Thursday, October 22, 2015

Necessary Lies by, Diane Chamberlain narrated by, Alison Elliott

Necessary Lies by, Diane Chamberlain narrated by, Alison Elliott

Another fascinating book about the eugenics program in North Carolina this time told from the perspective of a new social worker who is appalled at the program. The first book I read on this subject was “Unfit by, LaraCleveland Torgesen” which I found fascinating and I think both of these books should be read to really get a feel for what these poor women/young ladies/children went through.

Jane may be a woman ahead of her time because the only respectable job for a lady was a school teacher or nurse especially when you are married to a pediatrician who really doesn’t want you to work. You surely don’t go to work as a social worker, working with the poor and god forbid the coloreds , it made me sick that her husband was more upset about her having to work with the coloreds and that she wasn’t there to have dinner waiting for him. I for one am so glad at how far we have come as women!

We also meet Ivy Hart who is one of Jane’s clients Ivy is trying to keep her little family together even though she is only 15 years old herself. She takes care of her grandmother who has a problem with sugar which we now call diabetes and an older sister who has already had one illegitimate child but little William is the apple of everyone’s eye and they do try their best to take good care of him. But when Jane takes over as case worker everything changes, Jane makes a discovery and tells a secret that changes everything for the Hart family.

I really liked this book, this was a new to me author and narrator and I enjoyed them both very much. I liked the authors writing style and I found the subject matter well handled. The characters in this book are nicely fleshed out and it gives us a frightening look into social work in the 1960’s in North Carolina, which was the one state that continued the eugenics program longer than any other state, so many women (and men) were sterilized just for being poor or colored, which I feel is horrifying.

Narrator Alison Elliott did a really good job at portraying both of these women and I thought she added to the telling of this story I will definitely listen to her again.

I will be looking for other books by this author.

4 ½ Stars

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Still Missing by, Chevy Stevens narrated by, Angela Dawe

Still Missing by, Chevy Stevens narrated by, Angela Dawe 

This is going to be a short review because I don’t want to give anything away so you can read it yourself.

I really enjoyed this one! The reveal of who was behind it all shocked me completely and that doesn’t happen often, so Kudos to the author!

Annie was kidnapped and held prisoner by a sadistic rapist for a year, when she finally gets away and gets home there are so many unanswered questions, like why did the Freak (as she calls him) pick her, how does he have a picture of her, how does he know so many details about her life, friends and family, and was he working alone. Annie of course is having trouble dealing with life outside of captivity but she doesn’t want to burden anyone so suffers alone, however she is finally seeing a psychiatrist and we get an inside look into what the Freak did to her and all that happened in captivity during her sessions. As the story unfolds you totally understand why Annie is having a hard time adjusting and feeling safe.

Angela Dawe’s narration was really good she gave everyone a distinct voice and didn’t get too shrilly when Annie was dealing with things which I was happy about. This was the second book I’ve listened to by this narrator that I really enjoyed so I will definitely listen to her again.

I highly recommend this book, I enjoyed the authors writing style and how she kept the suspense going throughout the book. I have already put her newest book on hold and will be working my way through everything she has written.

4 Stars

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Worst Hard Time by, Timothy Egan narrated by, Patrick Lawlor

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan narrated by, Patrick Lawlor

I have seen Ken Burns’ Dust Bowl Documentary on PBS which was quite fascinating so when this was picked for book club I was very interested in reading this book. I found that it put a face on the stories as we followed a few families through the lush beginnings to the terrible endings. I can’t even imagine looking up and seeing a 12,000 foot wall of dirt headed right towards you.

These people were made of stronger stuff than I or probably anyone living today, and that is scary because this could easily happen again. I can’t imagine living in a dugout, or the tar paper shacks which were supposed to be just temporary until the crops paid off but that was where they were still living when the worst of the dust and drought hit. To be living literally in a hole in the ground with your children while dirt so thick swirls around and in your “home” and the poor babies breathing in this dirt, my heart just broke for these people.

I did have a favorite family and that was Bam White’s family this man fought and fought even when there was nothing to fight for.  I also thought Hazel Shaw was pretty amazing after everything she went through she still wanted to feel like everything was okay and for her that meant wearing her white gloves every time she put them on I felt like they were her fighting gloves with these on I know I can make it.

All of these people just looking to make a living and provide for their families and things went so horribly wrong, honestly that any of them survived is a tribute to them. I felt so bad that even before the worst happened so many were swindled not only by the banks but by the land dealers there was a lot of corruption that was for sure.

I was also fascinated with this Governor Alfalfa Bill Murray, what a character my goodness some of the things that came out of his mouth wowza I can’t imagine in this social media age what people would say about him. His racism was awful.

Now for the narration, Patrick Lawlor’s narration was very well done it was a semi straight read but yet with emotion, you could tell he enjoyed telling this story and read it like a storyteller which I appreciated I was glad he didn’t do any accents of these immigrants because I think that would have distracted me from the telling. There were a few accents but they were people that needed it I think that Alfalfa Bill saying his three C’s it needed a slight accent.

This was an awful time in our nation’s history between the depression, the dust storms, the drought and unemployment these people lived through some of the toughest times we’ve seen the ones that survived came through tougher than we could ever be. And we should all hope that it never happens again and thank Hugh Bennett for starting Soil Conservation Districts because without these programs like CRP (planting fields to native grass for so many years to revive the soil) it would have already happened again. Soil is not indestructible and people need to remember that.

4 Stars

The Plow That Broke the Plains

Alfalfa Bill Murray

Friday, August 28, 2015

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab narrated by, Steven Crossley

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab narrated by, Steven Crossley

This was the best fantasy/alt.verse book I have read in a long time. I loved the premise of all the different London’s and how there is magic in some and not in others and that the degrees of magic are different.

The two main characters are Kell & Lila, these two are both so great I loved their bickering, Kell all reserved and noble and Lila all lets go on an adventure who cares if it’s dangerous, but in the end I think they balance each other out he for reigning her in and her for telling him it’s ok to do something dangerous because it is an adventure.

The world building in this book is solidly done by the end of the book you understand about the different London’s and how they relate to each other and how the Antari system works. I thought the author did a great job in revealing the details and differences of each London and how the hierarchy/royalty works in each world. Also the way magic works and how it’s different in different worlds was well done and believable.

I really liked Lila she is a tough as nails kick-ass woman who doesn’t seem to be scared of anything, even when faced with adversity she just seems to have an attitude of yeah and then what, I loved that about her. We do get a few details about her life but there are definitely some secrets yet to come out and I look forward to the next book and finding out more about certain things that were revealed in this book. (Sorry that’s vague but Spoilers)

Kell is a bit of an enigma he is pretty darn tough too but seems to also be a loner even when it comes to his “brother” Rhy who kind of comes off as bratty at first but well some things change I think of him a little better by the end of the book but he still has much to prove and is very lucky that deep down Kell thinks of him as real brother.

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.

I can hardly wait till Feb. 2016 when the next installment of this series comes out; I look forward to more adventures with these two. I will definitely read other books from this author I really enjoyed her style of writing.

As if you haven’t guessed my rating

5 Stars

Thank-you to the Ford Audiobook Club Group on Goodreads for a copy of this audiobook.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica Narrated By Lindy Nettleton, Johnny Heller, Tom Taylorson, Andi Arndt

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica Narrated By Lindy Nettleton, Johnny Heller, Tom Taylorson, Andi Arndt

I liked this story, it wasn’t quite what I expected but that’s a good thing in this case, it was different, not a fast moving thriller like most books I read, however even though it wasn’t fast paced I still didn’t want to put it down. And I did not expect the reveal at the end that came as a total surprise! So, great job!

The way this went back and forth in time from before and after was well done, I could really feel for Mia’s mother Eve and I liked the gruff cop with a heart of gold, Mia’s father the bigtime judge is a whole ‘nother story, ugh what a jerk, the way he treats everyone is deplorable I hope he got his in the end! Eve was probably my favorite character she may not have seemed like the best mother in the world to Mia but she loved her children, and had been beaten down by verbal abuse for so long no wonder she felt invisible. There were times this was kind of Eve’s coming of age story along with the kidnapping story.

I absolutely loved the narration of this book I thought it was very well done, everyone’s accents were great and when they had to narrate the other person/narrators conversations it meshed very well! Highly recommend this book on audio for the fabulous narration!

This was my first book by this author but it won’t be my last I will be picking up her new book!

4 Stars

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Night Sister By, Jennifer McMahon narrated by, Cassandra Campbell

The Night Sister By, Jennifer McMahon narrated by, Cassandra Campbell

Spooky a bit creepy but oh so good!

This is a hard one to review because I don’t want to give anything away. This book is full of secrets and half-truths but I can’t tell you any of them without spoiling the story. Goodness this review is hard to write!

I loved the letters to Hitchcock that Silvie wrote; they added this neat historical side to this story. Especially since Rose & Silvie’s family home is an old roadside motel where mysterious things happen, “did you get the idea from me?” Silvie asks Hitchcock.

There are 3 time frames for this story 1961 with sisters Rose & Silvie, the 80’s when Rose’s daughter Amy and her best friends and sisters Piper & Margot are teens and present day there are also chapters from James the young man with a crush on Amy when they are teens but who is now married to Margot. The jumps in time were well written and I was never confused as to which time period I was listening to.

Something happens that summer though and splits these friends up, then when something terrible happens in the present it brings up memories from that summer and what went wrong between these friends. It may be the same thing that broke up Rose & Silvie’s relationship too, how can something cause generation after generation to fall apart? What is going on in this creepy old motel?

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!

This would be a great October read, it has good spook factor and keeps you guessing.

4 stars

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Black-Eyed Susans by, Julia Heaberlin

Black-Eyed Susans by, Julia Heaberlin

Wow this book was so hard to put down. I did not even come close to figuring out who the monster was; she put in just enough red herrings to keep me guessing all the way to the reveal.
For the longest time I wondered if Lydia was imaginary, maybe one of the Susan’s.

This book is told from 2 perspectives Tessa present day and Tessie in 1995 still trying to come to grips with almost dying and being prepared for the trial of the man she is told did this to her. They are the same person yet not. These jumps in time made for an interesting way to tell the story of what happened to Tessa. Especially since she only remembers what happened just before she was taken and waking up in a grave with the other Susan’s. Who did this to her and what happens in between is just blackness but they told her the man Terrell did it and he was put on death row for the crime  , but did he? Now she's not sure.

Bringing this entire thing up again is really tough on Tessa especially since she has a teenage daughter of her own now and she doesn't want her daughter dragged down by this, but there is a man on death row that might be innocent and his execution is coming up fast. Tessa already lives with so much survivors’ guilt that she's not sure she can handle the guilt of her part of sending an innocent man to his death.

The forensics were a huge part of this book and you can tell the author did a lot of research for these parts which made this story feel like true crime, I believed it all.

I was so absorbed in this book and as I said it was so hard to put down I needed to know just as Tessa needed to know, what happened to her, who did this to her? The journey to get there was filled with sometimes manic decisions on Tessa's part but you could understand where she was coming from, she wouldn't be able to live with Terrell’s death on her conscience.

This book was amazing so well written; I don’t want to give too much away so I will just say…
 Read This Book Now!

5 Stars

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