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The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand, The Rumor, Book Journey

Longing for a good summer read centered around beautiful Nantucket, author Elin Hinderbrand is an excellent “go to” choice for just such a read.  ~ Sheila

When Grace Pancik sets her mind on something there is really no stopping her.  When Grace decides that she wants the most beautiful gardens in all of Nantucket, she hires the easy on the eyes Benton to be her guide.

When Madeline King, Grace’s best friend, struggles with writers block with an ever pressing deadline… she panics and reaches for a story line she knows that she should not be telling, but what could it hurt?  And who would know?

When Eddie, Grace’s’ husband gets in over his head in a real estate windfall gone bad, he makes some hard and most definitely not legal choices…  but with Madeline King insisting on her money back that she and her husband gave Eddie in trust and is constantly calling threateningly a lawsuit, and the bills stacking up around him… what is a guy to do?

Grace’s hanging out almost daily with the gardener.

Madeline is writing a steamy tell allbut what is her inspiration?

Eddie is having secret conversations with Madeline.

Grace’s twin teenage daughters are up to their own schemes while their parents are so preoccupied.

Madeline rents a studio apartment.

and that is how Rumors get started….

I have enjoyed Elin Hilderbrand in the past and The Rumor was no exception.  Author Elin Hilderbrand once again creates an easy and engaging summer read that is just plain fun.  I enjoyed each of the story lines in the book and how easily one can misinterpret what is really happening… as well as how often what we think could not possibly be true – actually is.

Narrated by Kathleen McInerney (who also occasionally narrates for Mary Kay Andrews), the book on audio flowed well.  I found myself engaged in what would happen next.

Definitely a go to author for me, I recommend Hilderbrand’s books for those who love a good summery read based on the island of Nantucket.. where truly… anything can and will happen.

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 10 hours and 48 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: June 16, 2015

 

Those Girls by Chevy Stevens

Chevy Stevens, Those Girls, Book JOurney

The Campbell sisters never had what you would call an easy life.  Living with a mostly absent and when present, abusive father, the girls did their best to stay out of his way.  Teenagers Jess, Courtney, and Danny worked on a ranch to earn enough to keep their home and purchase a little food, wondering (and dreading) when their father would next make his appearance and what kind of mood he would be in.

One night, when their father returns – things go too far and the girls find themselves on the run.  As things go from bad to worse, the girls live through a nightmare that haunts them for the next 18 years.

The sisters try to make lives for themselves and for the most part they do… but one sister… one can not forget that night.  And her choices affect all of them.

 

 

Chevy Stevens is one of those authors that I pretty much drop any reading plan for and grab their latest works.  I have raved about Chevy’s books in the past and when Those Girls was coming out I was soooooo excited.  A spooky sinister synopsis, amazing cover – I was all in.

The story starts out strong and very “Chevy Stevens like”… right away I fell into the story, and for the first two thirds of the book I was really involved with what was happening even if a few things seemed to come together a little easy….

It was the final third that I found I could no longer suspend belief… the happenings in this part of the book that take place 18 years later undid me.  It was too believable the way it plays out.  I am being careful to avoid spoilers here, but for me this book did not live up to the Chevy Stevens quality I have experienced in the past.

I wanted to be blown away…

I wasn’t.

Please look at other reviews for this one to develop a better opinion of the book.  I see that many have enjoyed this one, as did I, I just did not love love it.

That’s What She Reads found it to be a good summer thriller

Booking Mama highly recommended it

debbishdotcom found this Stevens read to be back to her better work

 

I did listen to this one on audio and enjoyed the narration by Jorjeana Marie (Narrator), Emily Woo Zeller (Narrator), Nicol Zanzarella (Narrator).  Not always a fan of multiple narrators, this one worked.

 

 

 

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 11 hours and 29 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: July 7, 2015

 

 

Fever by Mary Beth Keane

Fever, Mary Beth Keane, Typhoid Mary, Mary Mallon, Book Journey

The amazing story behind “Typhoid Mary”,  truly had no idea.  ~Sheila

 

Mary Mallon was 15 years old when she left Ireland to come to New York.  Mary ha a stubborn streak and she knew what she wanted and how to get it.  She worked hard laboring in kitchens learning skills as a cook until she became quite good.  Soon she found her sought after by New York’s elite families wanting the hard-working Mary with the skills of a chef to be theirs exclusively.

Then the families of those Mary cooked for began to get sick.  Some even died.  A particular keen-eyed Medical Engineer zoned in on Mary as being the common denominator.  He called this out openly, saying Mary was a “asymptomatic carrier” of Typhoid Fever.

For three years Mary was kept in isolation, away from those she loved and from anything to do with other people.

This is her story.

 

 

We have probably all heard at one point or another about “Typhoid Mary”.  At least in name.  For myself, that is all I knew.  When I discovered this book Fever on audio I felt this would be an opportunity to learn more of this woman.  I am glad I did.  Narrated by Candace Thaxton, Fever was an interesting listen about Mary Mallon’s life.  I enjoyed learning of her tough exterior. She was a strong woman who carried herself well even through the hard years.

Learning more of her story was very interesting.  I would recommend this one in either book or audio format, I feel both will come off well.

 

 

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 9 hours and 53 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: March 12, 2013

 

Movie: Jurassic World

Jurassic world, Book Journey

On July 4th Al and I were keeping our day pretty low key.  We stayed close to home and then in the afternoon decided to go and check out the movie Jurassic World.  I grew up around the Jurassic movies and remember the excitement of imaging that such a park could exist and of course, the implications around having such a park exist.

 

We really enjoyed the movie.  It was like the next generation of Jurassic Park.  They were trying again to create the park that once failed all those years ago.  Now they were trying to keep up with the ever changing demands of this world – not just wanting to see a dinosaur… but a bigger, scarier, dinosaur then ever seen before.

Super sizing is not always the way to go.

It’s actually a great idea and an apparent win (according to an article I read this morning the movie is well on its way to becoming one of the biggest movies of all time).  Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are pretty amazing in their roles.  Chris playing Owen, the “Raptor whisperer” with the smoking good looks and kick ass attitude, and Bryce playing Claire a stuffy over achiever who is all about her job and has little time for anything or anyone else.

If you get the chance – see this one at the theater for the BIG screen feel.  We went to the 3D version (mainly due to the timing) and found it to be well done.

Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eicher

Dead Mountain, Book Journey, Donnie Eichar, Dyatlov Pass, Russia

1959.  Nine excited college students planned to hike the Russian Ural Mountains and reach Ortorten, a challenging trek.  All 9 in the party (7 boys and two girls) were experienced hikers and used to mountain expeditions.  They had trained, and planned, and envisioned victory. The group left on January 27 with plans to communicate once they reached Vizhai which they believed would be around February 12th, but perhaps a little longer.When February 12th came and went, there was no panic. however when February 20th came around a rescue team was sent out to look for the nine hikers.

On February 26th the rescue team found the camp site of the hikers where the tents had been partially torn down and cut open with knives from the inside.  Inside the tent were also the shoes of the hikers.  Tracks could be seen of stocking feet as well as bare feet around the site and the rescue team followed.  As they searched the area all nine of the hikers bodies were found in different states of dress, looking as though they had abandoned the tents in a hurry.  But why?  What would cause this experienced group to venture out into the cold snow without their shoes or jackets?  What would cause them to destroy their tents from the inside?  What were they trying to escape?

While it was believed they died of hypothermia, some of the hikers had extreme injuries, blows to the skull, chest fractures and one was even missing his tongue.

Photo footage and journals found left by the hikers showed that the communication ended on February 2nd.  Yet all of these years later, a solid answer to what happened has never been found.

7

 

Book Journey, Dyatlov pass, dead mountain, 1959

 

Book Journey Dyatlov Pass Incident, 1959, Dead Mountain

 

Once again I embark on a read that I have no idea about.  I admittedly had never heard about the Dyalov Pass or about this extreme tragedy.  When browsing the audible.com audio sale this one caught my eye as I seem to be drawn to unsolved mysteries.  At around 6 1/2 hours of audio listening this was a doable listen.  I tend to like my audio to be around that 6-9 hour mark if I have no relationship with the author or narrator to cause me to invest more time.

Donnie Eichar plays many roles in this audio.  Not only is he the author and narrator, he is also telling the story not as a third person observer – but as first person, as Donnie was part of a team that followed in the tracks of the hikers in 2012, trying to bring in new answers to an old mystery.

I did enjoy this listen.  It was very interesting to learn about the hiking group, listen to parts of their journal and discoveries, and try to piece together what may have happened.

While this book will not give you a full out positive answer as to what did happen, it does go over many theories which Donnie Eichar will tell you why some theories hold merit and others do not.  In the end, Donnie will also give you his thoughts on the mystery that surrounds the Dyalov Pass tragedy.

 

Other stuff:  A movie is 2013 called Devil’s Pass is about 5 filmmakers who retrace the steps of the 1959 hikers.

You Tube has an Unsolved Mysteries video with good insight and pictures of the hikers:

 

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 6 hours and 23 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • Audible.com Release Date: March 18, 2014

 

 

 

Notes To Boys: And Other Things I Shouldn’t Share In Public by Pamela Ribon

notes to boys, pamela ribson, book journey

Notes To Boys is a memoir of the awkward (occasionally cringe worthy) letters that best-selling author and screen writer Pam Ribon wrote to boys when she was growing up…. some sent (she had a tendency to always make a copy), some not sent… and some she hopes she didn’t send but has a weird feeling that she probably did.

Growing up in a small town in Texas and the internet and cell phones still a long way off, Pam spent time writing letters, LONG deep, and teen angst letters that now – years later she share. Pam laughs at herself, filling in the gaps behind the letters, and adds laugh out loud commentary as she questions this younger version of herself’s motives.

Now married with a child, Pam finds “Young Pam” to be at times a little sad, but mostly a strong boy crazy gal struggling to find who she is and who she will be.

 

 

 

To give my thoughts on this particular audio book I think I need to break it down.

Why I listened to this audiobook:  I enjoy memoirs that are read by the author.  While I admit I had not heard of Pam Ribon (remember at times I do feel like I live under a rock), I thought the synopsis of this one sounded interesting.  After listening to the audible sample, I enjoyed Pam’s fast talking fun way of narrating and her occasional cracking herself up.

What I liked:  Pam is a fast talking funny gal.  Impressively so… how she doesn’t stumble on her words sometimes is a wonder. Her stories in most cases are pretty funny. Tiny warning:  occasionally a bit raunchy.  I enjoyed that to “protect the innocent” each of the boys she wrote about had an alias such as “Holly Hunter Boy” (the boy she watched Broadcast News with) and “Super Mario Brothers Boy.”  She has a quick wit and I liked how she would rabbit trail while reading but never to the point that I was lost.

What I didn’t like:  While there are a couple of moments in the book/audio where Pam shares some deeply personal and painful past happenings, it almost doesn’t fit with this style of book.  Her funny moments are so over the top funny that when she switches gears to share something serious it is like a record scratching.  In most cases this works in memoirs and would have if the letters were not so funny and her narration is so over the top fun that the sad parts were a bit “oh… OH… she is serious here.”  I also have to mention the volume of her narration.  At times Pam becomes very loud even shouting and for me, at one point I was listening in the living room after Hubby had gone to bed and I had to keep adjusting the volume lower for when she became loud and turn it up when she spoke softly.  The same thing happened when I was mowing the lawn and had ear buds in – the volume had to be adjusted so I didn’t hurt my ears when she shouted (and she really shouts!)

Overall:  Pam does do a great job at narration and most of the letters are quite funny.  I had to imagine what kind of girl writes long letters to boys and makes copies?  Then I reminded myself that I am the girl who wrote poetry about EVERYTHING (boys included and one about socks too..and placed my poems in photo albums.  (Remember old school photo albums with that sticky top layer?  Yes – those.)  I recommend giving the audio sample a listen.  I think in book format this would come off well, however if this sounds like your kind of listen, even with the volume adjustments, this is a unique listen that reminded me a bit of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson.

 

 

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 6 hours and 17 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Rare Bird Books
  • Audible.com Release Date: June 18, 2015

 

 

 

The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell

The disaster artist, The Room, Movie, Greg Sesero, Tommy Wiseau

At nineteen, Greg Sestero knew he wanted to be an actor.  Against his mothers better wishes he participated in an acting school in San Fransisco and this is where Greg met the quirky Tommy Wiseau.  Tom had a strange accent, and had a very unique way of doing things and thinking.  He was a huge frustration to all who had to act with him.  Greg however, was memorized by Tommy’s uninhibited ways.. not caring or even acknowledging others opinions.

A friendship developed between Greg and Tommy.  Greg was curious about Tommy’s belief that he would be a famous actor, his avoidance of anything about his past, and apparently a bank account that had no bottom.  As Greg’s career goals start to take off, Tommy still struggles not understanding why his photos he sends out to acting agencies go unanswered.

Then Tommy starts writing his own screen play.  A screen play that eventually Tommy put in over 6 million of his own money into creating throughout a time where many were fired for not agreeing with Tommy’s bizarre vision.  The movie,The Room eventually is finished with crazy plots introduced and not finished, and becomes known as “the Citizen Kane of bad movies” (Entertainment Weekly), which is now an international phenomenon, with Wiseau himself beloved as an oddball celebrity.

 

 

 

Why this audio?  I found this one in an Audible $4.95 sale and thought it sounded interesting.  I had never heard of the movie and after listening to the audio sample (of you must listen to the audio sample and hear how Tommy talks) I was really interested.  Greg Sestero who flawlessly narrates this book, is also the Greg who was with Tommy through all of this so is giving his first hand account.

The craziness of Tommy’s ideas, refusal to change a thing, and how the movie is made and Greg explaining what to watch for in the movie – honestly makes me want to try and watch this movie that sounds painfully ridiculous.  It looks like their are many sites on line that you can stream the full length movie.  (I just watched a think on You Tube called Everything Wrong with the movie The Room in 8 minutes…. I think that is enough of seeing the movie for me).  While the movie looks horrible – the audio was pretty good.

I enjoyed the crazy truth of this non fiction audio. I found that when I wasn’t listening to the audio, I couldn’t wait to get back to see what Tommy would do next.  This is an excellent example of how the truth really is greater than fiction.

 

 

 

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 11 hours and 38 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: May 19, 2014

 

The Astronaut Wives Club (A True Story) by Lily Koppel

The austronaut wives club, Lily Koppel, Book JOurney, audio

Thank you to my friend Gail for recommending this one to me!  ~Sheila

1959.  We have all heard of the astronauts that have graced our history books… the first man in space, the first on the moon, those who followed, those… who did not make it.

Starting with project Mercury behind each of these original 7 men were 7 women who suddenly found themselves the center of the world’s attention.  What did they eat for breakfast?  How did they raise their children?  What were their greatest fears?  Their greatest triumphs?  It was all a bit much to be under this constant magnifying glass by NASA as well as the public.  These wives were expected to be perfect, look perfect.  After all… they were representing America.

Some of them thrived in the lime light, other worked hard to keep the details of their marriage under wraps.  The world expected nothing but perfection.  This led to the women creating the Astronaut’s Wives Club.  Together the women supported one another as each man went into space.  They were their, first and foremost, when as it happened, that the husband did not come back.

The wives from Project Mercury, The Kennedy Years, Gemini Missions, and finally the Apollo program were women who didn’t sign up for this assignment but they received it any way.  Some eventually divorced, and one, can not handle the great price her husband paid.  All….

had a story to tell.

This audio book was amazing.  It was so interesting to learn about the women behind the names we know.  If you think it is hard to be shot into space… imagine being the wife left back here on earth trying to hold it together while cameras and reporters are everywhere (even in your house) can capture your every emotion.

I really enjoyed listening to this in audio format.  Narrator Orlagh Cassidy is a new narrator to me and perfect for this book.  In fact many times I checked the case to read her name trying to submit it to memory so I can look up what else she narrates.  (For the record, it looks like she narrates many David Baldachi books).  Her smooth voice flowed through this listen, never a flaw.

I highly recommend this book or audio to those who enjoy non fiction history.  The book is like reading a fiction novel, it is not a difficult read at all and I enjoy spending time with these amazing women.

Side note:  I just read that this became a series on ABC, Thursdays 8/7c starting on June 18th.   Might be interesting!

  • Listening Length: 7 hours and 46 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged

 

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Unabridged edition (June 18, 2013)

Whisper Beach by Shelley Noble

whisper beach, Shelley Noble, Book JOurney

Vanessa “Van” Moran stands right where she left twelve years before.  Having left her home town as a young girl heartbroken, betrayed, and alone, she had vowed she would never come back.

And yet, here she was.

When her cousin’s husband dies in a freak accident, Van comes to pay her respects.  Her plan is to get in and get out as quickly as possible and move on to her true vacation at a fancy resort many miles from Whisper Beach.  Since leaving Van has created a wonderful business in Manhattan that has made her quite successful.  Part of her reason for this brief visit is for everyone to see that she was now established, doing well, and this town had not broken her spirit.

Things never go as planned.

When the woman who helped her all those years ago Dorie, asks Van to stay a few days to help her with some business decisions, Van decided a few days can not hurt.  Her good friend Suze is also staying at Dories and it would be fun to catch up.  As long as Van can avoid the one guy who broke her heart and the girl that stole him away – she will be just fine.  Anyway, she can leave anytime she wants.

As I said, things never go as planned.

 

 

 

I really enjoyed Whisper Beach.  Once again I find myself locked in a beachy read centered around a triangle of old friends working on healing old wounds.  (When you read enough beach reads you really find a pattern).  It didn’t matter.  I liked Van.  I liked that she was successful through everything she went through in her younger years.  She was strong and broken – but not beyond repair…. I can not say the same for others in the book. ;)

Author Shelley Noble flushes out some very real issues with this book and those within.  I found her writing style to be engaging and while some of the characters you meet in Whisper Beach you really would rather not know- I still wouldn’t mind popping in and hanging out at the Blue Crab with Dorie, Van, and Suze…. and oh yeah… Joe.  I think there could easily be more to this story and I for one would be happy to come and visit Whisper Beach again.

Looking for a good read this summer?  Add Whisper Beach to your list.

 

 

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 16, 2015)

 

Suddenly One Summer by Julie James

suddenly one summer, Julie James, Book Journey

Victoria Slade prides herself on her “take care of herself attitude”.  As a divorce lawyer, she has seen her share of relationships gone wrong and has interest in adding her name to the list of relationship casualties.  When circumstances shake her stable world and cause her to move into a new apartment she finds her new neighbor Ford’s conquests to be unsettling.  Sure he is easy on the eyes but apparently she is not the only one who thinks so.

When Victoria winds up helping Ford’s sister with a case she finds herself teaming up with Ford who turns out to be an Investigative Journalist.  As Victoria and Ford try to keep a professional distance, they find a growing attraction for each other.  Yet Victoria still carries with her some remains of her past shake up that she is working through, and she wonders if Ford is the right person to put her trust in… and her heart.

 

 

 

Suddenly One Summer is a summer read with a few occasions of “hot writing”.  The story line is simple, predictable, and done before, with a few new twists added to change it up just a bit.  I personally could have lived without the frequent sexual happenings that were described in great detail.  Things seemed to move awfully fast for the neighbors who in the matter of days seem to go from avoidance to a hot passionate relationship.

I think I accidentally stepped into an author that now as I read more about her is known for her steamy romance writing.  I chose this one on the synopsis and the title (love that word Summer!) and probably read this one not realizing it was out of my comfort zone.

I listened to this on audio and the narration by Karen White was fun.  She narrated with a fast paced jaunty tone that I enjoyed giving a “fun feel” to the happenings in Victoria’s life.  I did enjoy that.

 

 

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 9 hours and 43 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: June 2, 2015

 

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