Tag Archives: audible

Short Stories/Short Reviews:The 7th Month by Lisa Gardner and The B-Team by John Scalzi

Both of these short titles were offered free for members by Audible.com. I love when they offer these freebies. It’s a great way to try a new author or a genre you don’t normally read without having to commit $$ or a large chunk of time.

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The 7th Month by Lisa Gardner

From Goodreads:
In her seventh month of pregnancy, D.D. should be taking it easy. Instead, she accepts a small consulting role on the set of a serial killer film shooting in Boston. D.D. figures she’ll be useful to someone for at least one night, serving as a police expert and making a little extra money in the bargain.

It seems like a simple task—until the previous film consultant, a former Boston cop, is found beaten to death. Suddenly D.D.’s date with Hollywood gets serious. Extremely pregnant, on the trail of a killer, and surrounded by a hundred and four murder suspects in the middle of a graveyard, D.D. must quickly unravel a tangled web of lies. As another cast member is attacked, D.D. realizes that like it or not, her priorities have changed—and her last desperate hope is that she can catch a killer before she and her unborn baby face mortal danger.

This was my first Lisa Gardner story and I really loved D.D. She’s funny, independent and says what she thinks. This is number 5.5 in this series but I had no problem keeping up with this mini murder mystery. I love that the author could get enough of D.D.’s past across to make the story make sense without having to go into elaborate details that would have dragged the story down. It did what it was supposed to do; get you to read the series. It’s inspired me to add this series to my TBR list.

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The B-Team by John Scalzi

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From Goodreads:
The opening episode of The Human Division, John Scalzi’s new thirteen-episode novel in the world of his bestselling Old Man’s War. Beginning on January 15, 2013, a new episode of The Human Division will appear in e-book form every Tuesday. Colonial Union Ambassador Ode Abumwe and her team are used to life on the lower end of the diplomatic ladder. But when a high-profile diplomat goes missing, Abumwe and her team are last minute replacements on a mission critical to the Colonial Unions future. As the team works to pull off their task, CDF Lieutenant Harry Wilson discovers theres more to the story of the missing diplomats than anyone expected…a secret that could spell war for humanity.

I was a little apprehensive about this title since it’s outside my normal reading comfort zone. It’s sci-fi in its truest sense. There are lots of characters to keep up with and lots of action going on. It was very well written and the attention to detail that went into creating this outer space mission is amazing. Highly entertaining with a mix of Star Wars like characters, Space Odyssey like missions and unique and exciting story line.

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Book Review: The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings

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From Goodreads:
Matthew King was once considered one of the most fortunate men in Hawaii. His missionary ancestors were financially and culturally progressive–one even married a Hawaiian princess, making Matt a royal descendant and one of the state’s largest landowners.

Now his luck has changed. His two daughters are out of control: Ten-year-old Scottie is a smart-ass with a desperate need for attention, and seventeen-year-old Alex, a former model, is a recovering drug addict. Matt’s charismatic, thrill-seeking, high-maintenance wife, Joanie, lies in a coma after a boat-racing accident and will soon be taken off life support. The Kings can hardly picture life without her, but as they come to terms with this tragedy, their sadness is mixed with a sense of freedom that shames them–and spurs them into surprising actions.

Before honoring Joanie’s living will, Matt must gather her friends and family to say their final goodbyes, a difficult situation made worse by the sudden discovery that there is one person who hasn’t been told: the man with whom Joanie had been having an affair, quite possibly the one man she ever truly loved. Forced to examine what he owes not only to the living but to the dead, Matt takes to the road with his daughters to find his wife’s lover, a memorable journey that leads to both painful revelations and unforeseen humor and growth.

I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to get out of this novel. It wasn’t funny but had a hint of humor. It wasn’t devastatingly sad but had heavy moments of sorrow. It was a menagerie of sorts.

Throughout pretty much the whole first half I wondered why I was even bothering to read it. The main character, Matthew, from whose POV the story takes place, is an unlikable, fairly nonexistent father figure. He freely admits his fatherly shortcomings. His voice comes through flat and monotone, barely giving any real emotion. His girls are no easier to like. They’re obnoxious, obstinate and disrespectful. They have been left to her own whims for far too long. I couldn’t really like Joanie either (terrible to say that about someone in a coma, I know), at least not from Matthew’s point of view.

But somewhere along the way something changed before I even knew what was happening. The extended loss and pressure of Joanie’s imminent death changed them. Matthew changed not only as a father but also as a husband and family successor. He’s forced to see things for what they are, forced into the position of reconciling things he has put off for far too long and has to face painful truths about his marriage and his family. I must say that I was impressed. He stepped up to the challenge and, although not perfect (who is?), meets it head. I liked that he was brave enough to take a hard look at himself, and, not liking what he saw, has the wherewithal to try to change it. Try is the key word here. We don’t get to glimpse into the future of this newly downsized family. I do wonder if what has linked them together in this time of sorrow can keep them close in the future. Will they prosper after Joanie or will they fall back into the existence of before?

There are lots of great quotes and reflections in this book in regards to death, love and parenthood and there is certainly something in the book everyone can relate to. We’ve all lost someone close to us, experienced those exasperating years of childrearing, been devastated by something a loved one has done or have had to deal deal with extended family that only like us when they want something from us. But, like this family of descendants, hopefully we can pull it together, forgive but not forget, learn from the past and be better in the future.

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Give to Education by Listening to Neil Gaiman

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Download the short story Click-Clack the Rattlebag, written and narrated by Neil Gaiman, for FREE and Audible will donate $1 to DonorsChoose.org.

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Book Review: Die for Me by Amy Plum

Die for Me (Revenants, #1)Die for Me by Amy Plum
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was full of potential but fell short of my high expectations.

The story is about Kate, a 16-year-old whose parents passing has facilitated a move with her sister to live with their grandparents in Paris. An introvert, Kate spends her days in Paris reading classics, perusing art and sipping drinks at a local cafe. She becomes involved with Vincent, a handsome, aloof, nineteen year old with a secret life. Kate soon realizes there’s more to the world around her than she thought and falling for Vincent could mean repeatedly viewing death.

One of the greatest strengths of this book is the setting of Paris. The descriptions of the various cafes, museums and the french language lend a mystique that is sweepingly romantic and beautifully artistic. This is even evident in the beautiful backdrop on the cover of the book.

The author uses zombies as the bone of contention. The plot is well thought out but easy to guess. Don’t expect any big surprises in this one.

The one theme in this book that disappointed me was the love story. There was no pull, no reasoning to why Kate and Vincent should be or would want to be together. The love affair, if it can be classified as that, seems forced, not genuine or natural.

I really wanted this book to be better than good. The romantic Paris locale and the unique zombie premise promised a distinct story uncommon in the vampire and werewolf YA fiction that has become so popular. But, unfortunately, it did not live up to its possibility for greatness. It wasn’t a bad book, just not as good as it could have or should have been.

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Favorite Book Formats Part I: Audible Versions

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I usually have 3-4 books on the go at all times. One or two in print, one e-book and one Audible book. I do have certain criteria I use to determine whether I want to read a paper, e-book or Audible version of a book and I thought I would share those with you. For this post I’m going to focus on Audible versions.

Audible is near and dear to my heart. It allows me to enjoy books I never would have read in print and enjoy them while doing other tasks that are not so enjoyable. I listen while I’m driving, doing dishes, walking the dog and house cleaning. Heck, I’ve even listened in the tub. I’ve been listening to Audible books since 2001 and have listened to over 325 books. I’m telling you, it’s totally addictive.

So, how do I determine what books will be most enjoyable to listen to? Well, here’s my take on the best books for Audible consumption.

1. The book is BIG and could be complicated.
I consider a book over 500 pages to be large. That’s in comparison to the average book I read, which I estimate to be around 320 pages. I normally will not choose a printed copy of a book larger than 500 pages. I need the sense of accomplishment that comes from finishing a book and large books just take too long. It’s way to tempting to set them aside and promise to come back eventually. Audible is perfect for these larger books. I’m currently listening to 1Q84. With over 900 pages, I never ever would have continued plowing my way through it if I was reading the print version. Game of Thrones is another one that would have overwhelmed me in print.

2. The book’s characters are something other than American/the story mainly takes place outside the US.
Hearing a book read to you in the accent which the character in the book has is one of the great perks of Audible. Sophie Kinsella books are so fun to listen to. You get a better sense of the British characters and the humor really shines in the British voice. Historical novels are very well suited to this media. Ariana Franklin books are some of my favorite. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Please look After Mom were beautifully narrated allowing the books locales to shine through and create a total immersion.

3. The book is read by the Author.
The first Audible book I ever listened to was Shop Girl by Steve Martin. It was narrated by Steve Martin himself. I wouldn’t have enjoyed the book nearly as well in print, but I loved listening to him tell the story. Biographies are the best to listen to. I loved Bossy Pants and Stories I Only Tell My Friends. Hearing Tina Fey tell about her childhood and Rob Lowe list off his A-list friends makes you feel like they are telling their stories just to you.

If you’re an Audible fan like me, leave a comment and tell what books you like to listen to. If you haven’t tried it, you should. I guarantee you’ll be addicted if you do!


Book Review: Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

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Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe
Medium: Audible Audiobook

First off, celebrity biographies and memoirs are not a genre I normally read. I probably can count on one hand what I’ve read and those have been mostly comedians. Second, I don’t really have any connection with Rob Lowe as a fan. I was too young to remember any of his early stardom and haven’t seen any of his major roll movies or watched his stint on The West Wing. My memories of Rob Lowe extend only to brief glimpses in Wayne’s World and Austin Powers and of course everybody’s heard of The Brat Pack.

I decided to give this a go because:
1. My Goodreads Group, Bookworm Bitches, choose this as one of the books for the month of April.
2. Rob Lowe himself was the narrator on this audiobook version.
3. He looks so handsome on the cover I felt I wanted to know more than just his pretty face.

This book was so much fun to listen to! It was like watching a movie you haven’t seen for a decade only to realize that there are so many actors in it that are now famous but had not been at the time. He seemed genuine and honest about his childhood and was ok with mentioning all those imperfections that made him who he is.

He did name drop a lot. I have read other reviews that have mentioned this. I did feel at times it was a bit excessive, especially when he talked about the Sheens. Although, I think it was a part of what made the book so interesting. He gave a glimpse at what other actors where like in their youthful beginnings. I especially liked hearing about Tom Cruise and Patrick Swayze.

He did seem a little bit bitter about his West Wing days. I didn’t feel like we got the whole story.

I Googled many things from this book, from movies he mentioned to scandals he glanced over. I’m looking forward to watching the Outsiders now!

I gave this book 4 stars. It was fast and a great pace. The stories were light and Rob’s humor showed through. Best of all, I think it’s great when a book is so interesting it makes you look up more details from other sources and encourages you to keep reading.


Book Review: The Body Finder

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Book Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Medium: Audible Audiobook
http://bitly.com/ay5AhK

Violet Ambrose is your typical teenager with one exception: she can sense the dead. She’s in love with her best friend Jay and as their romantic relationship blossoms a killer is on the loose and it’s up to Violet to help find the killer.

The premise for this book really caught my attention. Murder, mystery and teenage angst. The beginning of the book starts off well and drew me in right away by showing just what Violet’s special ability is and what effect it has had on her life thus far. Violet is a nice, typical high school junior. The story doesn’t delve to much into her home life. She has loving parents who give her a good amount of freedom. Her life at school is explored very little. I was able to get a sense of the clicks and a small glimpse of what Violets girl friends are like.

I was a bit disappointed that the main focus of the book was the love story that blossoms between Violet and Jay. However, their relationship is sweet and surprisingly healthy for todays typical YA fiction.

What I thought would be the main focus, a serial killer on the loose in Violet’s hometown, seemed more of a side story. The point of view switches between Violet and the killer. The killer hunts teenage girls and hides their bodies. Violet, due to her special abilities, finds some of the bodies and is able to help locate the killer. This puts her in grave danger and at risk of becoming the killer’s prey.

I rated this 3 stars. It was an easy, interesting read. However, I felt this story held so much potential to be something greater than it was. I was expecting more suspense, the lack of which, made the story somewhat predictable. All in all a good book for this genre.


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