Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bee Loud Glade by, Steve Himmer narrated by, Mark F. Smith

Bee Loud Glade by, Steve Himmer narrated by, Mark F. Smith
 Publisher: Iambik 
Received from Audiobookjukebox Solid Gold Reviewer Program

 Description: Himmer’s debut novel, The Bee-Loud Glade, is the charming story of a decorative hermit who lives and works on a billionaire’s estate, and whose daily experience is shaped by his employer’s whims. The book combines a darkly comic commentary on modern work and wealth with a postmodern pastoral landscape. It brings a playfulness more commonly found in urban fiction to an outdoor setting.

  My Review:

This book was like a cross between Castaway and Big Brother. Finch has lost his job and falls into a depression after a long time of not showering or leaving the house he answers a spam email for an unknown job and the next day a limo shows up and whisks him away to a big mansion compound where a billionaire wants him to be his garden hermit, for 7 years and $5 million and Finch accepts. This is the odd premise of this fascinating book.

 This was such a unique book it is hard to review… What started as a “job” for $5 million dollars turns into a life Finch loves and he never wants to leave his garden. He spends his day in reflective meditation, floating naked in the river that was built just for him, working in his vegetable field and he is very happy way happier than he was in his old life. Even though he knows his whole life is being filmed and recorded he finds ways to ignore the cameras. His new boss sets tasks for him along the way but eventually things change and Finch is all alone and quite happy. Oh I don’t want to give too much away but will say Finch does have a choice to make and it made me wonder which choice I would make.

 The narration of this audiobook is done by Mark F. Smith and he does a very nice job and I would listen to him again. This is straight up storytelling with only a couple different voices but it was a story well told by Mark F. Smith. As always the production value from iambik audio is top notch.

 The serene peaceful life Finch leads made me wonder if I could do it give up all my creature comforts and electronics to live as a hermit. Honestly I don’t think I could, at least not for the amount of time Finch does. I enjoyed this book and was never bored with Finch’s life even though he pretty much does nothing. I highly recommend this book so you can start your own reflective meditations on how rushed and busy our lives are.

 4 Stars

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by, Christopher Healy narrated by, Bronson Pinchot -Audiobook Review

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by, Christopher Healy narrated by, Bronson Pinchot
Synopsis from Goodreads :Enter a world where everything, even our classic fairy tales, is not at all what it seems.

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You've never head of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as "Prince Charming." But all of this is about to change...

Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Guztav stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it's up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other associated terrors to becom the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

This title is the first in a series about the adventures of Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav. The second title is due out in 2013.

My Review:

Warning Gushing Ahead……..

This is the funniest book it is so much fun! This is humorous fairytale retelling at its best. It reexamines the Prince & Princess mythos. Do you really think the prince’s name was Charming? Who names their kid Charming? Do all the prince’s have names not just The Prince and if you are a Prince must you be a hero? If you are a Princess must you always be the lady in distress can you not save yourself? And how come the bards never write songs about the witches? How come all the stories are about the princesses? These questions and many more are what this book is all about!

I just can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed this book! These princes Liam, Gustav, Fredrick, and Duncan are not quite what you’ve read before and neither are the princesses. I love the giants and the trolls and even the bad witch Zoberah (*sp audio)!  These characters are so much fun and I am so excited to hear that there will be a second book. This one made me laugh out loud and smile it is just so much fun!

Wow I now understand the Bronson Pinchot love! All of his voices in this one are so fantastic! He made me see animation and characters in my head each one with a distinct personality, look and facial expressions he totally brought this great book to life for me! Between Christopher’s fun writing and Bronson’s narration this one will be a go to book when I am feeling down! And if you are listening to the audio make sure you listen all the way to the last second!

I am curious to get the paper copy of this for the library so I can see the illustrations, I already ordered the print version for my library and since I’ve been talking about it this week it’s already got a waiting list.

If you are looking for a great family vacation/roadtrip book I highly recommend this one!

If you haven’t it figured out yet I loved this book so just go get it and you will too!

5 Stars

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Lost Years by, Mary Higgins Clark narrated by, Jan Maxwell

The Lost Years by, Mary Higgins Clark narrated by, Jan Maxwell

Received from AudiobookJukebox Solid Gold reviewer Program
Published by, Simon & Schuster Audio

There is no synopsis because I couldn't find one that really explained this book well or it gave too many spoilers so here's my review.

As usually Mary Higgins Clark keeps you guessing, she really is the queen of suspense. From the description I was afraid it would be different than her usual works (or too Dan Brown-y) but it wasn’t it was another great mystery/suspense and with the bonus of Alvirah who was not even mentioned in the synopsis which I don’t understand, I am a fan of Alvirah so was happy when her and Willie showed up!

Yes there is a supposed letter/parchment written by Jesus but as I said it doesn’t go into a big church cover-up type story. When biblical scholar Jonathan is murdered, police think his wife, who has Alzheimer’s, is the culprit but where is this parchment and why are all Jonathan’s friends lying about it? Also Jonathan had a mistress what is her part in all this?

This one had me guessing and second guessing all the way through, but that’s the beauty of MHC’s writing. As always she writes a good mystery. These are hard to review because you don’t want to spoil it for anyone and the way MCH always makes everyone a suspect I don’t want to say too much and give it way! Suffice it to say if you’re a fan of Mary Higgins Clark you’ll like it if you’ve never given her a chance she has a great selection of stand-alone books pick one you won’t be disappointed. I also highly recommend her books on audio with the majority of them read by Jan Maxwell.

Jan Maxwell always does a great job on MCH’s books her narrations never get stale no matter how many Mary Higgins Clark’s books I’ve heard her narrate. I also just recently found out that Jan Maxwell and I went to the same high school so that was a little small world fun fact!

4 Stars

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Place of Secrets by, Rachel Hore narrated by, Jilly Bond

A Place of Secrets by, Rachel Hore narrated by, Jilly Bond

I received this book from Librarything Early Review Program and with so much going on in my life I’ve gotten behind on my ER’s so I picked this one up on audio and am very glad I did as Jilly Bond’s narration was really good, so this will be a review of the book and the narration.

 Recently widowed antique appraiser Jude is trying to get on with her life but she can’t stop thinking of her husband so she decides to take a working vacation to look at some old astronomy texts and equipment and this is when the coincidences start. The estate where these things are is where Jude’s Great Grandfather was groundskeeper and where her Grandmother grew up, but she doesn’t like to talk too much about that time of her life except that there was a gypsy girl. It is also close to her sister and niece who seem to be having the same dreams Jude had as a child. Is that possible? And what is her grandmother hiding? Also why does this place look like the dreams Jude had as a child?

I thought the author did a great job at weaving the past and present storylines together and the mystery of the dreams and what happened to Esther in the 1700’s. I enjoyed the mystery of Esther, this 18th century foundling adopted by rich amateur astronomer they are a happy father and daughter and he seems to love sharing his love of the stars with her, but her story isn’t always a happy one and when Jude finds her journals she starts to unlock the mystery of Esther’s life. This has a magical realism feel to it with the astrology and the dreams. It also has a touch of romance but it doesn’t over power the book. I enjoyed this new to me author’s writing style and will definitely read more by her.

If you are a fan of Kate Morton or Susanna Kearsley I think you will like this book it has the same kind of feel to it with the present story mixed in with the past.

Narrator Jilly Bond brought this story to life for me, her voices were well done and her male & female characters weren’t overdone. I was impressed with her work and will seek out other books narrated by her.

4 Stars
Crossposted to our library blog

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde narrated/performed by, James Martsers, Charles Busch ,Emily Burgl , Neil Dickson ,Jill Gascoine, Christopher Neame , Matthew Wolf

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde narrated/performed by, James Martsers, Charles Busch ,Emily Burgl , Neil Dickson ,Jill Gascoine, Christopher Neame , Matthew Wolf 
Published by, L.A. Theater Works
Free to members from Audible:
My Review
This L.A. Theater Works production was so much fun. Starring James Marsters, Charles Busch, Emily Bergl, Neil Dickson, Jill Gascoine, Christopher Neame & Matthew Wolf. I’ve seen the a couple different versions of this movie but never read the book and this was probably still closer to seeing the movie but it was so much fun!

- it's free to audible members
- it's Hilarious
- it has James Marsters
What more could a girl ask for??

I could just picture James Marsters as Earnest now I want a new movie made with him in the starring role! Just like I think maybe The Dresden Files TV show could have made it with him in lead, I’m just sayin’! Ok I’ll stop being all James Marsters fangirl now. Because the rest of the cast was great too when I’m done I have to go to the L.A. Theater Works site and see what the other people look like because I have an image in my head by their voices and I would like to see if I’m even close!

I also enjoyed the epilogue with a little history lesson on Oscar Wilde and his plays it was very interesting.

This was just so much fun I highly recommend getting this version! If you are looking for a Short, Fun, Hilarious, Full-Cast audiobook this one is a winner!

4 Stars

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

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

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

Synopsis from Goodreads:
A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

My Review:

I do think you need to be a gamer or at the very least a bit of a nerd (said in the most loving way) to get all the early game references and you may need to be a bit older to understand some of the 80’s references. So, lucky for me I am all of the above!

It did take me a little while to get used to the virtual world, (the fact that this is all taking place inside a virtual world) however I want to go to a virtual world where I can visit Disc World & Magrathea! Oh and the actual Planet Transsexual for a viewing of Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Joust I remember standing in the arcade playing that for hours. Galaga,Pac Man oh just pretty much all of them. I probably wouldn’t know every word to War Games but if I needed to know every word to Breakfast Club I could do it!

HaHaHa voting for Cory Doctorow and Wil Wheaton when Wil Wheaton is narrating-- love it!

I feel nerdier and nerdier as this book continues with its fast action mentions of everything 80’s and 90’s at least everything that has to do with gaming or sci-fi movies and tv.

This book was a fun adventure with a bit of a predictable ending but who cares just sit back and enjoy the ride! I would recommend this book to any gamer, nerd, & 80’s addict out there. This book is actually really hard to review because it is hard to explain because there is so much going on.It made me want to go watch War Games, Blade Runner & Monty Pythons the Holy Grail again! It’s just fun!

Wil Wheaton's narration was fabulous can't imagine anyone else narrating it!

4 stars

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Come Home by, Lisa Scottoline narrated by, Maggi-Meg Reed Audiobook Review

Come Home by, Lisa Scottoline narrated by, Maggi-Meg Reed

Received from Audiobook Jukebox Solid Gold Reviewer Program
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Jill Farrow is a typical suburban mom who has finally gotten her and her daughter's lives back on track after a divorce. She is about to remarry, her job as a pediatrician fulfills her---though it is stressful---and her daughter, Megan, is a happily over-scheduled thirteen-year-old juggling homework and the swim team.
But Jill’s life is turned upside down when her ex-stepdaughter, Abby, shows up on her doorstep late one night and delivers shocking news: Jill’s ex-husband is dead. Abby insists that he was murdered and pleads with Jill to help find his killer. Jill reluctantly agrees to make a few inquiries and discovers that things don’t add up. As she digs deeper, her actions threaten to rip apart her new family, destroy their hard-earned happiness, and even endanger her own life. Yet Jill can’t turn her back on a child she loves and once called her own.
Come Home reads with the breakneck pacing of a thriller while also exploring the definition of motherhood, asking the questions: Do you ever stop being a mother? Can you ever have an ex-child? What are the limits to love of family?

My Review:
Let me preface by saying I am a fan of Lisa Scottoline but this book was not one of her best. I think it was because there are very few likable characters in this book. I am part of a very, very blended family and can understand more Jill’s point and not Sam’s he really got on my nerves, these girls though now grown women were at one time her daughter’s they lived in the same home and lived as a family. At first I understood his apprehension a little because Abby was drunk but after that he was such a jerk about the whole situation.

It’s not that I didn’t like this book I did well, it was a little better than ok but not great. The characters are unlikeable, whiny or full of hatred and jealousy. I also didn’t really understand the whole storyline with the little boy well in the way I didn’t think it added anything to story except to try to get us to like Jill because she is caring.

As for the audio production I was impressed with Maggi-Meg Reed’s of the young girl with braces because I knew she had braces before the book mentioned it. However there was a lot of crying and wailing going on and that got annoying so that part of it I had wished I’d read instead of having to hear it. The narration was a bit over the top and I am not totally convinced I wouldn’t have liked this book more if the characters hadn’t all sounded so whiny. I would listen to this narrator again and I thought I had listened and now that I looked she narrated one of my all time favorite Lisa Gardner books (Hide) so yes I would listen to her again.

Wow the ending got really chicklit sappy, everything all wrapped up in a bow and Sam’s turnaround was so fast I thought I had missed something, I even went back and re-listened to a couple chapters but I didn’t miss anything it all happened with a blink of an eye.

I guess what my rambling is trying to say is try this one in print I think the characters will sound less whiny than they do in the audio version but this isn’t one of Lisa Scottoline’s best books.

I received this audiobook from Audiobook Jukebox’s Solid Gold Reviewer Program and Macmillan Audio for a fair and honest review.

3 Stars