Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri Narrated by, Sneha Mathan

A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri Narrated by, Sneha Mathan

I received this book from the Librarything Early Reviewers Program but was having a hard time with the names so I bought it on audio and I’m very glad I did!

When Saba is 11 years old she remembers her twin sister Mahtab and her mother getting on a plane to America and leaving her and her father in Iran…This is what she remembers but is this what happened?

I felt Saba was an unreliable narrator she makes up this whole life for her twin sister Mahtab and her mother they go to America and she has this free American life and goes to Harvard and becomes a journalist which is Saba’s dream. As a reader you will have an inkling in the back of your head as to what really happened where they really are but until it is actually revealed you want to believe Saba. Also the reveal for me wasn’t what I expected but I don’t want to say too much more about that!

Saba is not always likable but yet you feel for her. Saba always felt like she was missing out so she made up these wondrous stories of what her sister was accomplishing in the US even though she had a pretty normal upbringing considering it is Iran in the 80’s it isn’t till she is older ,well marrying age, that this doesn’t quite hold true anymore. I kind of felt bad for her father at times, I felt like she treated him like a second class citizen when he was all she had and was trying his best, and I was glad to see that as she got older she realized this.

This is a really good story though at times a little hard to follow, it was nice to read a story about Iran that didn’t have so much violence , yes there is some but it comes from something/someone different than you will expect it to. This is the story of a family and a young girl’s life without her twin and mother and how that affects her entire life and who she becomes.

Sneha Mathan narration is well done her accent is not to strong; I think it's just the right amount to convey they are in Iran. She has a great voice and I thought she really helped convey the emotions of everyone she narrated. This was my first book narrated by Sneha Mathan but I don’t think it will be my last as I really enjoyed her voice.

4 Stars

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2013 Armchair Audies-Solo Female Narration

Armchair Audies Solo Female Narration

I am an audiobook junkie and so enjoyed LitHousewife’s Armchair Audies last year that I decided to join in this year. From LitHousewife’s blog explaining what the Armchair Audies are- For those who are unfamiliar with this audiobook challenge, participants select one (sometimes more) categories included in the Audie Awards. The participant then listens to each of the audiobooks nominated in the selected category prior to the Audie Awards ceremony. After listening to and reviewing each of the titles in their category, participants announce the best audiobook in the category (on or before May 23, 2013). The Armchair Audies team will create an Audie Awards ballot based on our selections to be followed at home. The 2013 Audie Awards will be announced on Thursday, May 30.
 Here is a where you can see all the categories and the blogs that are participating.

I have also realized I listen to more women narrators than men so that is why I picked Solo Female narration. I will be honest and say I am a big fan of Katherine Kellgren and Cassandra Campbell and have only listened to 2 by Nicola Barber and did enjoy her narration of Call the Midwife. I haven’t listened to Anne Hathaway narrate an audiobook but I enjoy her as an actress so we’ll see how that goes.

The two I have already listened to are:

The Boy in the Suitcase by,Lene Kaaberbøl, Agnete Friis narrated by Katherine Kellgren

Call The Midwife by, Jennifer Worth narrated by, Nicola Barber

One I was already on the library waiting list for:

Juliet in August by,Dianne Warren narrated by, Cassandra Campbell

I have heard great things about Anne Hathaway's narration of:

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by, L.Frank Baum narrated by, Anne Hathaway

This series I've had my eye on for awhile but I have heard I need to listen to the first 2 first so this will probably be the last one I listen to so I have time to listen to the first 2:

The Unseen Guest:The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Book 3 by, Maryrose Wood narrated by, Katherine Kellgren

Monday, February 25, 2013

My Name Is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson, narrated by, Nick Podehl and Amy Rubinate

This is a flashback review I thought I posted last year but this book has stayed with me since I read it back in June of 2012. Highly Recommend!

My Name Is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson, narrated by, Nick Podehl and Amy Rubinate

This was a part of history I had never really heard about, how the native Alaskan children were sent away to catholic schools and were given easier names, a new language and taken away from everything they knew. This is a true story written as fiction, the forward explains why it is written as such. The story is told by different people the main 2 being Eskimo boy Luke & young white motherless Chickie a young girl from a Scandinavian background, they tell a very different yet similar story both coming from different backgrounds yet still taken away from all they know to be educated in the Catholic Boarding School.

However there is much more than just education going on at this school there are also some military experiments to test how Eskimo’s live in such cold but these tests are done with radiation and iodine- 131 and I’m sure their parents were never informed. There is also Luke’s little brother Isaac who is whisked away and adopted without consent and this is the 60’s not the 30’s. There are many tragedies along the way. There are other characters Junior, Amiq, Donna & Sonny they are white, Eskimo and Native American (it’s never really said what tribe) and how each of them is trying to find their way in the world without losing who they are.

I think this is a very important book that should be read in high school to get a feel of what Americans have done to each other as they try to Americanize the natives. It is important so that this kind of thing never happens again.

I could feel the anger of these kids, they were all treated as orphans when they weren’t they all had families even if they weren’t the greatest parents they were still alive. This story really touched me and I am very glad I read it.

The narration by, Amy Rubinate & Nick Podehl goes back and forth as we hear Luke & Chickie’s stories (they were the main two there were other stories too) both narrators are fantastic and make you feel the various emotions of these characters. Both narrators were new to me and I very much enjoyed their narration and will look for other books they have narrated!

I see why this book has won awards I think it is a book everyone should read especially if you are like me and this was a part of history you knew nothing about.

4 ½ Stars

Thursday, February 21, 2013

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

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

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.

Cassandra Campbell narrates the older sister and Julia Whelan narrates the younger, both were very good, while their voices are similar (like sisters) but you could always tell which sister was speaking. Danny Campbell’s narration of the newspaper clipping interspersed in the story was at first jarring but once I got used to it he was fine but I do need to comment that his voice is a cross between Casey Kasem and Johnny Heller and at times was a little moviephone sounding but I still liked his voice because it is husky and smoky with a little gravel to it. There is also a couple times where the ladies sound like they are from the streets of NY instead of Paris but when I looked at the print version I saw that this is how the author wrote the speech patterns so can’t really fault the narrators. I guess it was kind of like ok all street waifs sound the same in this time period no matter what country they were from so just go with it. I did like that they went all in on no accents there were a couple times where other characters had a slight accent just a slight rolling of the R’s , but the two main character had the same accent all the way through, it was an American accents but I would rather have that than listening to a badly done Pepe Lepew sounding French accent so I believe the right choice was made on this narration.

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

I received this book from Audiobookjukebox and Blackstone Audio for a fair and honest review.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What Books do you wish were available on audio?

While we wait for the Audie Nominations….

What Book would you love on audio that aren’t currently available? Also who would be your choice to narrate them?

Here is my list and dream narrators!

Sevenwaters Trilogy by, Juliet Marillier narrated by either Caroline Lee or Emily Gray

Druids by Morgan Llywelyn narrated by, Simon Vance

The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter narrated by, Gerard Doyle

Mariana , Shadowy Horses & Firebird by, Susanna Kearsley narrated by, Rosalyn Landor

The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden narrated by, Jenna Lamia & Bahni Turpin

The Honk and Holler Opening Soon by Billie Letts narrated by, Mark Bramhall

The Language of Trees by Ilie Ruby narrated by, Karen White

Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins narrated by,Davina Porter

Henry's Sisters, Julia's Chocolates, The Last Time I Was Me, Such A Pretty Face, The First day of the Rest of My Life, A Different Kind of Normal by Cathy Lamb narrated by, Xe Sands

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons, Tatiana and Alexander by Paullina Simons The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons narrated by, Susan Duerdan

The Tea Rose, The Winter Rose (The Tea Rose, #2), The Wild Rose (The Tea Rose, #3) by Jennifer Donnelly narrated by, Cassandra Campbell

Mistress of Rome (Rome #1) by Kate Quinn narrated by, Anne Flosnik

You Don’t Sweat Much for a Fat Girl by, Celia Rivenbark narrated by the author

Saturday, February 16, 2013


The wonderful Jen over at Lit Housewife has again put together The Armchair Audies, Here is their Facebook Page too. Also check out The Guilded Earlobe’s post here. We all had a great time live tweeting the Audie Awards last year even though I felt some of the APA’s choices a bit odd. So here are my predictions for Solo Female since some are from small publishers they may not be nominated but these are the ones I thought were the best!

The Silence of Trees by Valya Dudycz Lupescu narrated by, Xe Sands- This was my favorite audiobook of 2012 Xe’s voice and Valya’s words are the perfect combination.

The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo narrated by, Karen White: Her narration was fantastic all her different voices and accents were spot on; you always knew exactly who was talking. Her voice took on so many different characteristics of each of the women as they told their story and her delivery held my interest all the way through.

Sister Queens: The Noble, Tragic Lives of Katherine of Aragon and Juana, Queen of Castile by Julia Fox, narrated by, Rosalyn Landor: Her narration adds voice to this fascinating history and she does a great job I love her deep British, slightly haughty accent, it plays just perfect for these royals.

                    A Place of Secrets by Rachel Hore, narrated by, Jilly Bond: She brought this story to life for me, her voices were well done and her male & female characters weren’t overdone.

The Cove by Ron Rash, narrated by, Merritt Hicks: Her narration was spot on, her southern accent was great and her characters were all very distinct.

The Cove by Ron Rash, narrated by, Merritt Hicks

The Cove by Ron Rash, narrated by, Merritt Hicks
I read this listened to this last year in Sept. I don’t know why I didn’t post this review of this great book so here it is!

This is a beautiful and heartbreaking book. Set in the Appalachians during WWI and hate towards Germans is running rampant with the help of one fervent recruiter Chauncey who is on a witch hunt for anything German. At the same time on a farm in the cove lives Laurel a young woman with a wine splotch birthmark that people in town say is a curse and call her a witch and the townspeople won’t let her go to school because she may harm their children. A superstitious lot they are, that makes for a lonely life for Laurel, she does have her brother Jack who is back from the war missing a hand but alive. When one day she hears the most beautiful flute music and sees a raggedy man a few days later she finds him covered in bee stings and brings him home. Walter recovers but seems to be a mute but that doesn’t stop sparks from flying between him and Laurel.

I cared so much about these characters that towards the end my stomach was knotted with worry and when events played out I was bawling (should not have been listening to this at work!). This book evokes the times and the place I felt like I was there. It is a love story but so much more it is about the human condition and how people can be so incredibly hurtful towards others. I loved Laurel and felt so bad for the way she was treated and even though I figured out certain things about Walter, it didn’t matter, he was one of the few people to show a kindness towards laurel and I think it was what they both needed.

Merritt Hicks’ narration was spot on her southern accent was great and her characters were all very distinct I always knew who was talking. I will definitely listen to this narrator again!

As I said this novel is beautiful and heart wrenching all at the same time, this is my first book by this author and will not be my last! I think fans of southern fiction and historical fiction will like this one.

4 ½ Stars

Friday, February 15, 2013

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger, narrated by, Moira Quirk

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger, narrated by, Moira Quirk
Bought from Audible
LENGTH:8 hrs and 55 mins

I will start this review off by saying I absolutely adore Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series especially on audio narrated by Emily Gray and I do admit to missing her voice on this book, I am not saying Moira Quirk did a bad job she was actually very good but there were times when I really wanted it to be Emily the biggest difference was timing Emily’s comedic timing is better than Moira’s and she pronounced Genevieve different too, and when it is a character from the other series it was glaring and bothersome to me because of my love for Carriger’s  other series and Emily Gray’s narration of said series. I am NOT saying Moira Quirk was bad please don’t think that, she was very good I just could not help the comparison the Emily Gray. Moira was a new to me narrator and her accents and characterizations were very well done and I would definitely listen to more by her.

Now onto the book, this was fun and cute maybe not as much fun as the Parasol Protectorate series but it is the first book and I expect these to get better and better just as Gail Carriger’s other series did. Sophronia was a good character , and it was fun seeing Madame Lefoux as a girl and we also have a Maccon  it is the Lord’s great-great-great granddaughter Sidheag ( not the Lord himself unfortunately) but we do get Professor Lyall  (Pre-Biffy unfortunately) also I am hopeful there will be more of him in future books . I did enjoy meeting the new characters and I absolutely loved the mechanimal Bumbersnoot and want one for myself! I look forward to seeing more of Sophronia she seems like a character that will have trouble following her wherever she goes and that is the fun of it all. Dimity is quite a character too. Also the finishing school itself is not what it seems it is not where young ladies go to become good wives it is a …well read it and see what kind of school it is! **No Spoilers** We again have this wonderful Victorian Steampunk World that Carriger introduced us to in the Parasol Protectorate, we again have all the wonderful steampunk machines we have come to enjoy from past books. I also adore the names she comes up with, how she does it is beyond me!

I think this will be a great introduction to the world of Gail Carriger for young adults who will then go on to read more of Carriger’s books; I think they will become lifetime fans as I have.  This book is fun stuff if you are a fan of the Parasol Protectorate don’t let the Young Adult classification scare you off it is still the humor and fun that Gail Carriger is known for. I am so glad we only have to wait until November for the second book in this series!

4 Stars

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Safe House by Chris Ewan, narrated by, Simon Vance

Safe House by Chris Ewan, narrated by, Simon Vance
Unabridged 10 hours 53 minutes
Full Disclosure: I received this audiobook from the Audiobookjukebox and the publisher AudioGo for a fair and honest review.

This was my first Chris Ewan but it definitely won’t be my last! On the Isle of Man Rob Hale a heating and plumbing guy who is also a motorbike racer takes a job at a remote plantation house to fix the water heater when he arrives a shifty man with sunglasses on answers the door and shows him to the garage while doing the work a beautiful woman named Lena shows some interest in Rob and asks for a ride on his bike, he comes back that next day and they go riding and crash when Rob wakes up in the hospital and asks about Lena no one seems to know what he’s talking about they say he was alone on the bike and this is where our mystery begins. There is not only the mystery of Lena and what happened to her but it somehow connects to the death of Rob’s sister with the help of private detective Rebecca, Rob sets out to find out just what is going on. 

I enjoyed this mystery very much it kept me guessing till the end, it had so much going on but I never got confused by all the characters and side stories that all end up back at the same place. I also enjoyed the fact that there was nary a swear word in this hard edged thriller that was refreshing!  I enjoyed the character of Rob it was nice to have an everyday man as our hero and also to have a very strong woman in the character of Rebecca she was tough and in charge without being over the top.  I also like the fact that there was a bit of humor in the character of Rob’s grandpa and he was just that, a character!

There is so much going on in this book that I don’t want to say too much because it may give things away and ruin this book for you, so I will just say this is a great mystery/thriller that I highly recommend on audio!

Simon Vance’s narration is as usual phenomenal he has such a great range of accents and inflection, accents for Rob and the other residents of The Isle of Man were great and he also had an American, a few different Europeans and Londoners accents each done with ease. Simon is always a go to narrator I will always pick the audiobook over the paper book if he is narrating!

As I said this is my first book by this author and I will be getting his Good Thief’s books especially since they are also narrated by the wonderful Simon Vance.

4 Stars

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James narrated by, Pamela Garelick

The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James narrated by, Pamela Garelick
Full disclosure: I received this audiobook from the Audiobookjukebox and Blackstone Audio for a fair and honest review.
Unabridged- 10 Hours

My Review:

This is a straight up ghost story, with gothic undertones.

Sarah Piper gets a job through a temp agency working for a ghost hunter; Sarah is broke so she takes the job even though she’s not sure what kind of oddities she will run into. Soon Sarah is flung into a situation that was not covered on her resume; she ends up being the only person that can actually see the ghost of Maddy Clare not just feel her presence as others have said they do, but Maddy not only allows Sarah to see her she also gives her visions of what happened her and why she hates men and is seeking revenge. Once I knew Maddy’s story I was all for rooting for the ghost!

Of course, there had to be a romance angle, which I didn’t think added much to the book, maybe that’s because I wasn’t too impressed with Matthew and thought he was kind of a jerk. I wish this storyline hadn’t even been in there.

Even though what happened to Maddy is pretty easy to figure out and who the culprits were was pretty plain, I still liked this story because Maddy had some serious ghost skills, she could make people believe they were walking in her shoes, or send someone inside their minds to fight with their own demons, she could kill and maim, and burn stuff down she is pretty bad ass.

Pamela Garelick was a new to me narrator and I thought she did a good job, there was distinct differences in each character so you always knew who was talking. She has a husky English accent that I enjoyed listening to and I would look for other books she narrated.

If you enjoy a good ghost story I would give this book a try!

3 ½ stars

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The House Girl by Tara Conklin

The House Girl by Tara Conklin

 I loved the historical stories of Josephine and Dorothea, Lina’s story I could have done without after all her talking about time by billable hours got really boring, then after her trip to Richmond and she got the important letter that she says on the plane she had a hard time not tearing it open then she gets home goes out and gets drunk with Jasper goes to work the next day and still hasn’t opened it?? What?? You would think that would have been the first thing she did before going out. I didn’t like Lina and her story (or her mother’s story) was so predictable, well it was one of three options *no spoilers* and sure enough it was one of those that I had guessed Very early on in her story.

I think this would have been a better book without the reparations story, if the modern story had just been the case of the art authentication it would have tied the story together better, I will admit to just scanning through Lina’s story in the last 100 pages or so I just wanted to get back to Josephine. Josephine’s story was great we got to know her and knew her relationship with her Missus and we as a reader knew the truth about the art because the author gave us a detailed look at Josephine’s life. I also liked Dorothea’s story through the letters to her sister but I couldn’t help wondering what if these letters had fallen into the wrong hands they were so detailed with names and dates about what was happening at the family farm for something that needed to be kept in the utmost secrecy Dorothea sure talked a lot about it and that did come back to bite her.

I would read more from this author as I did enjoy the historical story in this book.

Overall I did enjoy this book I would give the historical part of this book 4 stars and the present day story 3 stars so 3 ½ stars as a whole.

3 ½ Stars

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

PS: I wish I would have waited for this on audio because it is narrated by, Bahni Turpin so I would say listen to it on audio Bahni can make any book better!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

My Travels to Louisiana

Some of you may have noticed I have been missing in action that is because I have been on vacation. I went to Louisiana to surprise my sister for her 50th birthday. 

We got in on a couple Mardi Gras Parades and toured some plantations, here’s a look at my travels.

The first plantation we went to was The DestrahanePlantation  it was an interesting tour the only drawback was our tour guide was not southern and was dressed like a colonist so it just didn’t feel like he fit there. Being a reader of course I was fascinated that parts of Interview with a Vampire were filmed at Destrehane .

 This was also the location of the 1811 SLAVE REVOLT and was used as a refuge for freed slaves after the civil war.

Next we went to the Laura Plantation  this was a fascinating tour and our tour guide was a very southern young man he wasn’t costumed but was a great tour guide. This was a very interesting plantation because it was run by 3 generations of Creole women. 
Here are Laura’sMemoirs  which I will be reading soon.

I also picked up an interesting book in the gift shop The Lost German Slave Girl: The Extraordinary True Story of Sally Miller and Her Fight for Freedom in Old New Orleans by John Bailey

These slave shacks were extra fascinating because they were moved here in 1976 after the last residents moved out of them, which was so shocking to me and I thought I wish I was an author what an interesting story this would be to write a history of who lived in these houses from slavery to the 70’s

Those who read my blog and follow my reviews know I love southern fiction and now it will come even more to life now that I have actually walked through the plantations and slave quarters. And seeing the houses and the countryside will help me envision it more thoroughly in my head.

I have a whole stack of reviews to write so stay tuned and we will be back to our regularly scheduled programming.