Monday, June 24, 2019

0 Audiobook Review: Murder on Thames Cherringham.


Murder on Thames Cherringham. A Cosy Crime Series - Mystery Shorts 1
By: Neil Richards, Matthew Costello
Narrated by: Neil Dudgeon
Published August 29th 2016 by Lübbe Audio
Length: 2 hrs and 47 mins
9781982558468


Summary

Cherringham-a quiet town in the Cotswolds. Nothing ever happens there, or so it seems-until one morning a woman's body is found in the river. A terrible accident, according to the police. But is this true? Sarah believes there must be more to it. In Jack, a former NYPD homicide detective, she finds a partner who is willing to start investigating with her. They soon find out that things are not as clear as the police want them to be ... This first of many cases brings Sarah and Jack together in an unlikely partnership.

Set in the sleepy English village of Cherringham, this cozy detective series brings together an unlikely sleuthing duo: English web designer Sarah and American ex-cop Jack. Thrilling and deadly-but with a spot of tea-it's like Rosamunde Pilcher meets Inspector Barnaby. Each of the self-contained episodes is a quick listen for the morning commute, while waiting for the doctor, or when curling up with a hot cuppa.

*I was provided a copy of this audiobook from the publisher for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

My Thoughts


Murder on Thames is a Cozy Crime Mystery Short by Neil Richard and Mathew Costello. It's narrated by Neil Didgeon, who starred in Midsomer Murders. I often hear these mystery shorts are great to listen to/read on a rainy afternoon with a nice cup of tea. I have no doubt that's true, but I listened to it on a sunny day while doing chores. I couldn't imagine enjoying this book anymore than I already do.

Murder on Thames takes place in the quiet town of Cherringham. Not much happens there, but when the body of a woman is found next to the river, it shakes things up. Was it a terrible accident, or was it murder? Sarah, a friend of the deceased, isn't convinced that it's an accident. She teams up with a former NYPD homicide detective to find out the truth about her friend.

I enjoyed this book from start to finish. The plot  kept me engaged. The characters are brilliant. For the audiobook to be less than three hours, the story line seemed fully formed and not rushed. I loved the narration too. Neil Didgeon does a fantastic job. He narrates the entire series, and I'm so glad. I can't imagine anybody else doing it. This is the perfect book to read/listen to on your way to work, in the quiet evening, or while you're doing chores, and always better with a hot cuppa!


Friday, June 21, 2019

0 Twice-told tales: Week 9 of Sync's Summer of #Audiobooks

Available for a Limited Time
Remember — grab these titles before they are replaced by a new pairing on 6/27/2019! While the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to keep and listen to at your leisure. 




by Lorie Langdon | Read by Pearl Hewitt
Published by Black Hills Audiobooks

Olivia Brownlow is no damsel in distress. Born in a workhouse and raised as a boy among thieving London street gangs, she is as tough and cunning as they come. When she’s taken in by her uncle after a caper gone wrong, her life goes from fighting and stealing on the streets to lavish dinners and soirees as a debutante in high society. But she can't seem to escape her past…or forget the teeming slums where children just like her still scrape to survive. Jack MacCarron rose from his place in London's East End to become the adopted "nephew" of a society matron. Little does society know that MacCarron is a false name for a boy once known among London gangs as the Artful Dodger—or that he and his "aunt" are robbing them blind every chance they get. When Jack encounters Olivia Brownlow in places he least expects, his curiosity is piqued. Why is a society girl helping homeless orphan thieves? Even more intriguing, why does she remind him so much of someone he once knew?







by Emma Donoghue | Read by Khristine Hvam, James Langton, Robert Petkoff, Suzanne Toren, Dion Graham
Published by Hachette Audio

The fascinating characters that roam across the pages of Emma Donoghue’s stories have all gone astray: they are emigrants, runaways, drifters, lovers old and new. They are gold miners and counterfeiters, attorneys and slaves. They cross other borders too: those of race, law, sex, and sanity. They travel for love or money, incognito or under duress. With rich historical detail, the celebrated author of Room takes us from puritan Massachusetts to revolutionary New Jersey, antebellum Louisiana to the Toronto highway, lighting up four centuries of wanderings that have profound echoes in the present. Astray offers us a surprising and moving history for restless times.








Wednesday, June 19, 2019

0 Audiobook Review: Shadowsong


Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones
Narrated by Eva Kaminsky
 10 hours and 38 minutes
Published December 20, 2018 by Recorded Books
B07LGCNLY3


Summary

Six months after the end of Wintersong, Liesl is working toward furthering both her brother’s and her own musical careers. Although she is determined to look forward and not behind, life in the world above is not as easy as Liesl had hoped. Her younger brother Josef is cold, distant, and withdrawn, while Liesl can’t forget the austere young man she left beneath the earth, and the music he inspired in her. 

When troubling signs arise that the barrier between worlds is crumbling, Liesl must return to the Underground to unravel the mystery of life, death, and the Goblin King—who he was, who he is, and who he will be. What will it take to break the old laws once and for all? What is the true meaning of sacrifice when the fate of the world—or the ones Liesl loves—is in her hands?

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. All my opinions are my own.

My Thoughts


I loved Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones. I devoured the book in almost one sitting. It was with great anticipation that I was finally able to read/listen to Shadowsong. The book is narrated by Eva Kaminsky, who does a wonderful job. It also helped to hear out loud how some of the names in Shadowsong are pronounced. Though I didn't love this second book as much as I did the first, I'm glad I listened to it as an audiobook.

If you haven't read the first book, I suggest you start there, or Shadowsong won't make much sense. The story picks up about six months after the first book ends. From the beginning, the pace was slow. Liesl mourns over her austere young man. Her world is somber and the tone is reflected in the writing. At the beginning of the novel, Jae-Jones issues a trigger warning. Her main character suffers from bi-polar disorder. Even Josef suffers from depression. I tried to keep this knowledge at the forefront of my mind while reading, because at times the story felt a little tedious. I could tell what the writer was trying to do, but didn't quite make it, at least in the first half of the book.

The second half, however, had more grit to it. It felt as if the story was finally coming together. The pace picked up, and I was more invested in the characters. The ending was something readers will be satisfied with. I am sorry to say that I didn't love this book, because I really really wanted to. Overall I did like it, though. The beginning was tough to get through, but I think it's worth it to get to the other side. 




Tuesday, June 18, 2019

2 LACEWOOD By Jessica James #Lacewood #JessicaJames #Giveaway #BookBlast #HFVBTBlogTours


Lacewood by Jessica James

Publication Date: June 18, 2019
Patriot Press
eBook; 348 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction


Sometimes love is just too powerful for one lifetime…

Part love story, part ghost story, Lacewood is a timeless novel about trusting in fate, letting go of the past, and believing in things that can’t be seen.

MOVING TO A SMALL TOWN in Virginia is a big change for New York socialite Katie McCain. But when she stumbles across an abandoned 200-year-old mansion, she’s enthralled by the enduring beauty of the neglected estate—and captivated by the haunting portrait of a woman in mourning.

Purchasing the property on a whim, Katie attempts to fit in with the colorful characters in the town of New Hope, while trying to unravel the mystery of the “widow of Lacewood.” As she pieces together the previous owner’s heartrending story, Katie uncovers secrets the house has held for centuries, and discovers the key to coming to terms with her own sense of loss.

The past and present converge when hometown hero Will Durham returns and begins his own healing process by helping the “city girl” restore the place that holds so many memories. As the mystic web of destiny is woven, a love story that might have been lost forever is exposed, and a destiny that has been waiting in the shadows for centuries is fulfilled.

Rich in emotion and poignant in its telling, Lacewood is an unforgettable story about love and loss, roots and belonging…and spirits of the past that refuse to be quieted.

A haunting story from award-winning author Jessica James that connects the past with the present—and the present with eternity.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

Jessica James is an award-winning author of suspense, historical fiction, and military fiction ranging from the Revolutionary War to modern day. Her highly acclaimed Civil War novel Shades of Gray won numerous national literary awards, and is often compared to Gone with the Wind.

By weaving the principles of courage, devotion, duty, and dedication into each book, James attempts to honor the unsung heroes of the American military--past and present--and to convey the magnitude of their sacrifice and service. Her novels appeal to both men and women and are featured in library collections all over the United States including Harvard and the U.S. Naval Academy.

James resides in Gettysburg, Pa., and is a member of the Military Writers Society of America, NINC, Sisters in Crime, and the Romance Writers of America. She is a two-time winner of the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and was featured in the book 50 Authors You Should Be Reading, published in 2010.

Sign up for her free newsletter at www.jessicajamesbooks.com and ask for a free copy of From the Heart: Civil War Love Letters and Stories. You can also find Jessica on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, June 18

Wednesday, June 19

Thursday, June 20

Friday, June 21

Saturday, June 22

Sunday, June 23

Monday, June 24

Tuesday, June 25

Wednesday, June 26

Thursday, June 27

Friday, June 28

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Lacewood


Monday, June 17, 2019

0 Review: Realm by Alexandrea Weis


Realm
by Alexandrea Weis
Paperback, 397 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by Vesuvian Books
9781944109486)

Summary

Based on a true story.

When her homeland is conquered by the mighty Alexander the Great, Roxana—the daughter of a mere chieftain—is torn from her simple life and thrown into a world of war and intrigue.

Terrified, the sixteen-year-old girl of renowned beauty is brought before the greatest ruler the world has ever known. Her life is in his hands; her future his to decide.

Without formal education or noble blood, Roxana is chosen by the Greek conqueror to be his bride. Soon she comes to know profound happiness and unyielding desire in her warrior’s arms.

However, being the king’s consort comes at a heavy price. To survive her husband’s treacherous kingdom, she must endure continuous warfare, deadly plots, jealous rivals, victory-hungry generals, and the stigma of being a barbarian. Persian blood will keep her from claiming the grandest title of all—queen—but her reign will seal the fate of an empire.

History tells his story. This is hers.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and are in no way influenced by it.

My Thoughts


Realm by Alexandrea Weis tells the story of Alexander the Great's first wife, Roxana. The story begins after the defeat of Darius III, when Alexander invaded Persia. He fell immediately in love with Roxana, the beautiful daughter of a Bactrian nobleman named Oxyartes, Despite the objections from his generals, he married her. And thus began her marriage to one of history's most famous men. 

The price of being the wife of Alexander the Great is high. His kingdom is full of strife, warfare, jealousy, gossip, and plots. Roxana must learn to navigate these tepid waters or drown. With her lady's maid, Morella, Roxana bravely takes on the task at hand and becomes not only a wife to Alexander, but a trusted friend as well.

Not much is known about Roxana. History hasn't recorded much about her. You may find a paragraph here and there, but I imagine she'd have to be a pretty strong woman to deal with all she dealt with. Because of the lack of historical detail, Weis has to fill in the gaps, and there are a lot of them, as to what Roxana's life must have been like. 

Realm is an interesting read. It's full of romance and political intrigue. Some of the dialog felt a bit too modern for this time period. I enjoyed the historical elements including Weis' reference to Achilles/Patroclus being Alexander/Hephaestion. Weis does go into some detail about the comparison, but I would have loved it if she went a little more in depth. Realm felt more historical fiction than historical romance, but in the end was a satisfying read.


Friday, June 14, 2019

0 Review: Stoker's Wilde


Stoker's Wilde
by Steven Hopstaken,  Melissa Prusi
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 9th 2019 by Flame Tree Press
9781787581739

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley for review. It has in no way influenced my opinion.

Summary

Years before either becomes a literary legend, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde must overcome their disdain for one another to battle the Black Bishop, a mysterious madman wielding supernatural forces to bend the British Empire to his will. With the help of a European vampire expert, a spirited actress and an American businessman, our heroes fight werewolves, vampires and the chains of Victorian morality. The action will take them to dark forests in Ireland, through the upper-class London theater world and culminates in an exciting showdown at Stonehenge, where Bram and Oscar must stop a vampire cult from opening the gates of Hell. 

My Thoughts

Where did Bram Stoker get the idea for Dracula? Where did Oscar Wilde get his inspiration for The Picture of Dorian Gray? Both of these classic novels have embedded themselves in our culture since they were created. Perhaps it's the search for immortality that intrigues readers. Or perhaps it's something deeper, something more sinister. 

Before Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde created their literary masterpieces, these two gentlemen were thrown together in an adventure to stop supernatural forces from taking over England and opening the gates of Hell. Stoker and Wilde don't get along well, especially after Stoker steals Wilde's fiance. But they must put aside their differences for the good of all mankind.

Stoker's Wilde is told in the form of epistles, journal entries, and telegrams. I liked this approach to telling the story. Although, a few times, I felt it slowed the pace down a little too much. The authors used facts from Stoker and Wilde and blended them flawlessly with fiction. Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi have written an intriguing twist on two interesting literary superstars. 

The characters are based on real people that I don't really know a lot about. It was easy to suspend any belief that I had about them to engross myself in this novel. Besides the occasional pacing problem, I really enjoyed this novel. I felt it was on par with the literary masterpieces of Stoker and Wilde. If you're into Gothic horror, you might want to check out this book.





Thursday, June 13, 2019

0 Mysteries are revealed—both psychological and physical: Week 8 of Sync's Summer of #Audiobooks



Available for a Limited Time
Remember — grab these titles before they are replaced by a new pairing on 6/20/2019! While the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to keep and listen to at your leisure. 

Download this week's free audiobooks.



by Ursula Dubosarsky | Read by Kate Rudd
Published by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio

There were only eleven of them, like eleven sisters all the same age in a large family.... On the television news they heard gunfire and the sound of helicopter blades and bombs falling. The little girls hung on to the brink of a hugeness that they knew was there but had no way of discovering. The Vietnam War rages overseas, but back at home, in a year that begins with the hanging of one man and ends with the drowning of another, eleven schoolgirls embrace their own chilling history when their teacher abruptly goes missing on a field trip. Who was the mysterious poet they met in the garden? What actually happened that day? And most important, who can they tell about it? In beautifully crafted prose that shimmers and fades, Ursula Dubosarsky reveals how a single shared experience can alter the course of young lives forever. Part gripping thriller, part ethereal tale of innocence lost, The Golden Day is a poignant study of fear and friendship, and of what it takes to come of age with courage.








by Mary Roach | Read by Emily Woo Zeller

Published by Tantor Audio


"America's funniest science writer" (Washington Post) takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn't the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? In Gulp we meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks of—or has the courage to ask. We go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a fecal transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal. With Roach at our side, we travel the world, meeting murderers and mad scientists, Eskimos and exorcists (who have occasionally administered holy water rectally), rabbis and terrorists—who, it turns out, for practical reasons do not conceal bombs in their digestive tracts. Like all of Roach's books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

1 Of Knights and Dogfights Book Blast and Giveaway #OfKnightsandDogfights #EllieMidwood #BookBlast #HFVBTBlogTours


Of Knights and Dogfights: A WWII Novel by Ellie Midwood

Publication Date: January 4, 2019
eBook & Paperback; 426 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction


“Has it ever occurred to you, Johann; the fact that we’re fighting on the wrong side?”

Austria, 1938

On the verge of the most devastating war of all times, four young men found themselves sharing a room in a flying school dormitory. A bohemian Berliner, a Flieger-Hitlerjugend member, a prodigy pilot, and a butcher’s son, with nothing in common but their love for the Luftwaffe and the freedom the sky has to offer. The bond they develop is put to the test by what might be a stronger adversary - war itself. Over the English Channel, in the dusty skies of Africa, on the brutal Eastern front, they will discover where their loyalty lies, and what true bravery means.

“It’s Großdeutsches Reich, soldier. When one has a family at home, it doesn’t leave him many chances for the revolt.”

As the war progresses, Willi and Johann grow more and more disillusioned with the regime they’re protecting with their lives. An SS unit appearing on their base to claim one of their own; bits of conversation revealing the truth about the extermination program accidentally overheard during the official reception - the pieces of the puzzle are slowly coming together, but it’s too late to do anything but fight to the bitter end, whatever it may bring.

Set during one of the bloodiest wars in history, “Of Knights and Dogfights” is the story of the shattered illusions of youth, tyranny and freedom, friendship and love guiding one out of the darkest hell of Soviet captivity.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

About the Author

Ellie Midwood is a best-selling, award-winning historical fiction writer. She's a health-obsessed yoga enthusiast, a neat freak, an adventurer, Nazi Germany history expert, polyglot, philosopher, a proud Jew and a doggie mama.

Ellie lives in New York with her fiancé and their Chihuahua named Shark Bait.

Readers' Favorite - winner in the Historical Fiction category (2016) - "The Girl from Berlin: Standartenfuhrer's Wife"

Readers' Favorite - winner in the Historical Fiction category (2016) - "The Austrian" (honorable mention)

New Apple - 2016 Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing - "The Austrian" (official selection)

For more information on Ellie and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.


Book Blast Schedule

Monday, June 10

Tuesday, June 11

Wednesday, June 12

Thursday, June 13

Friday, June 14

Saturday, June 15

Sunday, June 16

Tuesday, June 18

Wednesday, June 19

Thursday, June 20

Friday, June 21

Giveaway

We have one paperback copy of Of Knights and Dogfights up for grabs! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Of Knights and Dogfights


Monday, June 10, 2019

0 Audiobook Review: Things My Son Needs To Know About The World


Things My Son Needs to Know about the World
by Fredrik Backman
Narrated by Santino Fontana
Length: 3 hrs and 10 mins
256 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Simon Schuster Audio 
 (ISBN13: 9781508258698)

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. This has in no way influenced my review.

Summary

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove shares an irresistible and moving collection of heartfelt, humorous essays about fatherhood, providing his newborn son with the perspective and tools he’ll need to make his way in the world. 

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World collects the personal dispatches from the front lines of one of the most daunting experiences any man can experience: fatherhood.

As he conveys his profound awe at experiencing all the “firsts” that fill him with wonder and catch him completely unprepared, Fredrik Backman doesn’t shy away from revealing his own false steps and fatherly flaws, tackling issues both great and small, from masculinity and mid-life crises to practical jokes and poop.

In between the sleep-deprived lows and wonderful highs, Backman takes a step back to share the true story of falling in love with a woman who is his complete opposite, and learning to live a life that revolves around the people you care about unconditionally. Alternating between humorous side notes and longer essays offering his son advice as he grows up and ventures out into the world, Backman relays the big and small lessons in life, including:

-How to find the team you belong to
-Why airports explain everything about religion and war
-The reason starting a band is crucial to cultivating and keeping friendships
-How to beat Monkey Island 3
-Why, sometimes, a dad might hold onto his son’s hand just a little too tight

My Thoughts

Elizabeth Stone said, “Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ”  I don't think a truer sentence has ever been written. I have two hearts walking around outside my body as I write this. One is about to embark on the world while the other still has a few years before she will begin her journey. 

As time was coming to a close on my son's high school career, I couldn't help but wonder if I taught him everything he needs to know about the world. Have we covered all the important things at least? Fredrik Backman and I are at opposite ends of Phase I in the parenting spectrum. (Phase I is years 0-18. The years when you are one of the most influential people in your child's life.) 

I enjoy Backman's writing immensely. I remember when I first read A Man Called Ove. I laughed out load and cried all in the same chapter. His story encompasses what it means to find your tribe, your family. You fall in love with his characters, which aren't always likeable in the beginning. But they become endearing in the end. It's because of this book I was curious to read Things My Son Needs to Know About the World. I chose audiobook format because I love audiobooks, and Backman's books are highly enjoyable in audiobook format. Seriously, check them out if you haven't already.

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World is narrated by Santino Fontana. He does a wonderful job bringing Backman's essays to life. He reads the book with the depth and humor the author intended. Fontana makes you feel as if you are in a one-on-one conversation about parenthood. It almost seems unreal that this book is a little over three hours long because it's chocked full of charming and amusing anecdotes, as well as more serious topics. 

I also love how Backman doesn't try to come off as a parenting expert. He acknowledges his missteps. He embraces his flaws. And I think that's why this book is so endearing. It speaks from the heart. Things My Son Needs to Know About the World is the perfect book for parents, no matter what phase of life your children are in. It's definitely perfect for fathers, who will probably love this book even more than I do. I can honestly say, this is one of the best parenting books out there. Do yourself a favor and read it.






Thursday, June 6, 2019

1 You may think you know someone, but is it the truth or just gossip? #audiobooks #Sync

Available for a Limited Time
Remember — grab these titles before they are replaced by a new pairing on 6/13/2019! While the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to keep and listen to at your leisure



An Enemy of the People
by Henrik Ibsen, Rebecca Lenkiewicz
Read by Rosalind Ayres, Gregory Harrison, Richard Kind, Alan Mandell, Jon Matthews, Alan Shearman, Josh Stamberg, Emily Swallow, Tom Virtue, Sam Boeck, Julia Coulter, Jeff Gardner, William Hickman, Adam Mondschein

When a small town relies on tourists flocking to its baths, will a report of dangerously polluted waters be enough to shut them down? Henrik Ibsen weighs the cost of public health versus a town’s livelihood in An Enemy of the People. Adapted by Rebecca Lenkiewicz. An L.A. Theatre Works full cast recording featuring: Rosalind Ayres as Catherine Stockman Gregory Harrison as Peter Stockman Richard Kind as Dr. Thomas Stockman Alan Mandell as Morten Kill Alan Shearman as Captain Horster Jon Matthews as Billing Josh Stamberg as Hovstad Emily Swallow as Petra Tom Virtue as Aslaksen Additional voices by Sam Boeck, William Hickman, Adam Mondschein, Julia Coulter, and Jeff Gardner. Includes an interview about the Deepwater Horizon, man-made environmental disasters, climate change, and the state of the world's water supply with Joel K. Bourne Jr., former senior environment writer for National Geographic. Directed by Martin Jarvis. Recorded in Los Angeles before a live audience at The James Bridges Theater, UCLA in April of 2014. An Enemy of the People is part of L.A. Theatre Works’ Relativity Series featuring science-themed plays. Major funding for the Relativity Series is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, bridging science and the arts in the modern world.






A Girl Like That
by Tanaz Bhathena
Read by Firdous Bamji, Neil Shah, Soneela Nankani, Lameece Issaq

In this young adult debut set in Saudi Arabia, where the law forbids romantic relationships outside of marriage, two teens fall in love, with tragic consequences. Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: an Indian girl, a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a troublemaker whose romantic entanglements are the subject of endless gossip among the girls in her school. "You don't want to get involved with a girl like that," they say. So how is it that Porus, a Parsi boy, has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of the highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is called into question.



Wednesday, June 5, 2019

0 Audiobook Review: On Being 40ish


On Being 40(ish)
by Lindsey Mead (Editor),  Kate Bolick, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Veronica Chambers, Sloane Crosley, Meghan Daum, K.J. Dell'Antonia, Jill Kargman , Julie Klam, Jessica Lahey, Catherine Newman, Sujean Rim, Jena Schwartz, Sophfronia Scott, Allison Winn Scotch
Narrated by: Janina Edwards, Madeleine Maby, Soneela Nankani, Joy Osmanski, Candace Thaxton
Audiobook, 5 hrs and 2 mins
Published February 5th 2019 by Simon Schuster Audio
9781508282686

I received a copy of this book from Simon and Schuster for review purposes. It has no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Summary

The big 4-0. Like eighteen and twenty-one, this is a major and meaningful milestone our lives—especially for women. Turning forty is a poignant doorway between youth and…what comes after; a crossroads to reflect on the roads taken and not, and the paths yet before you. The decade that follows is ripe for nostalgia, inspiration, wisdom, and personal growth.

In this dazzling collection, fifteen writers explore this rich phase in essays that are profound, moving and above all, brimming with joie de vivre. With a diverse array of voices—including Veronica Chambers, Meghan Daum, Kate Bolick, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Sloane Crosley, KJ Dell’Antonia, Julie Klam, Jessica Lahey, Catherine Newman, Sujean Rim, Jena Schwartz, Sophfronia Scott, Allison Winn Scotch, Lee Woodruff, and Jill Kargman—On Being 40(ish) offers deeply personal, often hilarious perspectives across a range of universal themes—friendship, independence, sex, beauty, aging, wisdom, and the passage of time.

Beautifully designed to make the perfect gift, and to be a treasure to turn to time and time again, On Being 40(ish) reflects the hopes, fears, challenges and opportunities of a generation. 

My Thoughts

When I was a child, I remember the adults celebrating turning 40 with black balloons, a "you're over the hill" cake, and on occasion tombstones in your front yard. It was as if to say, 40 = your life is over. My sister cried the day she turned 40. Big, blubbering tears. And for the life of me I couldn't figure out why. She's only a year older than I am. So when my turn came, to be honest, I didn't feel any different. I didn't cry. I felt the same as when I turned 25 or 32. Over the year I did start to wonder if I have or am accomplishing everything  I wanted to. I started to take notice of the women around me, looking at their journey and noticing the differences and similarities each woman's is.

My 40ish year was marred with a bit of tragedy. My husband's mother had just passed away from cancer. My paternal grandmother and grandfather had passed away within months of each other. I was riding a wave of grief, just trying to keep my head above water. My sister had just gotten out of a serious relationship and was trying to rebuild her life. I have friends who have gone back to school after years of staying at home with their children, friends going back to work, or friends that were getting promoted in their careers. Being 40 looks different on every one. And just like diversity in life, On Being 40-ish offers a variety of essays from women who are in different stages of their lives, but linger around the 40-ish benchmark. 

I read in the description that this book makes the 'perfect gift.' I would like to amend that a bit and say, this makes the perfect gift for yourself. Sometimes woman need reminding that everyone had a different path, and it's not meant to look like everyone else's. This book is full of encouragement, wisdom, and inspiration. I chose to listen to this book as an audiobook. It has multiple readers, which gives it a more personal feel, as if the essays are meant for you alone. The themes range from friendship to the passing of time. This is a book that has a universal truth about women and age. Something all women can relate to.


Tuesday, June 4, 2019

1 The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke Feature and Giveaway @hfvbt


The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Tyndale House Publishers
Hardcover, Paperback, eBook; 432 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Christian


Download the Recipes for The Medallion

For fans of bestselling World War II fiction like Sarah's Key and The Nightingale comes an illuminating tale of courage, sacrifice, and survival, about two couples whose lives are ravaged by Hitler's mad war yet eventually redeemed through the fate of one little girl.

Seemingly overnight, the German blitzkrieg of Warsaw in 1939 turns its streets to a war zone and shatters the life of each citizen--Polish, Jewish, or otherwise. Sophie Kumiega, a British bride working in the city's library, awaits news of her husband, Janek, recently deployed with the Polish Air Force. Though Sophie is determined that she and the baby in her womb will stay safe, the days ahead will draw her into the plight of those around her, compelling her to help, whatever the danger.

Rosa and Itzhak Dunovich never imagined they would welcome their longed-for first child in the Jewish ghetto, or that they would let anything tear their family apart. But as daily atrocities intensify, Rosa soon faces a terrifying reality: to save their daughter's life, she must send her into hiding. Her only hope of finding her after the war--if any of them survive--is a medallion she cuts in half and places around her neck.

Inspired by true events of Poland's darkest days and brightest heroes, The Medallion paints a stunning portrait of war and its aftermath, daring us to believe that when all seems lost, God can make a way forward.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-A-Million | CBD.com | Wal-Mart

About the Author

Cathy Gohlke is the three-time Christy Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed novels The Medallion, Until We Find Home, Secrets She Kept (winner of the 2016 Carol and INSPY Awards), Saving Amelie (winner of the 2015 INSPY Award), Band of Sisters, Promise Me This (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2012), William Henry Is a Fine Name, and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2008), which also won the American Christian Fiction Writers' Book of the Year Award.

Cathy writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons from history. Her stories reveal how people break the chains that bind them and triumph over adversity through faith.
When not traveling to historic sites for research, she, her husband, and their dog, Reilly, divide their time between Northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren.

Visit her website at www.cathygohlke.com and on Facebook at CathyGohlkeBooks.


Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 4

Wednesday, June 5

Thursday, June 6

Friday, June 7

Saturday, June 8

Sunday, June 9

Monday, June 10
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, June 12

Thursday, June 13
Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, June 14

Monday, June 17

Tuesday, June 18
Review at Lakeside Living

Wednesday, June 19
Feature at Coffee and Ink

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away 5 paperback copies of The Medallion! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

The Medallion


Thursday, May 30, 2019

0 Sometimes the most reliable person in your life is YOU: Week 6 of @Sync's summer #Audiobook program

Available for a Limited Time
Remember — grab these titles before they are replaced by a new pairing on 6/6/2019! While the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to keep and listen to at your leisure. 






by Kerry Kletter | Read by Jorjeana Marie
Published by Penguin Random House Audio/Listening Library

Cassie O'Malley has spent the past two and a half years in a mental institution—dumped there by her mother, against her will. Now, at 18, Cassie emancipates herself, determined to start over. She attends college, forms new friendships, and even attempts to start fresh with her mother. But before long, their unhealthy relationship threatens to pull Cassie under once again. As Cassie struggles to reclaim her life, childhood memories persist and confuse, and Cassie must consider whose version of history is real, and more important, whose life she must save.





by Wendelin Van Draanen | Read by Alex McKenna
Published by Penguin Random House Audio/Listening Library



From the award-winning author of The Running Dream and Flipped comes a remarkable portrait of a girl who has hit rock bottom but begins a climb back to herself at a wilderness survival camp.

Monday, May 27, 2019

0 Review: The Royal Secret


The Royal Secret (The Love Letter in the UK)
by Lucinda Riley
Hardcover, 528 pages
Expected publication: May 21st 2019 by Atria Books
9781982121273

Summary

In this suspenseful and heart-pounding novel from New York Times bestselling author Lucinda Riley, an ambitious young journalist unravels a dangerous mystery that threatens to devastate the British monarchy. 

My thanks to Atria and NetGalley for providing me with a review copy of the book. It in no way influenced my opinion. 

My Thoughts

The Royal Secret (also called The Love Letter in the UK) by Lucinda Riley has had an interesting road to publication. In an Author's Note at the beginning of the book, Riley explains that she began writing The Royal Secret in 1998 under the title Seeing Double. 2000 was not the year for this book. With the "popularity of the monarchy being at an all-time low and the Queen Mother's centenary year," this book didn't see the light of day. A part of me wonders if it was because this book resembled some kind of truth that people in high places wanted to keep under wraps. Although, Riley does point out that this is a pure work of fiction with no similarity between the Queen and her family. Thankfully, 2019 is the year for this book, and as far as I'm aware, the road to publishing has been smoother this time around.

The Royal Secret begins at a slow but steady pace. Joanna Haslam is a reporter trying to catch her big break in the news business. At the last minute she is assigned to cover the legendary actor, Sir James Harrison's, funeral. At the funeral, she sits beside an elderly lady who has some kind of medical fit during the funeral. Joanna helps her home. A few weeks later she receives a mysterious letter in the mail from the little old lady, and from that point on, Joanna's life changes forever. She might have the scoop of a lifetime if she finds out the truth before it's too late.

At over 500 pages, this book seemed a little too long at times. Could it have been because I was impatient for all the pieces to fall into place? Maybe so. For the most part the plot moved along well. Riley had me guessing as to what was really happening. Part historical fiction/part political thriller, The Royal Secret is a book that is hard to put down. And the ending was so good. I didn't see it coming. Lots of twists and turns filled with adventure and romance. If you're looking for a beach read this summer, I highly recommend this book!




FIND LUCINDA RILEY ONLINE:
Twitter: @lucindariley

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