sold worldwide in more than seventy countries. Hosseini is also a Goodwill Envoy to the UNHCR, and the founder of The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a nonprofit that provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

Thoughts
This book is a short story that takes only a little time to read, but the message had a great impact on me. It’s written as a letter from a father to his son. The letter is about his own childhood, then the their life in Syria. It ends with his thought about what’s ahead of them as they prepare to leave their home to escape the horror of the war via the sea.

I enjoyed this book. I thought the story seemed so much bigger than the short page count. It made a big impact on me.

I loved the illustrations.

This book was written to honor all the families that had to flee their homes because of war. Author proceeds go to UNHCR and The Khaled Hosseini Foundation.

 Posted by at 10:11 AM