Thursday, March 17, 2016

America's First Daughter: A Novel by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie narrated by, Cassandra Campbell

America's First Daughter: A Novel by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie narrated by, Cassandra Campbell

I learned so much about this family and the time period from this book, I enjoyed the excerpts from actual letters it added such an authenticity to this fiction novel. As to the time period first and foremost there are slaves, and secondly the women are such second hand citizens, even though Thomas Jefferson did treat his daughters better than some. The abuse towards women was horrifying, that it was just commonplace made it worse to me. You could be hanged for stealing a horse but beating up your wife or mother in law or daughter was fine.

 Of course we all know about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings relationship and I do feel like that’s what it was, I think Sally truly helped the Jefferson out of his deepest despair and I believe he was grateful for that. It did make me mad that he didn’t free her and their children upon his death. I think that is the least he could have done for all she went through.

I really like Martha’s husband Tom at first but boy oh boy as this book went on he became just like his own father. This woman had 11 children in an age where a lot of women died in childbirth including her own mother and her sister. But the alternative to not doing your wifely duties was to have your husband bed a slave so I guess if you wanted to keep your husband you just kept popping out babies.

The hardships and losses she went through were tough but they made her a very tough woman and I was very impressed with her.

I was also fascinated with the fact that the women were much more “political” than their husbands they were the ones that got the right people to the right dinners and parties and advanced their men’s careers, but of course got no credit for it

Cassandra's narration was fabulous will be surprised if this doesn't get an earphones award and possibly a Audie nomination next year so very well done! I enjoyed that Patsy’s (Martha) voice aged with her and became stronger as she became sure of herself. So well done! This book was 23 hours and I was never bored or distracted and was sad when it ended.

We read this for book club and there were some that felt the Paris section in the beginning was a little romancey but don’t let that put you of, she’s a young girl at the start and this section sets up events later in the book and also shows the lengths she will go for her father.

I see these two authors are writing another book together and I look forward to reading it! I highly recommend this book and even higher recommend it on audio!

4 ½ Stars

Interview/podcast with the authors

Thomas Jefferson’s letters here

A lot of good info on the family and Monticello

Crossposted on 

Friday, March 4, 2016

A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold

A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold

 Crown Publishing- click to see a clip from one of Sue’s interviews

This book is an absolute must read; especially if you are a person who thinks it must be the parents fault when a child does this kind of horrible act. She makes no excuses and lays bare her grief and guilt for all to see but in laying it all out there is healing and at least some understanding of what was happening in her child, the signs she missed the things she would have done different but hindsight is 20/20 and can any of us say we would have done anything differently.

This book is so powerful I could not put it down, I couldn't help but feel her pain in every word, Sue & Tom were good parents but Dylan was adept at hiding from them what he didn't want them to see. Think for a minute what you hid from your parents when you were a teen…..
It also wasn't just from his parents that he hid this other side of himself , his friends were just as shocked and he had been let out early of a diversion program because they thought he had learned his lesson and probably wouldn't commit another crime and they are professionals there is also his school counselor who read a violent story he had written and didn't see anything to be alarmed about, and as Sue says but she was his mother and she should have seen the signs but he was very good at hiding his inner turmoil there is no guarantees that if she had gotten him help if it would have changed anything. Also from everything I've seen and read including this book I believe Dylan would have committed suicide by himself and not gone on the rampage he did without Eric Harris, no I am not putting all the blame on Eric I am just saying they fed off of each other Eric was more murderous while Dylan was suicidal.

My heart breaks for the grief and hatred she has endured, as she says yes her son was a murderer but he was still the baby she bore and the sweet boy she raised, that is who she mourns, not the stranger who walked into Columbine school that April morning.

As she wrote in her journal on the day she saw the horrible “basement tapes”

Page 125

Page 133

I learned so much about how a suicidal mind works and how so many times the signs are so subtle that it is hard to distinguish between something to be worried about and just normal teenage angst. Not every troubled person acts out some suffer in silence.

I think every High School Counselor, Suicide Prevention Groups, Teachers, and Parents, well really just anyone who deals with young people should read this book, Sue Klebold searched for answers and what she found is truly frightening her child hid so much pain from her and that is heartbreaking. She never stops apologizing to the victims and their families and no matter how much they blame her I honestly don’t think anyone could blame her as much as she blames herself.

So the next time there is a school shooting, please be kinder to the parent of that child.

5 Stars

Monday, February 22, 2016

Armchair Audies 2016

I will once again be participating in the Armchair Audies, however I have decided to change it up a little, I am still going to do the Best Female Narration but I have decided my second category will be Young Adult. I look forward to listening to some new to me narrators and some new to me authors.

I will be starting out with All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani narrated by, Blair Brown

Best Female Narration

All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani, read by Blair Brown
The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant, read by Linda Lavin
Liar of Dreams by Libba Bray, read by January LaVoy
The Lost Landscape by Joyce Carol Oates, read by Cassandra Campbell
The Nightengale by Kristin Hannah, read by Polly Stone
Wild Rover No More by L.A. Meyer, read by Katherine Kellgren

Young Adult

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, read by Kirby Heyborne and Ariadne Meyers
Liar of Dreams by Libba Bray, read by January LaVoy
The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman , read by Julian Rhind-Tutt, Lara Pulver, Niamh Walsh, Adjoa Andoh, Peter Forbes, John Sessions, Michael Maloney, Sean Baker, Jane Collingwood, Clare Corbett, Allan Corduner, Katherine Kingsley, and Daniel Weyman
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, read by Edward Herrmann
The Winter Horses by Philip Kerr, read by James Langton
X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon, read by Dion Graham

Thanks so much Jennifer Conner ---Lit Housewife for the pictures!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Ramblers: A Novel By Aidan Donnelley Rowley Narrated By Erica Sullivan

The Ramblers: A Novel By Aidan Donnelley Rowley Narrated By Erica Sullivan

This was a new to me author and narrator although I liked the authors writing, this book just wasn't for me, I can't put my finger on it but I felt like this wasn't a modern story there was something old fashioned about the language and the interactions, it seemed every time a year was mentioned it jarred me, oh, right this is set in present day. Also the sexting and graphic sexual descriptions kind of took me out of the story because I liked the writing; the flow of it, then one of these scenes would come up and disrupt the flow.

This is one of those Lit. Fic. books that I just don’t really get, this was just kind of a day in life book or a couple days in a life of three people, Clio is an anxiety prone woman whose mother killed herself and was manic all Clio’s life and it still affects her today, my problem with Clio is at some point in life you need to stop blaming your parents for all your problems, then we have Smith who is a rich girl recently heartbroken and quite jealous of her little sisters happiness ( she does finally get over that somewhat), then we have Tate who they say went to Yale with the other two but now Smith and Tate have just started dating. But I feel like Henry should have gotten better billing in the book description he is Clio’s boyfriend and is a pretty great guy who accepts Clio even with her anxiety attacks and somewhat manic behavior, I think he was my favorite character in this book.

Erica Sullivan’s narration was well done she didn’t try too hard for the male voices, and Henry’s slight Irish accent was good and all the characters were well defined and it was easy to differentiate. I would listen to this narrator again.

I am honestly not sure what the point of the story was or what I was supposed to get out of it.

So for me this book was just meh, however I would try something else by this author just because I liked the flow of her writing even though I didn’t get the story.

2 ½ Stars

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Audie Award Nominees 2016

Here are all the nominees, thanks to the APA (Audio Publishers Association.)

I will be involved with the Armchair Audies again this year, I will probably still do the Female narrator Category but think I am going to switch it up for my 2nd category.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Audie Predictions 2016

Audie Predictions 2016

As the Audie Nominations are to be announced tomorrow, I thought I’d put together some predictions as I did I realized I didn’t listen to many new releases this past year, I listened to some great books but none qualified for this years Audies. So here are the ones that I have listened to.

I may switch it up this year and pick a category I’ve never done before, I will let you know after the nominees are announced!

Don't forget to follow  #Audies2016 tomorrow and #armchairaudies2016


Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson narrated by, Scott Brick
Scott Brick’s narration was of course wonderful, I thought his male and female voices were well done and he really brought this story to life.


Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway narrated by, Ellen Archer
Ellen Archer’s narration was very well done I thought the tones and sarcasm she gave Iris were perfect and also her narration of Dawn showed us that she really never grew up and seemed stunted as a child/teen. And with Hanna so much of the book is inside her head and I liked that I could tell when she was speaking to someone or just remembering things. I would definitely listen to this narrator again.

The Stranger by, Harlan Coben narrated by, George Newbern
George Newbern is a new to me narrator and I thought he did a very good job especially in the final scenes he captured the moment perfectly. I would definitely listen to this narrator again.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins narrated by, Clare Corbett Louise Brealey and India Fisher
The three audiobook narrators Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey and India Fisher all did such a fantastic job they truly brought these women to life and endowed each with such emotion. These were all new to me narrators and I will definitely be looking for other books any of these women have narrated!


Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline narrated by, George Newbern
George Newbern has got a new fan in me this is the second book in just a month or so I have listened to that he has narrated and I really like his narrating style. He will be a go to for books if he is narrating I will pick the audio version.

The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon narrated by, Cassandra Campbell
Cassandra Campbell’s narration was spot on as always, I liked how you could tell it was teen Piper & Margot speaking and when they were adults also a good job at the older Rose, also the narration of Amy’s daughter Lou was very well done. I waited for the audio version of this one and Cassandra didn’t let me down!


The Truth According to Us: A Novel By Annie Barrows Narrated By Ann Marie Lee, Tara Sands, Julia Whelan **This one may end up being in Multi-Voice too**
Read by Ann Marie Lee, Tara Sands, and Julia Whelan, with additional readings by Cassandra Campbell, Danny Campbell, Mark Deakins, Kimberly Farr, Kirby Heyborne, Lincoln Hoppe, Paul Michael, Linda Montana, and Arthur Morey. The narration was very well done with the main narrators being Ann Marie Lee and Tara Sands who both did a fantastic job at bringing this book to life. The other narrators read letters and histories which I found interesting and thought it added credence to the letters.

A Touch of Stardust by, Kate Alcott narrated by, Cassandra Campbell
Cassandra Campbell’s narration was as always fabulous, I like how she made Clark gruff but didn’t try to imitate his voice, every character had their own cadence and tone and you were never left guessing as to who was talking.

The Flying Circus by Susan Crandall narrated by, Jacques Roy
Narrator Jacques Roy is a new to me narrator however I am now a fan, I thought he did a great job with male, female, different accents and general storytelling. I would definitely listen to another book narrated by him.


A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab narrated by, Steven Crossley
Steven Crossley’s narration was fabulous, every accent was superb and his male and female voices were so well done I think he enhanced this book which is really saying something. I will listen to him again in a heartbeat and just from this one book has gone on my favorite narrators list.

Some I have not listened to but think they will be nominated:

The Kind Worth Killing By Peter Swanson Narrated By Johnny Heller, Karen White, Kathleen Early, Keith Szarabajka

Career of Evil By Robert Galbraith Narrated By Robert Glenister

The Girl in the Spider's Web: A Lisbeth Salander Novel - Millennium Series, Book 4 By David Lagercrantz Narrated By Simon Vance

Go Set a Watchman: A Novel By Harper Lee Narrated By Reese Witherspoon

The Paris Key By Juliet Blackwell Narrated By Xe Sands

Monday, February 1, 2016

Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf

Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf

I really enjoyed this book the only thing I had a problem with was how fast Sarah went from happily loving her husband to accusing him of something awful; she never gave him the benefit of the doubt for a second she went right to worst case scenario. Now I am a cynical person and I don't know how I would react in this situation however I know I would give my man of 19 years the benefit of doubt before I went straight crazy. I could understand if he had a history of lying but he didn't, they were happy so how could she believe the worst so fast.

There are huge family secrets here and Sarah is reeling as she starts to uncover things about her husband and his family that she never knew and honestly she goes a little off the rails to uncover more and more no matter what kind of danger that puts her in.

I actually felt bad for Jack; I think he put these events behind him because he didn’t want to look too closely and because of how he was treated at the time. Then Sarah pushes and pushes him but doesn’t wait for an answer, he has kept this all inside for long but she doesn’t give him a chance to deal with everything before she thinks he is a killer.

There were times I wanted to smack Sarah and a few times I yelled at Jack to just tell her everything so she can stop being paranoid and so she knows the lies have nothing to do with her.

I don’t want to give anything more away, I thought this was a good book and a well told story.

3 ½ Stars

I received this book from Netgalley and the publisher for a fair and honest review.