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.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Stay Where You Are And Then Leave , by John Boyne narrated by, Euan Morton


StayWhere You Are And Then Leave , by John Boyne narrated by, Euan Morton


This is such a powerful story, set in WWI before we had a name for PTSD or Shell Shock this book takes you to a hospital with one doctor who is trying to get people to realize this is an actual condition not men just being cowardly. But how we get to that hospital is a heartbreaking yet uplifting story told through the eyes of 9 year old Alfie who is in search of his father Georgie.

Alfie is a precocious 9 year old who misses his father it has been 4 years since he went off to war and Alfie’s mother won’t let him see the letters he is writing but Alfie finds a way but notices there hasn’t been a letter in a long time, his mother tells him his dad is on a secret mission but Alfie is not sure he believes that. Alfie has been helping out by shining shoes at Kings Cross Station ( unbeknownst to his mother) and one day a man drops some papers and as Alfie helps him pick them up he sees his dads name and the name of a hospital so he sets off to find his dad.

This story is at times heartbreaking, uplifting and powerful, seeing it through Alfie’s eyes really brings home the separation of war, the not knowing if your parent is alive or well  and how the parent left behind wants to protect their child from knowing the gory details of war but that leaves Alfie to think his father is dead. When Alfie does find his father it will break your heart and Alfie’s innocence in thinking if he just comes home he will be okay leads to circumstances that make Alfie have to confront just what shell shock is and how the war affected his father.

Euan Morton narrates this book with skill, his narration of Alfie is spot on and you feel every emotion he feels. Every character has a voice and the parts with the banging how Morton brings Georgie’s emotion to the forefront are amazing. Highly recommend this on audio!

The author does a great job at making you feel everything Alfie feels the fear, the trepidation, the confusion all written so beautifully.

4 ½ Stars


I received this book from netgally but ended up listening to the audio version and am so glad I did!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges by Jen Mann


People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges by Jen Mann

This book cracked me up and after reading a few serious books in a row it was just what I needed, I laughed out loud many, many times while reading this book and saw people and situations that I recognized as my own. And how could you pass up this title!

One of the chapters that cracked me up was ‘Just some of the reasons the neighbors always hate us’  this one made me laugh because at my house we are a bit anti-social and seem to have major differences politically plus have a hard time not commenting on things like “You paid thirteen grand for a dog to have surgery?” this chapter hit close to home!

As a mother and grandmother I also have to wonder about these theme birthday parties and spending hundreds of dollars to throw your kid a party, whatever happened to birthday parties at home with a cake and pin the tail on the donkey now it can’t be at home and it has to have a theme why?? When did this start?? This chapter hit home too.

Oh who the hell am I kidding this book is full of snarky goodness and sounded like all the things I say inside my head but don’t always have the courage to say out loud!

If you are a fan of Laurie Notaro and/or Celia Rivenbark then this is a must read!

4 Stars

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

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Euphoria by Lily King narrated by, Simon Vance & Xe Sands


Euphoria by Lily King narrated by, Simon Vance & Xe Sands

I know that Margaret Mead inspired this story but I still wanted Nell to be a real person that I could research and learn even more about. This was a fascinating book made all the better by the fabulous narration of Xe Sands & Simon Vance.

This book kept me completely enthralled from beginning to end, not only from the descriptions of the tribes, their customs, taboos and superstitions but from the relationships between the three main characters. Also this book is so well written that it was easy to picture the village and tribes people. If you search Margaret Mead New Guinea in Images you’ll see some pictures that could easily be the three main characters ,also see narrator Xe Sands Pintrest Page below for some other pictures she used for inspiration.

I really enjoyed the characters of Nell & Bankson and even though Fen is not a very likeable chap he is an interesting character he is so jealous of Nell’s success and her relationship with not only Bankson but with the tribe themselves, Nell has a rapport with the tribe that Fen can only dream of which he kind of does he imagines a relationship that really isn’t there. He hides things from Nell to make himself look better and is a very insecure man. Where Bankson sees Nell in all her glory and is impressed and awed by her ability to get the tribes people to talk to her about things no one else seems to be able to get at. He learns from her and respects her and I think that is the key in their friendship.

 Obviously the narration of this book was superb Xe Sands as Nell was fabulous and all her different accents from American, to British to Australian were all spot on and when she voiced Bankson I felt like she did a good job of channeling Simon Vance!  Simon Vance as always does a great job and did well even when speaking as Nell and I thought he also did a great job channeling Xe; also both narrations of Fen and his Australian accent sounded the same so you knew that it was him. I thought this was a fantastic collaboration and hope to have more books with these two working together!

If you can’t already tell I loved this book, it is different book and hard to categorize, but I found it fascinating and even went back and re-listened to the last hour because I wasn’t ready for it to be over. I have never read anything by Lily King before but I will be remedying that as I loved the way the writing in this books flowed and how she kept me so interested from page one to the end.

5 stars


Full Disclosure I received this book from the Audiobookjukebox and the Publisher Blackstone Audio for a fair and honest review


Narrator Xe Sands has put together a Pintrest page with some images that helped her realize more clearly the place and time.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf narrated by, Tanya Eby & Kate Rudd



Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf narrated by, Tanya Eby & Kate Rudd

This is a powerful book, and at times hard to read. This is definitely a ripped from headlines book, when the unthinkable happens to social worker Ellen, how do you get people to understand that it was an accident when the guilt of it is ripping you apart. Then we have runaway Jenny whose dad is in jail and her mother ran off with the man that beat Jenny when she was younger but luckily she is found by a kind woman who also happens to be Ellen’s mother Maudene.

Ellen has seen the most awful things in her career as a social worker but one moment of distraction changes her whole life and the life of her family and she ends up on the other side of the fence wishing with everything that she could go back and start the day over. This book shows the difference between outright abuse and neglect and accidents but sometimes social services and the media don’t see the distinction between the two. My heart broke in Ellen’s storyline when the awful thing happened my heart was racing and it was just really tough to read.

Jenny is spunky and courageous and luckily pretty street smart I liked her and was rooting for her to find a better life. Although her storyline was a bit too happily ever after and felt a little rushed I was still happy for her.

Tanya Eby’s narration as Jenny was very well done and believable but Kate Rudd’s narration was so hysterical it got really old, I can understand that in certain moments of this book the hysteria was needed but it was constant and it seemed to be all the characters are just screeching and whiny.  I do understand this was a taut emotional book but I wish Rudd had dialed back a bit.

As I said this is a powerful book, I think this would be a good book for a bookclub because I think it would bring about a great discussion. I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending I felt both stories were rushed and a bit too tied up in a bow for my taste.


3 Stars

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams narrated by, Kathleen McInerney


The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams narrated by, Kathleen McInerney

I so wanted to like this book, the description sounded like something I would really like but this one fell short for me. I won this book from librarything early reviewers but had a hard time getting into it so got the audio hoping it would be better but for over half of the book all I wanted was for it to be over.

I love dual storylines in historical fiction and that was what I was expecting but this book is Romance, lots of sex (very descriptive) and once you get through that there is a little bit of a historical fiction storyline but not enough to save this one, IMHO. Also the characters are all pretty much unlikable and the whole stupid romance in the 1964 storyline is ridicules they fell in love in 5 minutes?? Give me a break! This book may have been better served if it just told Violet’s storyline because Vivian was annoying and her whole storyline revolved around this convoluted romance with someone she met and supposedly fell in love with in an afternoon.

Violet’s storyline started out strong then dwindled into idiocy, with many unbelievable things happening and I wanted more of the actual story of how …( no spoilers) than just the whole romance crap.

And the ending was all tied up in a little bow that made me throw-up a little in mouth, it was so saccharine.

Kathleen McInerney’s narration was very well done but couldn’t save me from wanting this book to end!

I may be in the minority here, this book has gotten a lot of buzz but, don’t be fooled by the historical fiction moniker this is straight up romance and not a good one!


2 Stars (barely)