Jul 272020
 

The Unhoneymooners audiobook cover art

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Narrated by: Cynthia Farrell, Deacon Lee
Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 05-14-19
Language: English
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister, Amy, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag), and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now, there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of…lucky.

With Christina Lauren’s “uniquely hilarious and touching voice” (Entertainment Weekly), The Unhoneymooners is a fun and charming romance that is perfect for anyone who has ever felt unlucky in love.

Thoughts
I had planned to listen to this audiobook last year when it was released but I got sidetracked by other books. A while back I decided to put it at the top of my list and I’m glad I did.

At the wedding of Amy and Dane, the only two people who didn’t get food poisoning were Amy’s twin sister Olive and Dane’s brother Ethan, who had a mutual dislike for each other.  Since Amy had won a free honeymoon, she talks Olive into going in her place, and Ethan ends up going too. At first they try to talk to each other as little as possible but since they are supposed to be married they have to do some activities together. Slowly their walls start coming down and they “might” be enjoying each other’s company, just a little.

I enjoyed the back and forth banter between Olive and Ethan. They did a lot of activities and I enjoyed reading about how they reacted to each other.

This was a good book that kept me wanting to know what was going to happen next. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but I will say that not everyone was who they pretended to be and things got very interesting.

Although I thought the book was funny at times, I didn’t think it was “hilarious”. I enjoyed this book from the beginning and recommend it to anyone who likes a little drama and/or romance.

 Posted by at 9:23 AM
Jul 172020
 

Bark Park! by Trudy Krisher
Illustrated by Brooke Boynton-Hughes
Age Range: Baby – 8 years
Lexile Measure: AD110L (What’s this?)
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Beach Lane Books (April 3, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1481430750
ISBN-13: 978-1481430753

Come along and play with all of the dogs at Bark Park in this exuberant rhyming picture book that’s a treat for animal lovers of any age.

Welcome to Bark Park! There are dogs running and dogs relaxing, dogs riding and dogs sliding, dogs with a buddy and dogs getting muddy—all before returning home to bubble bath, a cozy dog bed, and sweet dreams of—what else?—being back at the park. Bark! Bark Bark!

Thoughts
This is such a cute book for kids (and adults), especially for anyone who loves dogs.  The story is told in rhyme and has cute and colorful illustrations.  I love that the book had a variety of dogs. The story was entertaining and cute and I think it would hold a child’s attention.

Would recommend this for any young child.

 Posted by at 1:33 PM
Jul 062020
 

Brave Girl, Quiet Girl audiobook cover art

Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Narrated by: Kate Rudd, Jess Nahikian
Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 05-19-20
Language: English
Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Brooke is a divorced single mom, financially strapped, living with her mother, and holding tight to the one thing that matters most: her two-year-old daughter, Etta. Then, in a matter of seconds, Brooke’s life is shattered when she’s carjacked. Helpless and terrified, all Brooke can do is watch as Etta, still strapped in her seat, disappears into the Los Angeles night.

Miles away, Etta is found by Molly, a homeless teen who is all too used to darkness. Thrown away by her parents, and with a future as stable as the wooden crate she calls home, Molly survives day to day by her wits. As unpredictable as her life is, she’s stunned to find Etta, abandoned and alone. Shielding the little girl from more than the elements, Molly must put herself in harm’s way to protect a child as lost as she is.

Out of one terrible moment, Brooke’s and Molly’s desperate paths converge and an unlikely friendship across generations and circumstances is formed. With it, Brooke and Molly will come to discover that what’s lost – and what’s found – can change in a heartbeat.

Thoughts
Every book I’ve read by this author has been really good and this one is too. The book is about a little girl being in a car that is carjacked. I wasn’t sure if this was a good book choice right now with everything going on in the world, but the book took all of that out of my head and into Brooke, Molly, and Etta’s world.

I loved Molly. She was having a hard time just surviving since her mother threw her out of the house. But when she found Etta she did everything she could to keep the little girl safe, and get her back to her mom.

Then there’s Brooke, Etta’s mom. I didn’t like her for a big part of the book, but I love characters that make me want to shake some sense into them. I didn’t like the way she talked to and about her mother, who was letting her and Etta stay with her until Brooke got back on her feet. After Etta was found safe Brooke acted ungrateful to Molly, even though if it wasn’t for her she may not have ever gotten Etta back. Thankfully in the end Brooke and Molly formed a bond and became close.

I hope Hyde continues this story. I would love to find out how things went for all the characters after this book ended. Great characters, great story, great narration!

 Posted by at 5:08 AM
Jun 302020
 

Cut and Run audiobook cover art

Cut and Run by Mary Burton

Narrated by: Brittany Pressley
Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 10-09-18
Language: English
Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Twin sisters separated by the past are reunited by unspeakable crimes in New York Times bestselling author Mary Burton’s throat-clutching novel of suspense…

Trauma victims are not new to medical examiner Faith McIntyre, but this one is different. The unconscious woman clinging to life after a hit and run is FBI agent Macy Crow. What the woman from Quantico was doing in a dark alley after midnight is just one mystery. The other is more unsettling: Macy is Faith’s mirror image—the twin sister she never knew she had.

Faith knew that she was adopted, but now she’s finding that her childhood concealed other secrets. Following the trail of clues Macy left behind, Faith and Texas Ranger Mitchell Hayden make a shocking discovery on an isolated country ranch—a burial ground for three women who disappeared thirty years before.

They weren’t the only victims in a killer’s twisted plot. And they won’t be the last.

As the missing pieces of Faith’s and Macy’s dark lives snap into place, Faith is becoming more terrified by what she sees—and by what she must do to save her sister and herself from the past.

Thoughts
This was a great book to get my mind off of all that’s going on. It’s got a lot of twists that I didn’t see coming and kept me in suspense. I kept trying to guess who the bad guy was. Come to find out, all my guesses were wrong.

The book was non stop action and I set the timer on the audiobook a few times so that I could keep listening until I fell asleep without having a very hard time finding the spot I last remembered.

This was the first book by this author that I’ve read but after reading it I checked her other books and next on my list is Hide and Seek which continues with Macy’s story.

If you like suspense/thrillers, you should like this book.

The narrator did a great job!

 Posted by at 1:58 PM
Jun 222020
 

A Life Without Water audiobook cover art

A Life Without Water by Marci Bolden
Narrated by: Tanya Eby
Series: Life Without Water, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 42 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 04-28-20
Language: English

Carol Denman divorced her husband over 20 years ago and has never looked back. But on the day before their daughter’s 30th birthday, John barges back into Carol’s life with a request that threatens the fragile stability she has built.

John Bowman is sick. Very sick. While he still can, he has some amends to make and some promises to fulfill. But to do that, he not only needs his ex-wife’s agreement…he needs her.

With the past hovering between them like a ghost, Carol and John embark on a decades-overdue road trip. Together they plunge back into a life without water…but which may ultimately set them free.

Thoughts
Oh my goodness, this was so good but it was also very sad. I loved going with John and Carol on the journey to fulfill the promise they made concerning their daughter. If it had been me, I would have wanted each of us to do it on our own but since John was sick I would have done it with him like Carol did, no matter what my feelings about him were. I knew the reason why they made the promise but finding out the details of what happened took quite a way into the book.

The trip they took was very interesting, lots of stops in different states and even one stop that really surprised me. In the end Carol realized that not all the things that made her resent John were his fault, some of them were hers.

Even though this book is such a sad story, there are also some uplifting moments and even a few that are funny.

The narrator did a good job and made this a very easy book to listen to.

This is the first book by this author that I’ve read but I’m patiently waiting for the audio of book #2 in this series, A Life Without Flowers which is expected to be released on September 29th of this year.

 Posted by at 5:41 AM
Jun 182020
 

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland audiobook cover art

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Narrated by: Michael Scott
Series: Alice in Wonderland, Book 1
Length: 2 hrs and 44 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 10-05-18
Language: English
Publisher: AB Books

In the opening scene of this story Alice is a young girl living in the country and becomes bored by her sister sitting out in the open field quietly reading. When a white rabbit passes by Alice decides to follow it and when the rabbit pops down a large rabbit hole, well Alice follows as well. Once at the bottom she explores a new and strange world where nothing is as it seems and everything continues to change. She meets bizarre and crazy characters who speak in rhymes, riddles and just plain nonsense.

Thoughts
I’ve had this book on my tbr list for so many years but just never got a copy. A few weeks ago I thought it was way past time for me to read it so I got the Audible copy. It surprised me that the book was so short, I thought it would be a lot longer. But one thing happened after another so it didn’t really “feel” that short. I was totally engrossed in the book.

The book was really good. It was silly, funny, and had a great cast of characters. I loved the Queen and all her “off with their head!” comments over and over, when random people did random things.

Other quotes I liked were:
“It would have made a dreadfully ugly child; but it makes rather a handsome pig.”

“I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.”

A few of my favorites are:
“One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others.”

”And what is the use of a book,’ thought Alice, ‘without pictures or conversation?”

I loved this quote the most since it is very true with what’s happening in the world today:
“It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.”

The story started out a bit different than what I thought it was going to and I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next. I thought the flow of the book was great and that Michael Scott was the perfect choice for the narration. I loved listening to him tell this story. Between the writing and the narration I could see the story in my mind.

If you haven’t read this yet, you should. I really enjoyed it.

This will be a book I return to every so often. It was an easy listen and a great story. It got me out of the reading rut I fell back into when  2020 hit the fan.

BTW: I’ve never seen the movie either, so I plan on watching it soon.

 Posted by at 1:14 PM
Jun 092020
 

Picture

Picture

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: She Writes Press (May 5, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1631528629
ISBN-13: 978-1631528620

Buy Unlocking:  AmazonBarnes&NobleIndiebound

While recovering from a near fatal illness, Nancy Pressly discovers a treasure trove of family material stored in her attic. Haunted by images of her grandparents and her parents in their youth, she sets out to create a family narrative before it is lost forever. It takes several more years before she summons the courage to reconstitute a path back to her own past, slowly pulling back the veil of amnesia that has, until now, all but obliterated her memory of her childhood.
In this sensitive and forgiving meditation on the meaning of family, Pressly unravels family dynamics and life in a small rural town in the 1950s that so profoundly affected her―then moves forward in time, through to her adulthood. With an eye attuned to visual detail, she relates how she came into her own as a graduate student in the tumultuous sixties in New York; examines how she assumed the role of caretaker for her family as she negotiated with courage and resilience the many health setbacks, including her own battle with pancreatic-related cancer, that she and her husband encountered; and evokes her interior struggle as a mother as she slowly traverses the barriers of expectations, self-doubt, and evolving norms in the 1980s to embrace a remarkable life as a scholar, champion of contemporary art, and nationally recognized art museum strategic planning consultant. Full of candor and art-inspired insight, Unlocking leaves the reader with a deep appreciation of the power of art and empathy and the value of trying to understand one’s life journey.

Thoughts
The author of this book has done what I’ve often thought about doing, which is to research past generations of my family.

Nancy Pressly spent hours and hours researching all the information she could find about her family, all while going through serious health and personal issues. Her love of her family definitely comes through in this book.

I found all aspects (the research & what she found, her personal and professional life) of this book extremely interesting.  I loved the photos she added to the book.

The book is full of facts but doesn’t have a text book feel like other books I’ve read where a lot of research was involved. Her writing style makes you want to keep reading and I did, in one sitting which is rare for me, especially for a memoir.

Very interesting & I would recommend it!

Thanks to Teddy @ Premier Virtual Author Book Tours
for a copy of this book for review

Nancy L. Pressly, a graduate of Goucher College, received her master’s degree in Art History from Columbia University. She began her career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and subsequently held curatorial positions at the Yale Center for British Art and the San Antonio Museum of Art, where she organized several important exhibitions, most notably the acclaimed Fuseli Circle in Rome: Early Romantic Art of the 1770s.
In 1984 she became Assistant Director of the Museum Program at the National Endowment for the Arts; was a visiting Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts during the fall of 1992; and in 1993 founded Nancy L. Pressly & Associates, a nationally recognized consulting firm specializing in strategic planning for art museums. She has authored numerous publications, most recently a book titled Settling the South Carolina

Follow Unlocking: Memoir of Family and Art by Nancy L. Pressly Tour
Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus June 4 Kick off & Interview

Miller Amazon June 5 Review

Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews June 8 Review & Guest Post

Vicki I’d Rather Be At The Beach June 9  Review

Linda Lu Goodreads June 15 Review

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus June 18 Review

Betty Toots Book Reviews June 23 Review

Bookgirl Goodreads June 26 Review

Just Another Reader July 9 Review

Gud Reader Goodreads July 14 Review

Infantina The periodical gazette July 29 Review & Excerpt

Amy Locks, Hooks and Books July 31 Review

GIVEAWAY
This giveaway is for 3 print copies open to the U.S. only. There will be 3 winners. This giveaway ends August 1, 2020,midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Posted by at 5:00 AM
Jun 042020
 

The Giver of Stars audiobook cover art

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
Length: 13 hrs and 52 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 10-08-19
Language: English

Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So, when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.

The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky.

What happens to them – and to the men they love – becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity, and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.

Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope and epic in its storytelling. Funny, heartbreaking, enthralling, it is destined to become a modern classic – a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.

Soon to be a major motion picture!

Thoughts
I think anyone, especially women, who loves books or historical fiction or hf based on true events would love this book! I don’t think I’ve ever heard about Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky so this book was an eye opener. I like to think that if I was living in that area at that time, I too would have joined these women. I can’t imagine not having easy access to books.

The women were very brave, having to deal with people who didn’t want books loaned to their family members.  The mountains were hard to navigate and bad weather was a whole other issue. They had to memorize all their routes so they didn’t get lost, maybe forever.

Some of the women had personal things they had to deal with along with the worry of the trips, but they all were very strong and dealt with things as they came, and forged a friendship with each other that was a very strong sisterhood.

The descriptions of the area and what was going on brought this book alive. Julia Whelan did a great job with the narration.

I loved this book so much! It’s the first book by Moyes that I’ve read and now I want to read more.

 Posted by at 1:51 PM
May 292020
 

Break Shot: My First 21 Years by James Taylor

Narrated by: James Taylor
Length: 1 hr and 33 mins
Performance
Release date: 01-31-20
Language: English
Publisher: Audible Original

“I’m James Taylor and I’m a professional autobiographer,” says the celebrated folk singer at the start of this tender audio memoir. Through decades of music by one of the best-selling musicians of all time, who created classics like “Fire and Rain” and “Carolina in My Mind,” James Taylor has doled out his history in the poetry of his work. Taylor says his early life is, “the source of many of my songs,” and Break Shot is a tour of his first 21 years in rich, new detail. Praised by Forbes magazine as going “beyond the spoken word,” Break Shot combines storytelling, music and performance to create a one-of-a-kind listening experience. Longtime fans will savor a crop of musical gems, including an unreleased recording of the beloved hymn “Jerusalem,” selections from his newest release American Standard, as well as new original scoring by Taylor specially recorded for Break Shot and more from the Grammy Award-winning artist.

Recorded in his home studio, The Barn in western Massachusetts, Taylor tells the deeply personal story of his youth, which is entwined with the story of his family. What started as an idyllic tight unit soon became a family sent to different emotional corners—like a break shot in the game of pool, he says, when you slam the cue ball into the fifteen other balls and they all go flying off. By the time Taylor released his breakout second album in 1970, Sweet Baby James, he had seen the disintegration of his parents’ marriage and his family crumble in the aftermath. He had committed himself twice to a psychiatric hospital, battled depression, a heroin addiction, suffered a relapse, and traveled far away from the wood smoke and moonshine of the North Carolina landscapes in which he came of age. Despite it all, he was also on the cusp of superstardom and on his way to bringing light and joy to millions. He was 21.

Journey with James Taylor to a time before he became a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors and both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts—and a beloved voice to millions.

Thoughts
I’ve always liked James Taylor’s songs. They are very mellow and calming. I knew nothing about him other than his music so when I saw this Audible Original I knew I wanted to listen to it.

A few things I learned were… he came from a well to do family, he wasn’t as squeaky clean as I thought he was, he had 3 brothers and a sister and that many of  Taylor family members suffered from alcoholism and depression.

This was a short book at just over an hour and a half, but it was packed with information and I was glued to the story.

Taylor narrated the book himself and did a good job.

I think fans and non fans of James Taylor will enjoy this.

 Posted by at 3:21 PM
May 072020
 

Feels Like Falling audiobook cover art

Feels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey
Narrated by: Kelsey Navarro, Amanda Ronconi
Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 04-28-20
Language: English
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

It’s summertime on the North Carolina coast and the livin’ is easy. Unless, that is, you’ve just lost your mother to cancer, your sister to her extremist husband, and your husband to his executive assistant. Meet Gray Howard. Right when Gray could use a serious infusion of good karma in her life, she inadvertently gets a stranger, Diana Harrington, fired from her job at the local pharmacy.

Diana Harrington’s summer isn’t off to the greatest start either: Hours before losing her job, she broke up with her boyfriend and moved out of their shared house with only a worn-out Impala for a bed. Lucky for her, Gray has an empty guest house and a very guilty conscience. With Gray’s kindness, Diana’s tide begins to turn. But when her first love returns, every secret from her past seems to resurface all at once. And, as Gray begins to blaze a new trail, she discovers, with Diana’s help, that what she envisioned as her perfect life may not be what she wants at all.

In her warmest, wisest novel yet, Kristy Woodson Harvey delivers a discerning portrait of modern womanhood through two vastly different lenses. Feels Like Falling is a beach bag essential for Harvey fans — and for a new generation of readers.

Thoughts
This is my first book by this author, and I loved it. I loved the friendships between Gray, Diana, and Marcy and how the three women had such a solid bond. Gray and Marcy were friends for years, then Gray and Diana meet at the perfect time, in a not so perfect way. All three women ended up being more like sisters and I loved that! I’ve had a friend like that since I was young and so I connected with them right away.

Then Gray’s sister Quinn is introduced. I absolutely loved Gray, Marcy and Diana. But to me, Quinn was the most interesting character, even though she had the least amount of time in the book. I loved how she grew as a person and sister.

The men in the book were great characters too although it took a very long time for me to change my mind about Greg.

I also enjoyed learning about the relationship between Diana and her brother. Very touching! But Diana and Frank’s relationship? Now that was an amazing story inside of an amazing story!

I loved the descriptions of  Cape Carolina! It sounds like my kind of place.

The narration was perfect. Both Kelsey Navarro and Amanda Ronconi did an excellent job.

This was a book that I didn’t want to end. I can’t recommend it enough!

 Posted by at 4:09 PM