Friday, December 20, 2013

Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich Narrated by Lorelei King

Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich Narrated by Lorelei King

Available in Hardcover at the Library and in Audio & E-Book from Library2Go

Synopsis from Goodreads: New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum knows better than to mess with family. But when powerful mobster Salvatore “Uncle Sunny” Sunucchi goes on the lam in Trenton, it’s up to Stephanie to find him. Uncle Sunny is charged with murder for running over a guy (twice), and nobody wants to turn him in—not his poker buddies, not his bimbo girlfriend, not his two right-hand men, Shorty and Moe. Even Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, has skin in the game, because—just Stephanie’s luck—the godfather is his actual godfather. And while Morelli understands that the law is the law, his old-world grandmother, Bella, is doing everything she can to throw Stephanie off the trail.
It’s not just Uncle Sunny giving Stephanie the run-around. Security specialist Ranger needs her help to solve the bizarre death of a top client’s mother, a woman who happened to play bingo with Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur. Before Stephanie knows it, she’s working side by side with Ranger and Grandma at the senior center, trying to catch a killer on the loose—and the bingo balls are not rolling in their favor. 
With bullet holes in her car, henchmen on her tail, and a giraffe named Kevin running wild in the streets of Trenton, Stephanie will have to up her game for the ultimate takedown.

My Review of the audio version:
This was another fun installment of the series, we have lots of Lulu & Grandma (my 2 favorite characters) and this time we also have a giraffe who Lulu names Kevin.  Stephanie as always seems to find trouble no matter where she goes and wrecks another Rangeman vehicle, breaks a bone or two and has to be rescued a few times from imminent death. She is also given the evil eye curse from Joe’s grandma Bella which may be the scariest situation of all!

Just when you think Stephanie is going to grow up and make a decision about the men in her life, we readers realize her relationship with Joe Morelli may not be as strong as we think it is. Evanovich shows us that other than the occasional shag and rescue (or is that the other way around) Stephanie & Morelli aren’t really in each others lives the way an almost engaged couple should be. She has no idea he has a game day with his family & friends, how long have they been dating? How could she not know this, unless there is less of a relationship than we had been led to believe? My thoughts on this love triangle may have changed with this book.

Stephanie also decides to finally quit the bonds business, will it last?

I love this series if I am feeling blah or am in a book slump these are my go to books, they aren’t great literature but they are fun and I enjoy the heck out of them!

As always Lorelei King brings every character to life with many, many varied voices she is the voice of this series and makes me only read these books on audio!

Another fun romp through the Berg!

3 ½ Stars for pure enjoyment!

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden

The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden
Available in house in Hardcover
Online audio is also available from Library2Go

Synopsis from GoodreadsIn 1852, when prestigious Alabama plantation owner Cornelius Allen gives his daughter Clarissa's hand in marriage, she takes with her a gift: Sarah—her slave and her half-sister. Raised by an educated mother, Clarissa is not the proper Southern belle she appears to be, with ambitions of loving whom she chooses. Sarah equally hides behind the façade of being a docile house slave as she plots to escape. Both women bring these tumultuous secrets and desires with them to their new home, igniting events that spiral into a tale beyond what you ever imagined possible.Told through the alternating viewpoints of Sarah and Theodora Allen, Cornelius' wife, Marlen Suyapa Bodden's The Wedding Gift is an intimate portrait that will leave readers breathless.

My Review:
This was a great story. If you enjoyed The Kitchen House I think you will enjoy this one! Set in the time of slavery the story is told by slave Sarah and slave owner Theodora.

This was a fascinating story and made me realize something awful, so many slave owners had children with their slaves but never considered them their children, just their property to buy and sell and abuse at a whim. I just can’t understand how these men could treat their own flesh & blood this way that it is very disturbing.

There were times I thought for sure Sarah would see some very tough times because she seemed to talk about running away a lot and in front of people she shouldn’t trust. Her mother was an amazing woman who took care of her children the best way she knew how and did things she had to do to keep her children safe and close, I think the realization of that really hit her daughters when certain things happened to Belle, when Emmeline decided to try to stand up for herself and learned a hard lesson.

Then we have Theodora who came from a family that called its slaves servants and treated them much better than the family she married into, the Allen family is a much tougher bunch with not only its slaves but its women too. Theodora’s marriage isn’t a happy one no matter how hard she tries, add to that the fact that her husband is having relations with one of the house slaves, Emmeline and has fathered a child with her. But Theodora is an amazing woman and rises above the abuses her husband doles on her and everyone else and her and Emmeline actually become very close. Their daughters Clarissa and Sarah grow up together never realizing (till later) that they are sisters but these two girls grow up best friends spending all their time together including doing schoolwork, even though it is illegal for slaves to learn to read and write Theodora sees nothing wrong with this, but will she eventually pay the price for teaching Sarah to read & write?

Thoughts on the audio production, I am already a huge fan of Jenna Lamia but this was my first time hearing January LaVoy and I must say I was very impressed and will be finding more books narrated by her. The narration of this book was so perfect both narrators bring these two women to life with such ease, I was very impressed with the narration and it ranks up in the top 10 of the year.(2013)

If you haven’t guessed I truly loved this book, I thought it was a very well written story, and I enjoyed seeing things from both perspectives.

I highly recommend this book especially on audio!

5 Stars

Friday, November 15, 2013

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion: A Novel by Fannie Flagg

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion: A Novel by Fannie Flagg

Description from GoodreadsMrs. Sookie Poole of Point Clear, Alabama, has just married off the last of her three daughters and is looking forward to relaxing and perhaps traveling with her husband, Earle. The only thing left to contend with now is her mother, the formidable and imposing Lenore Simmons Krackenberry—never an easy task. Lenore may be a lot of fun for other people, but is, for the most part, an overbearing presence for her daughter. Then one day, quite by accident, Sookie discovers a shocking secret about her mother’s past that knocks her for a loop and suddenly calls into question everything she ever thought she knew about herself, her family, and her future.

Feeling like a stranger in her own life, and fearful of confronting her mother with questions, Sookie begins a search for answers that takes her to California, the Midwest, and back in time, to the 1940s, when an irrepressible woman named Fritzi takes on the job of running her family’s filling station. With so many men off to war, it’s up to Fritzi and her enterprising younger sisters to keep it going. Soon truck drivers are changing their routes to fill up at the All-Girl Filling Station. But before long, Fritzi sees an opportunity for an even more groundbreaking adventure when she receives a life-changing invitation from the U.S. military to assist in the war effort. As Sookie learns more and more about Fritzi’s story, she finds herself with new answers to the questions she’s been asking her whole life.

My Review:
This is my new favorite Fannie Flagg book! This had just the right amount of humor, emotion, and family drama to make it a perfect mix and a great story.

Mrs. Sookie Poole has accidentally found out some life altering information, that changes how she sees herself  and who she thinks she is,  which honestly she was already struggling with before any of this happened, since she just married off her last daughter. She has an overbearing mother who she thinks is never happy with anything Sookie does. She is lucky that she has a wonderful, understanding husband and great kids that help her through this difficult time.

We also meet Fritzi  in the 1940’s, her family runs a gas station but when her father takes sick and her brother is sent off to war the girls of the family take over the station and make it a big hit with an all-girl staff. This works for a while but what Fritzi really loves to do is fly, and here is where we learn some great history of the WAF’s and how these sister’s became an integral part of that, it was a great history lesson of a little known part of the stateside war effort.

This was somewhat of a coming of age book for Sookie, she became something so much more than she ever thought she could be by the end but what I loved is that her kids and husband knew how great she was all along but she couldn’t see it. There is some great laugh out loud moments, and the relationship between Sookie and her mother Lenore is interesting and makes you realize sometimes people don’t see you the way you think they do.(and vice versa)

I loved this book and when I finished it I thought about starting over from the beginning again. 

5 Stars

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Library2Go Audiobook Spotlight~Is This Tomorrow by, Caroline Leavitt narrated by, Xe Sands

PUBLISHER--HighBridge Company
LENGTH--11 hrs and 26 mins
It's 1956, and working-mother Ava Lark and her son, Lewis, have rented a house in a less-than-welcoming Boston suburb. There, Lewis finds he is only able to befriend the other fatherless kids on the block, Jimmy and Rose. But when Jimmy goes missing, neighborhood paranoia ramps to new heights, further ostracizing Ava and Lewis.

Lewis never recovers from the loss of his childhood friend. In his twenties, he is a failure in love, living without direction, estranged from his mother. When Jimmy's disappearance is unexpectedly solved, however, Lewis, Rose, and Ava are thrown together once more to try to untangle the remaining pieces of the puzzle and reclaim something of what they have lost.

My Review:
This is such a unique tale, set in the 50’s divorced mother Ava and her son Lewis find it hard to fit into their Boston suburb because Ava is *Gasp* divorced so she must be a wanton woman after every man in town but that isn’t the case Ava is just trying her best for her and her son. Lewis has his own set of problems being the child of a divorcee’ but there are a brother and sister, Jimmy & Rose, that don’t have a father either and they bond and become best friends until the horrible day when Jimmy goes missing and everything changes.

This book is told from the perspective of an adult Lewis who has had his share of relationship problems with not only women he has dated but with his mom too. When the truth comes out about Jimmy’s disappearance things don’t become any easier for Lewis, Rose & Ava.

This was a complex story, filled with emotion, it is a family drama and a story of how friendships can change when something bad happens especially when you are young. I truly loved this book it is so well written that even though it isn’t an edge of your seat thriller type book it still grabbed me and I didn’t want to stop reading/listening. There were times when I thought if you people would just talk to each other maybe some of these long held misunderstandings could have been avoided but that is what made this book all the more real, these are real people dealing with huge events in the best way they know how and that isn’t always easy.

Who else but Xe Sands could pull off the raw emotion of this book, her narration was perfect she brought the emotions of every character to the forefront and I can’t imagine anyone else doing a better job at it. She was the perfect choice for this book!

This was the first book I have read by Leavitt but it will certainly not be the last!

4 ½ Stars

Friday, September 13, 2013

Library2Go E-Book Spotlight~A Bitter Veil by, Libby Fischer Hellmann

A Fascinating look at a time of turmoil in Iran with the fall of the Shah & the rise of the Ayatollah. This book felt very well researched and wasn’t a slam on an entire country or religion. We meet a young couple in love in America, Nouri  and Anna they are young and in love Nouri is Iranian but this makes no difference to Anna in fact she is looking forward to the day they make their home in Iran. However Iran is in the beginning stages of upheaval and when the Shah falls everything in Nouri & Anna’s life changes too and definitely not for the better.

I found this story fascinating in how fast people’s allegiances and loyalty and personalities changed with the revolution and how many different reasons for the changes. Anne married a sweet man in Nouri who was involved in human rights activism while he was studying in the US and even after they had gotten to Iran he seemed to still hold the same beliefs until after the fall of the Shah and Nouri is arrested he comes back a very different man and Anna’s whole life changes.

I don’t want to give too much away about what happens between Nouri and Anna but let’s say he becomes a different man than she married. The unrest in Iran is fascinating the way the people flip-flopped on what It was they wanted from their country it makes me wonder how different the middle east and Iran in particular would be now if the ones that wanted to embrace the modern and give the rights to everyone had won this particular battle.

In the author’s afterword she talks about interviewing many Iranian Americans for this story and I felt like this rang true to what I know of this time period. One thing the author said in the afterword is she is a crime writer and needed a crime but I kind of felt like the crimes were on the people of Iran although the crime did add to the ending and fit well in the story.

If you are at all interesting in this time period or setting or just a fan of historical fiction I would highly recommend this book.

4 Stars

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford -- 5 Stars

Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford -- 5 Stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Twelve-year-old William Eng, a Chinese-American boy, has lived at Seattle’s Sacred Heart Orphanage ever since his mother’s listless body was carried away from their small apartment five years ago. On his birthday—or rather, the day the nuns designate as his birthday—William and the other orphans are taken to the historical Moore Theatre, where William glimpses an actress on the silver screen who goes by the name of Willow Frost. Struck by her features, William is convinced that the movie star is his mother, Liu Song.
Determined to find Willow, and prove his mother is still alive, William escapes from Sacred Heart with his friend Charlotte. The pair navigates the streets of Seattle, where they must not only survive, but confront the mysteries of William’s past and his connection to the exotic film star. The story of Willow Frost, however, is far more complicated than the Hollywood fantasy William sees onscreen.
Shifting between the Great Depression and the 1920s, Songs of Willow Frost takes readers on an emotional journey of discovery. Jamie Ford’s sweeping book will resonate with anyone who has ever longed for the comforts of family and a place to call home.

My Review:
As with Ford’s last book this is a bittersweet story that will give you such major feels. William is such a sweet kid, you can't help but love him and I just wanted to give him a hug. There are 2 characters that will stay with you long after you are finished and they are William and Charlotte, these two kids are so precious and so damaged by circumstance they will break your heart but they will also fill your heart with such feelings.

Willow/Liu Song is a memorable character too but although I did feel sorry for her, I didn’t have the same feelings for her as I did for William. Her story is a sad one but some of that sadness comes from the choices she makes, Yes, I know bad things happened to her and I know she had no choice in those matters but I think her later choices are the ones she felt the most guilt for and in some ways rightfully so. Yes, I know it is a different time and prejudices being what they were made things all the harder for her as a single/unwed Chinese mother in the 1920’s so I understand she did the best she could being so young and having no family to depend on. Ok, I am not going to say anymore you will need to make your own decision about how you feel about Willow.

I liked the alternating chapters as Willow tells William the story of his life before the orphanage and seeing it through his eyes as the story unfolds, as sparks of memory he had forgotten are reignited.

How come it is so hard for me to write a coherent review of a book I loved? This book made me feel so much, it is beautifully written; Jamie Ford has a great talent for taking a sad/bittersweet story and telling it in a way that you are not depressed when you are done with the book. There were a few times I had to put it down for a few moments, one moment especially and when you read the book you will know exactly which one I am talking about. But it just made the story more beautiful, and heartbreaking.

This is an amazing story, I for one absolutely loved it and I hope you will too. Beautifully, heartrending and heartbreaking but a story that will stay with you long after you are finished, I have such a book hangover from this book that I have not been able to start a new book yet, and for me that is a sure sign of a great book.

5 Stars

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Now Available on Libray2Go~Dust and Shadow: by, Lyndsay Faye Narrated by, Simon Vance

Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr.John H. Watson by, Lyndsay Faye Narrated by, Simon Vance

I swear that Lyndsay Faye has channeled Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, this book felt so much like an original Holmes story that if I hadn’t known who the author was I would have just assumed it was a Doyle story. This book can stand up alongside the Holmes canon with no fear of recriminations this is the best non-Doyle Holmes story I have ever read!

Who better to finally solve the Ripper case than Sherlock Holmes? However before he can solve the case he is accused of being the Ripper himself! This story had some great twists and turns and just the right amount of actual Ripper facts to make this a very believable story combining these two iconic characters seamlessly. Yes, I know Jack the Ripper was real and Sherlock is not but this book was so well written that real and fiction blurred into one fantastic story, and I think Sherlock got it right, his explanation of who the Ripper was seemed to fit better with the evidence than a lot of other hypothesis I’ve read or heard.

There is a great “feel” of Whitechapel the author transports you into these dark alleys with their smells and people, the atmosphere was great you could almost hear the clopping of horses hoofs and see the mist and fog. She also brings everyone from the original Holmes including Mrs. Hudson, Inspector Lestrade, and Mycroft and brings a new character Miss Monk who is a woman of some ill repute but just the kind of woman who could help Holmes snare The Ripper, I enjoyed her she was a fun character.

As always Simon Vance’s narration is spot on,  the differing voices of Watson & Holmes were great it had the feel of the old Basil Rathbone movies(which are my favorites) with Watson’s voice a bit more gravely than Holmes and Holmes’ smooth I’m better than you cadence of speech. I can’t think of anyone who could have done this book more justice than Simon Vance.

I highly recommend this book especially on audio! If you are a Holmes fan this is a must read!

5 Stars

Monday, August 12, 2013

Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall

Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall 
Synopsis from Goodreads:  From an award-winning author comes a wise and tender coming-of-age story about a nine-year-old girl who runs away from her Mississippi home in 1963, befriends a lonely woman suffering loss and abuse, and embarks on a life-changing roadtrip.

The summer of 1963 begins like any other for nine-year-old Starla Claudelle. Born to teenage parents in Mississippi, Starla is being raised by a strict paternal grandmother, Mamie, whose worst fear is that Starla will turn out like her mother. Starla hasn’t seen her momma since she was three, but is convinced that her mother will keep her promise to take Starla and her daddy to Nashville, where her mother hopes to become a famous singer—and that one day her family will be whole and perfect.

When Starla is grounded on the Fourth of July, she sneaks out to see the parade. After getting caught, Starla’s fear that Mamie will make good on her threats and send her to reform school cause her to panic and run away from home. Once out in the country, Starla is offered a ride by a black woman, Eula, who is traveling with a white baby. She happily accepts a ride, with the ultimate goal of reaching her mother in Nashville.

As the two unlikely companions make their long and sometimes dangerous journey, Starla’s eyes are opened to the harsh realities of 1963 southern segregation. Through talks with Eula, reconnecting with her parents, and encountering a series of surprising misadventures, Starla learns to let go of long-held dreams and realizes family is forged from those who will sacrifice all for you, no matter if bound by blood or by the heart.

My Review:
I truly enjoyed this book, my favorite character was Eula, there were times Starla would get on my nerves and you just wanted to shake her, but she was young & naïve, abandoned by her mother, raised by a grandmother who is much tougher on her than anyone realizes. She is a sassy little thing and has this idealized idea of her mother who she thinks is a big star in Nashville plus a father who works out on an oil rig and doesn’t come home very often. When Starla gets into trouble she runs away from her Grandmother Mamie’s home to be with her mother, but things don’t go as smoothly as Starla thinks, she is picked up by a black woman, Eula, who is traveling with of all things a white baby (remember this is 1963) Eula promises she will get her to Nashville but they need to stop at her house first and Eula’s husband is none too happy to have two white children in his home, this is when things get a might complicated for Starla & Eula.

The friendship between Eula & Starla is sweet and I loved how much they each learned from each other even when they didn’t realize it, Starla’s eyes were opened to what goes on in the world outside of her little Mississippi town where the only “coloreds” she knows are the help for the rich people in town, but what I liked was with Starla’s naïveté she doesn’t judge Eula on the color of her skin just by her deeds and the size of her heart.

This is a road trip book and these two are on a doozy, and it seems like what could go wrong did go wrong, plus they have a white baby named James along for the ride (again I remind you these 3 are traveling from Mississippi to Nashville in 1963) so you can guess what some of the trouble they run into is. I don’t want to give too much away but let’s just say Starla’s daddy hasn’t been all that honest with her about her mamma. As I said before there are times when Starla’s “red rage” (as she calls it) get her into more trouble than she needed to be in and there were times I just wanted to yell Starla NOOOO, but what fun would that book have been?

I highly recommend this book, if you are a fan of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and/or Calling Me Home I would say get this book right now!

4 ½ Stars

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Half Forgotten Song , by Katherine Webb

A Half Forgotten Song , by Katherine Webb

Synopsis from Goodreads:A spellbinding tale about the power of love, the danger of obsession, and the unfaithful nature of memory. A Half Forgotten Song is by turns haunting, heartbreaking and joyous.

1937. In a village on the Dorset coast, fourteen-year-old Mitzy Hatcher has endured a wild and lonely upbringing, until the arrival of renowned artist Charles Aubrey-along with his exotic mistress and their daughters-changes everything. Over the next three summers, Mitzy sees a future she had never thought possible, and a powerful love is kindled in her. A love that grows from innocence to obsession; from childish infatuation to something far more complex. Years later, a young man in an art gallery looks at a hastily-drawn portrait and wonders at its intensity. The questions he asks lead him to a Dorset village and to the truth about those fevered summers in the 1930s.

My Review:
Dimity/Mitzy is an unreliable narrator but I don’t think it is in a mean spirited way, I believe it is her story completely from her point of view, even though that view is skewed, compared to how other people remember it. She never knew any kindness in this world so of course she would fall in love with the first person that showed it to her.

The back and forth in time worked very well, as Zach tries to find out the truth about artist Charles Aubrey but what he finds in Mitzy is not what he expected to find and can she be believed? Mitzy’s story was so fascinating and made even more so as realize what an unreliable narrator she is but you can’t help but fall in love with her either, at least I couldn’t, I felt she was stuck in this time, I don’t believe she ever really matured past this point in her life and it made me sad for her and just want to hug her.

I really liked the way the author told this story with this air of mystery as you try to figure out just how much of Dimity’s story is the truth and how much is pure fantasy. Zach was an interesting character too as he tries to figure out not only what to do with his own life but to find out what his real connection is to the famous artist. Mitzy’s mother is a piece of work who I just wanted to slap, the way she treats Mitzy is just awful she is a very unlikable person, and maybe Mitzy wouldn’t have been so in need of love, attention and normalcy if she had been even a decent mother. There are hints of gothic fiction here but I wouldn’t categorize it as such all the characters are fully fleshed out and truly “alive”.

I have enjoyed Webb’s other two books and this one did not disappoint I highly recommend all of her books! I couldn’t put this book down I feel it is a must read but be prepared for some late nights and characters that will stay with you long after you are finished!

4 1/2 Stars

Friday, July 5, 2013

Road Trip/ Vacation Audiobook Recommendations from Library2Go

Road Trip/ Vacation Audiobook Recommendations from Library2Go  

                                               For the family:
The Bloody Jack series by, L.A. Meyer narrated by, Katherine Kellgren

The True Meaning of Smekday  by, Adam Rex narrated by, Bahni Turpin

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Series, Book 1 by Maryrose Wood narrated by,Katherine Kellgren

Hatchet (series) by, Gary Paulson narrated by, Peter Coyote

The Harry Potter Series by, JK Rowling narrated by, Jim Dale

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by, Jacqueline Kelly narrated by, Natalie Ross

Magic Tree House Collection, Books 1-8 by Mary Pope Osborne narrated by,Mary Pope Osborne

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman narrated by,Neil Gaiman

Ready Player One by, Earnest Cline narrated by, Wil Wheaton

The Hunger Games (Series) by, Suzanne Collins narrated by, Carolyn McCormick

Divergent (Series) by, Veronica Roth narrated by, Emma Galvin

The Night Circus by, Erin Morgenstern narrated by, Jim Dale

The Looking Glass Wars by, Frank Beddor narrated by, Gerard Doyle

Cold Sassy Tree by, Olive Ann Burns narrated by, Tom Parker

                                      Fun Paranormal:
The Eyre Affair (Series) by, Jasper FForde narrated by, Emily Gray

Secondhand Spirits: A Witchcraft Mystery by, Juliet Blackwell narrated by, Xe Sands



Heat Wave by, Richard Castle narrated by, Johnny Heller 

Anything by, Lisa Gardner

Defending Jacob by William Landay narrated by,Grover Gardner

The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbøl & Agnete Friis narrated by, Katherine Kellgren
Anything by, Michael Connelly

Anything by, Janet Evanovich

                                         Adult Fiction:
Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler narrated by, Bahni Turpin & Lorna Raver

The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore, narrated by, Adenrele Ojo &, Pamella D'Pella

The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo narrated by, Karen White

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom narrated by, Dan Stevens

The Asylum by John Harwood narrated by, Rosalyn Landor

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker narrated by,Emily Janice Card

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty narrated by, Elizabeth McGovern

The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen narrated by, Xe Sands

The Cove by, Ron Rash

A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson narrated by, Joshilyn Jackson

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson narrated by, Peter Altschuler

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown narrated by, Kirsten Potter

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan narrated by, Cassandra Campbell Julia Whelan Danny Campbell

The Help by Kathryn Stockett narrated by, Octavia Spencer Bahni Turpin Jenna Lamia

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles narrated by, Rebecca Lowman

Non-Fiction: Adult :
Catherine the Great by, Robert Massie narrated by, Mark Deakins

 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by, Rebecca Skloot narrated by, Bahni Turpin & Cassandra Campbell

Adult- Life by, Keith Richards narrated by, by, Johnny Depp & Jon Hurley

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore

The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore

Synopsis from Goodreads: Meet Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean in the New York Times best-selling novel . . .
Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat is home away from home for this inseparable Plainview, Indiana, trio.  Dubbed “the Supremes” by high school pals in the tumultuous 1960s, they weather life’s storms together for the next four decades. Now, during their most challenging year yet, dutiful, proud, and talented Clarice must struggle to keep up appearances as she deals with her husband’s humiliating infidelities. Beautiful, fragile Barbara Jean is rocked by the tragic reverberations of a youthful love affair. And fearless Odette engages in the most terrifying battle of her life while contending with the idea that she has inherited more than her broad frame from her notorious pot-smoking mother, Dora.

Through marriage, children, happiness, and the blues, these strong, funny women gather each Sundayat the same table at Earl’s diner for delicious food, juicy gossip, occasional tears, and uproarious banter.

With wit and love, style and sublime talent, Edward Kelsey Moore brings together four intertwined love stories, three devoted allies, and two sprightly earthbound spirits in a big-hearted debut novel that embraces the lives of people you will never forget.

My Review:
This was an interesting story it had me laughing at times and crying at others. These 3 women, friends since they were teens have gone through a lot, each dealing with their circumstances in their own way, yet knowing that the other women were there for them no matter what. I loved Odette she handled her circumstance gracefully and I loved her ghosts, which included her pot smoking mama and a drunken Mrs. Roosevelt these scenes had me laughing hard. Barbara Jean was a sad case but I loved seeing her grow throughout the book into a much stronger woman than she had been. Clarice has a philandering husband and finally gets up the guts to leave him but the consequences and outcome of that makes for a very interesting story too.

I enjoyed this book I think it’s a good one if you are a fan of southern fiction, or friendship stories. What is shocking is that this book is written by a man because he nailed these friendships and the women’s “voices” which isn’t easy for a male author to do and he does it very well. Also for a first novel this book is very well written I look forward to another book by this author, I think he is a rising star!

4 Stars

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Looking For Me by, Beth Hoffman

Looking For Me by, Beth Hoffman

This book grabbed me from the first paragraph I thought it was a memorable start:
“Some people run towards life, arms flung wide in anticipation. Others crack open the door and take a one-eyed peek to see what’s out there. Then there are those who give up on life long before their heart stops beating- all used up, worn out, and caved in, yet wake each morning and shuffle their tired legs through another. Maybe they’re hoping for change—a miracle, even—but runaway dreams and lost years hang heavily in their backs. It’s the only coat they know how to wear.”

I also thought this was a great quote to:
“I thought about the old saying, how we can never go home again. But I think it’s more like a piece of us stays behind when we leave- a piece we can never reclaim, one that awaits our next visit and demands that we remember.”

Teddi is a great character she is so down to earth yet driven artistically, we share her life in present day and flashbacks and her journey is not always a happy one. The descriptions of the furniture that Teddi restores sound so amazing you can see them clearly in your head (I want a chest made by her). The people Teddi meets in her life that help on her path to her dreams are great, especially Mr. Palmer he sees her amazing talent in her first piece and later he takes her in and gives her so much support to live out her dream, he’s a great character. Also in the shop are Albert & Inez who I also fell in love with and also her best friend Olivia and Granny Belle  I also loved that Teddi let people be themselves she never judged her friends (her mother may be a different story but I am not going to spoil that for you). But these are the people in her adult life and the two people that believed in her are gone, her father and her brother Josh but Josh isn’t dead at least not to Teddi he walked away from the farm one day and was never seen again but Teddi has always believed he is out there in the woods living in nature and with the animals he loves. Josh is also an amazing character written with such feeling and conviction, and makes me want to believe what Teddi believes!

Towards the end of the book I slowed reading, I got to a certain point and didn’t want to know what happens because that would mean the end of the book...I've picked it up and set it down about three times I don't want to leave yet! Done now, I miss these characters already!

Beth Hoffman is a great storyteller she makes you care about each and every person, there is no bad guys just people who make choices on how to act that affects others in ways they may not realize until it is too late. She made me want to go to Charleston to see the amazing architecture and to go to every antique shop until I find one of Teddi’s chests. Also we have a few of Charleston’s more colorful characters in Mrs. Poteet and Zelda who make life interesting.

I adored this book, it is very different from CeeCee yet gives you major feels like CeeCee did, but really that and it being set in the south are the only similarities, I thought this was a unique book with a hint of magical realism coming from the Native American beliefs held by Josh. I say this is unique because there isn’t really a lot going on, it is just Teddi’s life, yet I couldn’t put it down and as I said I didn’t want to stop when I got to the end. Beth Hoffman made me feel like the people in this book could be my friend, that is the magic of her writing, she makes you care. I will read anything she puts on paper!

5 Stars

I received this book from the author for an honest review.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Orphan Train by, Christina Baker Kline

Orphan Train by, Christina Baker Kline

What a fabulous read! The author mixed the historical and present day story so seamlessly I was completely hooked.

The story of the orphan train is so sad, these children were herded up like cattle and sent away from everything they knew, sent to a strange land with people who may or may not take care of them. For some it was indentured servitude, others were free labor that came with beatings. Some, the lucky ones found homes with people who truly cared about their well-being, and then ones like Niamh/Dorothy/Vivian had to go through a few bad ones to find the good one. These children lost their heritage, their names, and their religion. I felt the author’s research was very thorough and this book like historical fiction should be makes me want to read more and more about the orphan trains.

In the present day we meet Molly a Penobscot Indian in foster care after her father dies and her mother is in no shape to take care of her, she bounces from one bad home to another. When she gets in trouble her boyfriend sets it up for her to do her community service with his mother’s boss Vivian a 91 year old woman who needs help cleaning out her attic. As the two go through the boxes of Vivian’s life they realize they have much more in common than anyone would have ever guessed.

I loved the relationship between Vivian & Molly how both are wary because of what they have been through and to see this relationship grow through the stories Vivian tells as they unearth her life that has been tucked away in boxes.

I truly enjoyed this story and I think Molly and Vivian will stay with me for a while. This was my first book by this author but she has piqued my curiosity and I will be looking for her other books.

I highly recommend this book but be warned it is hard to put down and will stay with you long after you finish!

4 ½ Stars

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sync YA Literature to Your Earphones-Free Young Adult & Classic audiobook

SYNC offers free Young Adult & Classic audiobook downloads in the summer months to introduce the listening experience. these download right into your Overdrive App.
Mermaids, monsters, and mistaken identities start the summer of free audiobook downloads from SYNC YA Literature Into Your Earphones off with a splash.
Teens and other readers of Young Adult Literature will have the opportunity to listen to bestselling titles and required reading classics this summer.   Each week  from now until August 15, 2013, SYNC will offer two free audiobook downloads.

Available to download free May 30 – June 5, 2013

Of Poseidon
By Anna Banks
Read by Rebecca Gibel
Published by AudioGO
“Gibel’s flirty banter will make
a big splash with listeners.”
–AudioFile Magazine

Galen, prince of the Syrena, is sent to land to find a girl he’s heard can communicate with fish and after several encounters with her Galen becomes convinced Emma holds the key to his kingdom.

Listen to a clip:

The Tempest
By William Shakespeare
Performed by a Full Cast
Published by AudioGO/ BBC Radio
A storm rages. Prospero and his daughter watch from their desert island as a ship carrying the royal family is wrecked. Miraculously, all on board survive. Plotting, mistaken identities, and bewitching love follow as the travelers explore the strange place of spirits and monsters.

Listen to a clip:

Full schedule here:
June 6 – June 12, 2013
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 1: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood, read by Katherine Kellgren (HarperAudio)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, read by Wanda McCaddon (Tantor Audio)

June 13 – June 19, 2013
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Will Patton (Scholastic Audiobooks)
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya, read by Robert Ramirez (Recorded Books)

June 20 – June 26, 2013
Once by Morris Gleitzman, read by Morris Gleitzman (Bolinda Audio)
Letter From Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr., read by Dion Graham (christianaudio)

June 27 – July 3, 2013
Rotters by Daniel Kraus, read by Kirby Heyborne (Listening Library)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, read by Jim Weiss (Listening Library)

July 4 – July 10, 2013
Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford, read by Nick Podehl (Brilliance Audio)
She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith, read by a Full Cast (L.A. Theatre Works)

July 11 – July 17, 2013
The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann, read by Peter Altschuler (HarperAudio)
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, read by Simon Vance (Tantor Audio)
July 18 – July 24, 2013
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, read by Erin Moon (Recorded Books)
Hamlet by William Shakespeare, read by a Full Cast (L.A. Theatre Works)

July 25 – July 31, 2013
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen, read by Charlie McWade (Scholastic Audiobooks)
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain, read by Steve West (Blackstone Audio)

Aug 1 – Aug 7, 2013
Death Cloud by Andrew Lane, read by Dan Weyman (Macmillan Audio)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, read by Ralph Cosham (Blackstone Audio)

Aug 8 – Aug 14, 2013
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis, read by Katherine Kellgren (Brilliance Audio)
Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, read by Miriam Margolyes (Bolinda Audio)

Aug 15 – Aug 21, 2013
Sold by Patricia McCormick, read by Justine Eyre (Tantor Audio)
Let Me Stand Alone by Rachel Corrie, read by Tavia Gilbert (Blackstone Audio)

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Next Time You See Me By, Holly Goddard Jones

The Next Time You See Me By, Holly Goddard Jones

Synopsis from Goodreads: Thirteen-year-old Emily Houchens doesn’t have many friends. She finds more comfort playing make-believe in the woods near her house in Roma, Kentucky, than with her classmates, who find her strange and awkward. When she happens upon a dead body hidden in the woods one day, she decides not to tell anyone about her discovery—a choice that begins to haunt her.
Susanna Mitchell has always been a good girl, the dutiful daughter and wife. While her older sister Ronnie trolled bars for men and often drove home at sunrise, Susanna kept a neat house, a respectable job, a young daughter. But when Ronnie goes missing, and Susanna realizes that she’s the only person in Roma who truly cares about her sister’s fate, she starts to question her quiet life and its value.
The Next Time You See Me is the story of how one woman’s disappearance exposes the ambitions, prejudices, and anxieties of a small southern town and its residents, who are all connected, sometimes in unexpected ways. Emily; Susannah; Tony, a failed baseball star-turned-detective, aspiring to be the county’s first black sheriff; and Wyatt, a fifty-five-year-old factory worker tormented by a past he can’t change and by a love he doesn’t think he deserves. Their stories converge in a violent climax that reveals not just the mystery of what happened to Ronnie but all of their secret selves.

My Review:

Susanna’s sister Ronnie has gone missing but since she’s kind of the town bad girl no one but Susanna seems to care which gets Susanna wondering if the life she has is the life she wants. Then there is her students Emily & Christopher, Emily is a shy girl from the wrong side of the tracks and Christopher little rich boy with attitude…Ugh Christopher is such a little puke and I don’t understand how Emily can even think of being friends with him. Emily truly needs some serious counseling between her insecurities, self esteem, being bullied and what happened in the woods I hope her parents will get her some help!

Then there is Wyatt a 55 year old overweight factory worker, I liked Wyatt I also felt sorry for him, I felt he’d been bullied his whole life, pretty sure the night at the bar wasn’t the first time he’s been bullied he fell for it all too easily. Thought it was sweet that he and Sara got together and was rooting for them both to find love.

The prayer service for Ronnie made me wonder how often those are done; a prayer for a missing person who wasn’t well liked and didn’t attend church. I agree with Susanna that it all just felt wrong but I can understand that she was feeling like finally people were starting to take her sisters disappearance seriously.

This book was very hard to put down it has bullying of kids and adults, a missing person, a murder,  old loves returning and some very, very flawed people but it comes together in a fabulous story. I don’t want to give any spoilers but there was a certain storyline that I hoped would be a red herring and am amazed that the author made me feel bad for a murderer but I was emotionally invested and it was a great twist well an emotional twist for me. All these different characters with nary a thing in common all find themselves thrown into the drama of Ronnie’s disappearance some in ways that will leave you shaking your head in wonder.

4 Stars

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Library2Go Audiobook Spotlight #9~Calling Me Home: A Novel by Julie Kibler Narrated by, Bahni Turpin & Lorna Raver

Most of you know our new Library2Go service makes it easy to download ebooks but what some might not know is there is also a great selection of audiobooks available for download too. I will spotlight some of my favorite audiobooks and narrators.
This book is also available in hardcover at the library

Calling Me Home: A Novel by Julie Kibler Narrated by, Bahni Turpin & Lorna Raver

Synopsis from Goodreads: Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler is a soaring debut interweaving the story of a heartbreaking, forbidden love in 1930s Kentucky with an unlikely modern-day friendship
Eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllister has a favor to ask her hairdresser Dorrie Curtis. It's a big one. Isabelle wants Dorrie, a black single mom in her thirties, to drop everything to drive her from her home in Arlington, Texas, to a funeral in Cincinnati. With no clear explanation why. Tomorrow.
Dorrie, fleeing problems of her own and curious whether she can unlock the secrets of Isabelle's guarded past, scarcely hesitates before agreeing, not knowing it will be a journey that changes both their lives.
Over the years, Dorrie and Isabelle have developed more than just a business relationship. They are friends. But Dorrie, fretting over the new man in her life and her teenage son’s irresponsible choices, still wonders why Isabelle chose her.
Isabelle confesses that, as a willful teen in 1930s Kentucky, she fell deeply in love with Robert Prewitt, a would-be doctor and the black son of her family's housekeeper—in a town where blacks weren’t allowed after dark. The tale of their forbidden relationship and its tragic consequences makes it clear Dorrie and Isabelle are headed for a gathering of the utmost importance and that the history of Isabelle's first and greatest love just might help Dorrie find her own way.

My Review:

This is such a great story! But be careful where you read it and have tissues ready especially towards the end, I happened to be driving at the end of this one!

I fell in love with both of these characters Miss Isabelle and Dorrie were true friends even though such different people. Dorrie is an African American single mother and hairdresser who has been doing 89 year old Isabelle’s hair for over a year and they have grown close but when Isabelle asks Dorrie to drive her from Texas to Ohio for a funeral, Dorrie jumps at the chance to get away from her own troubles for awhile and help the old lady out.

This book is told in alternating chapters by Dorrie and Isabelle, Dorrie dealing with her own problems at home in the present day and Isabelle telling the story of her life; that when she was 17 in Kentucky in the 1930’s she fell in love with a black man and the consequences that occurred due to her actions. Isabelle’s story is so heartbreaking but beautiful and the friendship that grows between these two women is one of the best friendships out there. I adored this book and couldn’t put it down I didn’t want to stop listening I needed to know how the story played out because with each bombshell Isabella would drop you could see so many ways the story could go and most of them had very dire consequences.

I received the ebook galley of this book from netgalley then I heard that it was going to be narrated by, Bahni Turpin & Lorna Raver so of course I waited for the audiobook and I am so glad I did. These two are perfect for the characters Bahni as Dorrie and Lorna as Isabelle bring the emotion of this book bubbling to surface in waves of emotion that will make you feel everything these characters are going through. Lorna Raver’s telling of Isabelle’s story is at times pure raw emotion that conveys so beautifully the heartbreak of her long life and Bahni Turpin’s Dorrie is smart yet has this soft vulnerable side that Turpin brings to life without flaw.

I highly recommend this book on audio with these two narrators how can you go wrong! This is one the best books I’ve read this year. If you like southern fiction and beautiful friendship stories give this book a try you won’t be disappointed!

5 stars

PS After reading the book the cover will about break your heart!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Six Years by, Harlan Coben

Six Years by, Harlan Coben

Synopsis from Goodreads: Six years have passed since Jake Sanders watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. Six years of hiding a broken heart by throwing himself into his career as a college professor. Six years of keeping his promise to leave Natalie alone, and six years of tortured dreams of her life with her new husband, Todd. But six years haven't come close to extinguishing his feelings, and when Jake comes across Todd's obituary, he can't keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse of Todd's wife he's hoping for . . . but she is not Natalie. Whoever the mourning widow is, she's been married to Todd for more than a decade, and with that fact everything Jake thought he knew about the best time of his life ? a time he has never gotten over ? is turned completely inside out. As Jake searches for the truth, his picture-perfect memories of Natalie begin to unravel. Mutual friends of the couple either can't be found or don't remember Jake. No one has seen Natalie in years. Jake's search for the woman who broke his heart ? and who lied to him ? soon puts his very life at risk as it dawns on him that the man he has become may be based on carefully constructed fiction. Harlan Coben once again delivers a shocking novel that deftly explores the power of past love and the secrets and lies that such love can hide.

My Review:
This book will grab you, throw you back in your seat and make you hang on for dear life because it is going to be a heck of ride! This was so hard to put down because it didn’t let up for a minute. It is very hard to write a review with no spoilers and not so much gushing.

Six years ago Jake watched the love of his life Natalie marry another man (Todd) she made him promise to leave them alone but now six years later Jake sees an obituary for her husband and decides to go to the funeral and at the least catch a glimpse of Natalie but the wife is not Natalie it is someone else, someone who Todd has been married to for over 16 years. Jake sets out to find Natalie and discover what is going on, but some things are not that easy especially when you are trying to find someone who doesn’t want to be found and Jake soon learns the hard way that he is not the only one looking for her.

This is my favorite Harlan Coben book yet this had so many twists and turns that when you think you know what is going on it changes, yes, I was right on a few things but there were more aspects that left my jaw dragging on the ground. There were times when you have to roll your eyes at Jake, or maybe that’s just me because I am about as unromantic as they come. And there were times when you wanted to yell NOOOO at him as he charged from one dangerous situation to another (I actually did yell this once luckily I was by myself!).  I really liked that Coben even had me wondering about Jake’s sanity for awhile I was beginning to wonder myself if Natalie was real or if it was a figment of his imagination, but that is what made this book so great even the reader starts questioning Jake. Okay I need to stop here because everything else I am thinking of writing is spoilerific but man do I want to discuss this book with someone who has read it!

If you haven’t figured out yet I loved this book, if you are looking for a thrill ride full of twists and turns you need to read this book!

4 ½ Stars

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Library2Go Audiobook Spotlight # 8~The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew narrated by, Karen White

When deciding which book to read next most people know what they are looking for in print form what this column will highlight is a different form of reading, and that is listening to the audiobook. I love audiobooks whether it be traveling in the car, cleaning the house or working I listen to audiobooks all the time.
Most of you know our new Library2Go service makes it easy to download ebooks but what some might not know is there is also a great selection of audiobooks available for download too. I will spotlight some of my favorite audiobooks and narrators.

Library2Go Audiobook Spotlight # 8~The DryGrass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew narrated by, Karen White (Also available as an ebook)
My Review:

Since this book is set in the south in the 50’s and the Watts family has a “colored girl” you know something bad is going to happen to change everyone’s life, But this book was so much more than the story you are expecting.

Jubie Watts is 13 years old the summer everything in her life changed, even though her family employs “a girl” she is more like family to her and she doesn’t really understand the racial tensions that are rising around her. She really has no idea what kind of people her parents are, especially her father but that is all about to change as Jubie’s coming of age story unfolds you can’t help but want to reach out and give her a hug.

This book has shades of The Help which you can’t help compare it to but it is much more than just about the help it is about how you see your family, how you deal with seeing wrongs done to people and what you decide to do about them.

This is good 50’s southern fiction I say if you liked The Help or The Secret Life of Bees give this one a go!

Audio Production: Karen White narrates this one and I must say how impressed I was, I’ve listened to other books narrated by Karen but this was the first southern fiction and I will admit to being pleasantly surprised at how well she shifted between the different ethnicities. I highly recommend this book in audio because Karen’s narration is spot on!

4 Stars

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan
Synopsis From Goodreads: A gripping novel set in Belle Époque Paris and inspired by the real-life model for Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen and a notorious criminal trial of the era.
Paris. 1878. Following their father’s sudden death, the van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction from their lodgings seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opéra, where for a scant seventy francs a month, she will be trained to enter the famous ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work—and the love of a dangerous young man—as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir.
Marie throws herself into dance and is soon modelling in the studio of Edgar Degas, where her image will forever be immortalized as Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. Antoinette, meanwhile, descends lower and lower in society, and must make the choice between a life of honest labor and the more profitable avenues open to a young woman of the Parisian demimonde—that is, unless her love affair derails her completely.
Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural, and societal change, The Painted Girls is a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of “civilized society.”

My Review:

This was an interesting story with very well done, fully fleshed out characters , and with what I love about historical fiction, it made me go do research so I had Degas’ Ballerina portraits and the little dancer sculpture on my computer so I could look at them while reading. These characters are all very flawed but really just trying to survive the world the best they know how.

The story of these girls was fascinating and I loved the liberty the author took to combine Emil’s story with Antoinette & Marie’s I think it added such a great layer of depth to the story, where if it hadn’t been there, this book would have had less “meat” to it. There is a third sister in this story but to me she was just a secondary character to Antoinette & Marie, yet even though their mother is a smaller part of the story too I really felt her presence whenever she was in a scene, like when she was visiting Antoinette but really she wasn’t there to see her daughter it was just an excuse for a few extra hours off work. I thought this epitomized who this woman was.

This is also a great look at life especially for the poor in the late 1800’s and how once their father dies they have to find work somewhere, there were much worse “professions” than being a dancer or even a nude model for an artist and we all know what that is. These girls don’t have it easy and go through some pretty tough times and tough men. Also the insight into the paintings of Degas that I think everyone has seen even if they don’t realize who the artist is was fascinating, he seems to be one of the few artists that actually had a modicum of success while he was still alive. I have always found his work fascinating because of its day in a life aspects’ so that made his part in this book extra interesting to me.

I highly recommend this book it is good historical fiction with a little look into the world of Degas, a little mystery and the daily life of the downtrodden of the late 1800’s.

4 stars

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson: March Bookclub Pick

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson: March Bookclub Pick

Our library bookclub was chosen to receive advance copies of this book from the publisher but we didn’t expect a 500+ page book so that was off-putting right away for some but once I got past the first 100 pages it was a fast read, some didn’t make it that far and gave up, some finished and liked it almost as much as I did and others finished and only found it a 3 or less star read. Our average Star Rating for this book was 3.5 so still pretty good. Our Library bookclub would like to thank the publisher Little Brown for choosing us to receive an advanced copy of this book. The review below is from our Librarian. 

This book started out slow for me the first 100 pages I was confused then all of a sudden I couldn't put this book down and I think it took me as long to read the last 400 pages as it did to read the first 100. There are times this book is confusing and I can see how people would give up on it but I am really glad I had to read this for bookclub so I didn’t give up after my usual 50-100 pages because that is when it gets good!

I really liked Ursula in all her different “lives”. She didn’t always make the wisest decisions but that is the crux of this book it is the different paths your life can take, if you do this then this is how your life will go and if you turn the other way and change that decision then this is what could happen. I also liked the family story we get to know the Todd’s is so many different ways because of the different decisions made by Ursula, and how her decisions affect what happens to others. I also got a kick out of Aunt Izzie she was a fun character.

The storyline’s about England during WWII are amazing you really get a feel of what it was like while the bombs are going off, the dust and dirt and coming around a corner to find a familiar street totally unrecognizable, when she was working as a relief worker helping find and identify the victims were heartbreaking and had such a real feel.  Ursula never really has very good taste in men no matter if it is a husband, lover or passing dalliance, I felt she was actually her happiest when she was living on her own.(Well most of the time, there is the gas incident).

As Ursula goes through life again and again she does have hazy memories more a déjà vu at times, other times just a feeling of dread, and sometime a straight up knowing of what will happen if certain events take place, yes I’m looking at you Bridget please don’t go to the fair! (Or her let’s kill Hitler phase) But she never fully realizes what is happening or why she sees the things she does or feels what she does about certain events. Each of her “lives” is varied some she dies young, some she has a husband and children, some she lives out a longer life and some of her “deaths” will shock you when the repeats start you almost feel like you are the one having déjà vu. I will say though that some of the stories start and it’s almost suspenseful as you wait to see how she dies this time.

I actually liked that the author didn’t fully explain what was happening to Ursula, be it reincarnation, déjà vu, past life or whatever you think it may be. I also am left wondering if her mother Sylvie wasn’t going through a similar “life”.

This book is one that I think will stay with you long after you read it, I am done now but still thinking of Ursula. I would recommend hanging in there if the first 100 pages are getting you down because once you get over that hump then it will really grab you! Kate Atkinson has written a fascinating, unique book that I think is deserving of all the buzz it is getting, just know this is very different than the Jackson Brodie series.

4 stars