Thursday, December 11, 2014

Wild Rover No More: Being the Last Recorded Account of the Life & Times of Jacky Faber by, LA Meyer Narrated by, Katherine Kellgren

Wild Rover No More: Being the Last Recorded Account of the Life & Times of Jacky Faber by, LA Meyer Narrated by, Katherine Kellgren

Well Played Mr. Meyer you made me laugh, you made me cry and gave Jacky the sendoff she deserved!

 Great narration by Katherine Kellgren, as always, but this time she had to do a Russian accent and sing in that accent, you are an amazing talent Ms. Kellgren!

I don’t want to spoil this book for those of you that have read the entire series, so I will just say I enjoyed this book more than Boston Jacky and it was an excellent end to a fabulous series that will forever be a go-to book for me and I know I will listen to this series again and again.

I am sad that the series is over but am glad that Mr. Meyer had the chance to finish the book before he passed away and that we won’t end up with another author coming in and ruining his work. I am so glad your memory will live on in the wonderful characters you have written, RIP Mr. Meyer.

5 Stars

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers by, Hazel Gaynor

A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers by, Hazel Gaynor

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, this was a very interesting look at a sad time in London history when there were many homeless children who would sell flowers and watercress on the streets by day and sleep in doorways by night. Some did have families but going there and being beaten was worse than sleeping on the streets.

We first meet , sisters Florrie and Rosie who is almost blind and Florrie has a problem with her leg they live with their parents, a sick mother and abusive father, they sell their violets and watercress in the markets when their mother dies and the father is not someone you'd want to be around, then the father dies too, that is when Rosie and Florrie spend the most time sleeping on the streets. Rosie and Florrie are inseparable, Florrie always tells Rosie don't let go of my hand no matter what don't let go until the worst happens and one day Rosie’s hand slips out of Florrie’s and she's gone.

In the second part of the story we meet Tilly we are not sure what exactly happened to Tilly’s sister but we know whatever it was Tilly was blamed for it and that life at home is not happy at all, so she seeks a position as a housemother at the Violet house home for orphan watercress and flower girls.

We also meet Mr. Shaw the benefactor of the Training Home for Watercress and Violet girls where he takes them in, gives them a home and teaches them to make silk flowers to sell, including making thousands and thousands of roses for the first Queen Alexandra Rose Day. Mr. Shaw also takes Florrie in after she loses Rosie and gives her a purpose and a home. In a twist of coincidence Tilly ends up in the room Florrie had been in and finds her journals detailing her life-long search for her sister Rosie. We do not find out what happened to Rosie until much later in the book.

This book is sad and hopeful all at the same time we get to see Tilly blossom and become stronger with every step she makes away from her home, she becomes a much loved housemother at Violet House, she also enjoys her time at the Clacton Orphanage and starts to feel at home and comfortable in her own skin. Florrie’s story is also sad but there is hope there too.

 I don’t want to give anymore away than I already have, this was such an interesting story I never knew about these flower girls. This book is fiction but I was able to find out more about the real Flower Girls home and the Alexandra Rose Charities that truly exist but were elaborated upon for the book. The story of these 3 girls and also Mr. Shaw’s story were quite fascinating and I would highly recommend this well written book that you won’t be able to put down and will end up reading into the wee hours of the night!

This is the second book by Hazel Gaynor I have thoroughly enjoyed and I look forward to reading anything else she writes.

5 Stars

I was lucky enough to get an early review copy of this book from Edelweiss and the Publisher for a fair and honest review.

This is an interesting link to the actual training home for watercress and flower girls

Here is the history of the Alexandra Rose Charities starting with the event that took place in the book in 1912. (the book is fiction but so well researched )

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng narrated by, Cassandra Campbell

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng narrated by, Cassandra Campbell

Below you will find my random/rambling thoughts as I listened to this book. I liked and disliked this book or should I say I liked the book and completely disliked the characters. The parents in this book are unemotional distance people who should never have had children, they are not abusive in the broad sense of the word but they have no idea who their children are and have no idea how to show that they love them let alone care about them. See my final thoughts at the end.

Everyone grieves differently and it is sad that they are all grieving separately instead of as a family, to be there for each other but I don't think they were there for each other before Lydia's death so I feel like her death multiplied this separateness tenfold.
It just seems like Marilyn could have enrolled in a school right from home instead of sneaking out signing up for classes and getting an apartment. I guess I just don't understand this woman at all.

Do these two people (James & Marilyn) even know each other at all it feels like their whole relationship is superficial it doesn't go deep enough to tell each other what they want from life, what their lives are really like or anything about their true selves and they passed this on to their children so they are just as closed off as the parents are.

James & Marilyn started out fighting the stereotypes then ended up being the stereotypes I am hoping this family becomes something amazing and breaks out of those roles but I am scared this is going to be a depressing book all the way through.

Poor Nath and Hannah to be that ignored by your parents must be heartbreaking.
How could you forget your own child so much that you forget to set a place for them at the table?? Really??
It didn’t seem like James even cared that Nath got into Harvard. Then when Lydia ruined his moment it made me very mad.
The way this family relates to each other is so heartbreaking they are so separate in so many ways.
And even Lydia making up friends pretending to be on the phone talking, all 3 of these children are so lonely and starved for love it’s so sad.
Wow the way James treats Nath is horrible I understand he is grieving but wow.
 For this family to get certain news from the authorities is going to tear them apart even further.
But James is so not handling this at all but I also get the feeling that James would have cheated and said the things to his mistress even if Lydia hadn’t died.
I think it was awful that Nath had to be the one to tell Marilyn where James was especially after what James had said to Marilyn.  I don’t think she knew, I honestly don’t think she could comprehend him having a mistress when he didn’t have any friends.
I find it a bit I don’t know disconcerting that there is only one other oriental in the whole town and she is who James is having an affair with I don’t know it’s a little too unbelievable. Someone had mentioned to me that I need to remember what year this is but this is the late 70’s and things had changed a lot in the last 18 or so years since they have been together. And that James didn’t have the balls to come out of the bedroom what a louse!

That Hannah and Nath were right there watching as her parents fight over the affair was tough; it just goes to show how little these parents thought about their children. And that James said if we had never met and she had never been born I wanted to yell Hey jackass you have 2 other children too!

She left first, come on James, that was a long time ago. Oh these two are so screwed up! But it goes to show that they never communicated when Marilyn came back they never talked about it and so all these years James is still hurt by Marilyn leaving. They never discussed why she left, maybe if they had a conversation about the reasons Marilyn left all those years ago maybe everything would be different just maybe James would have supported her decision I don’t know maybe not but maybe…

I think that Nath leaving for college was so hard for Lydia because she felt he was the only one she had, but poor Hannah always gets lost in the shuffle. Then when Hannah tries to bond with Lydia it all goes wrong, oh this family makes me so very sad. I feel so bad for Hannah she just wants some love and affection and every time she tries she gets slapped down figuratively and literally.

Oh my gosh when Jack comes clean to Lydia, if anyone can understand feeling like an outsider it’s him she should have stayed his friend they could have been true friends. I think if Lydia would have had it in her to understand Jack things would have been different.

How sad just when Lydia was finally thinking on her own without the grudges and hatred. But was it an accident? She stepped out of the boat into the water it sounds like she meant to do it to me.

I hope this means Hannah will finally get some love and not just be a cardboard cutout of Lydia in her parents eyes.
There is this little bit of a coming together but I don’t think this family ever learned to communicate with each other, too many years have passed and these behaviors are ingrained now. I wonder how Nath & Hannah were with their families in the future.

Ooof this book is like a gut punch but so beautifully written that you need to continue on. I honestly am not sure how to rate this book because there was no redemption, one can only hope that this family got better that they cherished the children they had left and started communicating with each other but I’m afraid I this did not happen.

Cassandra Campbell’s narration is very well done as always.

4 Stars

Thanks you to the FordAudiobookClub for the opportunity to listen to this book.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Legendary Adventures of the Pirate Queens by James Grant Goldin narrated by, Shiromi Arserio

The Legendary Adventures of the Pirate Queens by James Grant Goldin narrated by, Shiromi Arserio

What a fun book I didn’t want to stop listening, it was rip-roaring fun on the high seas! These two ladies are so different Martin/Mary dresses like a man and fights in a war and goes to sea and ends up on a Pirate ship. Anne Bonny on the other hand is all woman all the time, she ran away from her husband and became mistress to a pirate though in all honesty I think Anne ran the ship and just let Captain Calico Jack think he did.

When Anne can’t seem to get Martin to pay attention to her and then Calico makes the comment that Martin is in love with her Anne sets out to find out the truth, these scenes are hilarious because as readers we know Martin is really Mary however Anne Bonny is not used to a man who wants nothing to do with her. I loved how she couldn’t comprehend a man not falling for her feminine wiles, and poor Mary trying her best not to cross Anne because she is a pirate after all and has the temper to go with it. And Mary as Martin is a gentleman she is tough as nails and can fight and shoot and do the jobs on the ship but she always tries to be a gentleman.

However our dear Martin/Mary is in love another seaman Peter who has no idea that she is a he,  this complicates their relationship, so she moons over him from afar and tries her best to keep him alive because he is not much of a seaman and not a fighter at all, he came to sea because he is the 2nd born or the spare as they were known in the day, wanting to learn about longitude and clocks because at this time in history it was sailing by the stars and I believe people went of course a lot.

All the characters in this book were very interesting, and it made me want to know even more about these ladies and as I always say a sign of a good historical fiction book is that it makes me want to research more and this one definitely did that.

New to me narrator Shiromi Arserio was very good she had many different accents and I liked how she had 2 different voices for Martin and Mary even though they were the same person. Very well done and I will be on the lookout for anything else she has narrated.

This was a new author and narrator for me and I truly enjoyed them both and if the author writes any other historical fiction books I will be reading them for sure.

If you enjoy the Jackie Faber/Bloody Jack books give this one a try I think you will enjoy it.
4 ½ Stars

I received this from the author for a fair and honest review, and I am so glad I said yes!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

You're Next by, Gregg Hurwitz narrated by, Scott Brick

You're Next by Gregg Hurwitz narrated by, Scott Brick

This was a great edge of your seat thriller! It was just what I needed to get me out of my reading slump; it was very hard to stop listening!

When Mike was 4 years old his father dropped him off at a school playground and told him he’d be back but he never returned and Mike spent his whole life wondering why? And what happened to his mother? Now a grown man with a child of his own strange things are starting to happen to him and his family, Mike thinks he is being followed and from there things go from bad to worse as history repeats itself in an awful way.

This book kept me guessing all the way to the reveal; because Mike was so young when he was abandoned he has no clue about his parents so he decides to hire a private detective to help him find out who they were and what happened to them but this one decision changes his entire life.

After things get really bad Mike reaches out to his foster brother Shep, (I loved Shep!) who is always there for Mike no matter what, I don’t think Mike would have made it through without him and I loved his last line in the book! Shep is a great character because we see in flashbacks what it was like for him in foster care and how he and Mike bonded and became true brothers but Shep is also a criminal and he and Mike had a bit of a falling out but he was right there the minute Mike called him and that just endeared him to me even more.

I don’t want to spoil this book for anyone so I don’t want to give too many details away but if you are looking for a great thriller look no further than this book. This was my first book by Hurwitz but it definitely won’t be my last!

Scott Brick’s narration was as always amazing and he really brought the pain, worry and anxiety in the characters voices to life beautifully. I love Brick’s voice for mystery/thrillers he always gives a great performance.

4 ½ Stars

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Cast-Off Coven by, Juliet Blackwell narrated by, Xe Sands

A Cast-Off Coven  by, Juliet Blackwell narrated by, Xe Sands

This was another good addition to this series.  The San Francisco School of Fine Arts has had some paranormal activity going on so Lily agrees to help in return for some vintage clothes. But there is more in this closet of clothes than she bargained for. Plus she stumbles across a dead body and everyone thinks “the ghost” killed the man but Lily senses something different something demonic and everyone at the school seems to be on edge and aggravated at each other. At one time the school was a convent and Lily starts to wonder just what these nuns were up to.

Lily does go to Aiden for help however I felt his help is a little lacking and she also meets Sailor, who is more help, and Lily seems to be attracting men like crazy, first we have Max but I agree with Aiden she will be in a  Darrin & Samantha relationship with him trying to squelch her magic. Then Luke, I liked Luke myself, until it got weird. But I know most people prefer Sailor. Max did grow on me more by the end of the book.

This one kept me on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who killed the big cheese, a ghost, a demon, or just a human? But the things that happen in this school would have freaked me out; the white light and wind would have freaked me out more than the voices.

As always I love Oscar he is my favorite character. I also want a store like Lily’s in my town! I liked how her relationship with Inspector Romero evolved in this one and I see them working together much more in future books.

This one is narrated by Xe Sands, who as always does a great job I just love her voice and she seemed to come more into her own as Lily in this book compared to the first she was a bit more forceful and sure, I liked that!

The ending really made me look forward to more of this series! If you enjoy cozy mysteries with a supernatural tilt give this series a try!

3 ½ Stars

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi narrated by Gin Hammond

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi narrated by Gin Hammond

This was a fascinating and heartbreaking book. This book has a dual storyline set in Afghanistan, first we have Rahima in 2007 whose family only had girls so she is dressed as a boy in a custom called bacha posh, she is able to go to school, play soccer and work. Our second story is of her Great Great Grandmother Shakiba in 1901? She is disfigured from an accident when she was a child and whose father dies and her Grandmother can’t stand the sight of her. So she is given to another family as a servant but they believe she is a curse on them and when Shakiba sneaks away to try to claim her father’s land the family decides to get rid of her (after beating her of course) they give her to the King to work as a guard in the harem. All the guards are women dressed as men so there would be no temptation in the harem.

Both stories are a fascinating look into the lives of women in Afghanistan even though the stories are years and generations apart it is heartbreaking how women were treated. The way Shakiba is treated by her own family and then the people who take her in is harrowing and heartbreaking. And Rahima would have loved to have stayed being a boy but someone very powerful has seen through her disguise and when her opium addicted father complains about all his daughters to this man, he decides to take one of his daughters for his wife and he chooses Rahima who is only 13 at the time, she has 2 older sisters and tradition demands they be married first so he has cousins to marry them too and Rahima’s father is paid in cash and opium. Rahima is a very strong willed woman I think from her years as a boy I liked her very much and worried about her when she spoke up. You will have to read the book to see how their stories play out!

I loved the narration however there were times I wish there had been two, for the times I missed it say who was talking. But Gin Hammond was fabulous all her accents and voices were great I would definitely look for other books narrated by her.

I truly enjoyed this book it is a powerful story that I highly recommend and if you are a fan of Khaled Hosseini, I would highly recommend you read this book.

4 Stars

I received a copy of this from the Audiobookjukebox and the Publisher for a fair and honest review.