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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

 

bookends by Jane Green

bookends, Jane Green, Book Journey

After recently finishing one Jane Green book (Summer Secrets), I went to shelf that one and found this one that I picked up at a sale years ago…. with a title like that, how I could pass on it?  ~Sheila

Catherine, Simon, Portia, and Josh were the inseparable four during their college years.  Catherine (Cat) always the side kick who blended well with the rest enjoyed her cozy life and circle of friends and like her comfy sweater, she was happy with things just as they were.  Simon (Si) was always looking for love with just the right guy but love – true love for whatever reason eludes him.  Portia is tall, slender and gorgeous.  She is used to getting whatever she wants with just the blink of an eye but carries a coldness within her.  Josh wishes he could win Portia’s heart but has more or less given up on that dream.

Then one fateful night of poor choices and damaged egos breaks the group apart and Portia finds herself left behind.

Years later Josh is married to the delightful Lucy.  Cat and Si are still very single… Cat happily and Si not so much.  The four get together frequently for dinners and talks.  When Portia suddenly arrives back in their lives, her appearance unleashes events that threaten to push apart the friends.  At a time when Cat is starting to believe in love again she instead has to deal with her old friend and the damage that can be done when trust is not an option.

Score another one for Jane Green!  bookends was a delightful read and surprised me when I found out that bookends is actually the name of a book store within the book.  Well hello good story!  I enjoyed spending time with this group of friends as they lived out their dreams and their worst nightmares.  I find that it is a bonus when a book makes you wish you knew the characters in real life and that is what bookends did for me.

Jane Green once again surprises me with a fun light read with real life issues.  In bookends you will get it all – the fun, the pain, the reality of living in today world… the good, the bad, and the ugly.  It’s good to have good friends to help get you through.

Jane Green fans do not miss this one.  If you liked Summer Secrets, I think you will enjoy bookends as well.  Jane Green will be an author I keep an eye on.

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (May 27, 2003)

 

Summer Secrets by Jane Green

Summer Secrets, Jane Green, Book Journey

 

Cat Coombs always seemed to struggle in finding her place in her world of London.  She did not fit into the popular crowd, but eventually discovered that with a few drinks in her, she could bring on the liquid courage that seemed to make her fit.  In her teen years and into her 20’s it became known that the party had not started until Cat had arrived. Sure, Cat did not always remember events that took place in these crazy drinking binges, and she did not always make it to her job as a journalist on time, but being “absent” from a dad that does not seem to really care and a mom that keeps her distance isn’t so bad.

When Cat meets Jason, a handsome guy who is a recovering alcoholic Cat tries to stop drinking for him (although she is sure she doesn’t have a problem) but a bombshell dropped by her mother sends Cat not only into a shock… but also to the states and Nantucket to stay with family she doesn’t know.  This family is a lot of fun and Cat slips easily into old habits. A serious mistake destroys relationships all around her and sends her back to London planning never to return to Nantucket again and put what happened out of her mind.

But…. things have a way of popping up when not dealt with.

As Cat grows into her 40’s, now a recovering alcoholic who understands the importance of her meetings and never drinking again, she finds herself stuck on the 9th step in her recovery:  Made direct amends to such people, wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

While Cat has completed most of this step, she has not addressed what happened in Nantucket or the people she hurt deeply.  When an opportunity arises for Cat to write a story on Nantucket and she is able to spend two weeks there, she knows it is time to face whatever happens… even if it means risking it all.

 

 

 

I have to admit Summer Secrets surprised me.  I found I liked Cat.  This is the first book I have read that really placed me inside an AA meeting and I found that interesting.  Of course I have heard of the steps, but learning more about the meetings through Cat’s character was interesting and really thinking how hard that 9th step has to be – to face those you have hurt, has to be so hard and yet so lifting as well, no matter what the outcome.  Author Jane Green did an excellent job of covering this topic through Cat’s character without it ever feeling heavy or draining.  Well done.

Summer Secrets has a great mix of people, places, and situations.  This is not your typical “Nantucket read”.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and think that this would make a great book to pick up and enjoy this summer.  If you enjoy summer reading, realistic family dynamics, great friendships, and learning a little something along the way do not miss out on this book.

 

 

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (June 23, 2015)

 

 

The Girls Of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery

Susan Mallery, Girls of Mischief Bay, Book JOurney,

Do you just love this cover?  It says so much… warm sunny days, beachy moments, and friendship… all things I value in my heart.  ~Sheila

Nicole Lord does her best to be a good wife but when her husband up and quits his job with no warning because he feels he wants to write a screen play, Nicole is floored.  Now juggling the children and her full-time job at her Pilates Studio as well as managing the household and the bills, Nicole knows something has to give and she feels she has given quite enough.

Shannon Rig prides herself on her accomplishments.  Now Vice President of her company she is a force to be reckoned with, yet now she wonders if the cost for this success was too much. When Shannon has a change to connect with a great guy gives her hope – she discovers that the perfect “have it all” package may look different from what she has planned.

Pam Eiland has the perfect home, the perfect loving husband, and wonderful grown children.  Now, as she looks around her perfect life she wonders what becomes of her now that all she had to do as a stay at home mom is over.  Looking for ways to keep her marriage spicy may be the answer, but life as we all know… is full of surprises we do not see coming.

These three women who meet for Pilate classes and share their hopes and dreams find that friends can truly be like family when life takes you where you never thought you would be.

Author Susan Mallory is one of those authors that you can count on for a pretty smooth experience.  You will meet characters you wish you were friends with and neighborhoods that you wish you lived in.  That is exactly what I found in The Girls of Mischief Bay.  I wanted to grab my mat and join them at the Pilates studio sharing trials and heartaches and knowing they were safe to share.

When I think of Susan Mallory I think “beach read”.  My definition of a beach read is a good solid read that is not over the top with hard topics or twists and turns that cause frown lines in the sun.  A beach read is a book that is kind to your soul and you usually meet characters you would like to be friends with.

The Girls of Mischief Bay turned out to be just an ok read for me.  While I liked the characters well enough and enjoyed the story line it never really wowed me in any way.  Problems arose, and then they were solved.  No more really than a bump in the road.  It is a good book on the power of friendships and much the same plots that you tend to find… guy troubles.

Narrated by Tanya Ebby, I did enjoy the flow of the words.  While I found the audio “listen worthy”, this is the start of a new series by Susan Mallery and I do not feel I connected enough with the book to continue on with whatever comes next.  (not to say it could not happen… I have done stranger things).

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 10 hours and 23 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: February 24, 2015

 

The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer

The Guest Cottage, Nancy Thayer, Book Journey,

Sophie Anderson is dumbstruck when her husband Zach of 16 years comes home and announces he wants a divorce.  He has fallen for his younger and attractive co-worker and feels that Sophie should have known it was coming, after all, she really is more about their two children than she is about Zach.

Is that true?

Zach decides it is best if he moves in with his lover right away and give Sophie the summer to prepare for the divorce.  Sophie totally blindsided needs to get away with the children and have time to think.  She rents a house on Nantucket from a friend for two months.

Trevor Black is dumbfounded on what to do with his 5-year-old son Dylan.  After the sudden loss of Trevor’s wife, Dylan has taken up habits that concern Trevor.  When a friend offers him a chance to stay a couple of months in a home on Nantucket Trevor thinks that may be just the break he needs and time alone with Dylan to help him through the loss.

Turns out, Trevor’s friend is a relative of Sophie’s friend and they have double booked the Nantucket home by accident.

When Sophie and Trevor discover the dilemma they decide that the house is big enough for the two families to both stay, after all neither wants to give up this much-needed break. Sophie and her two children will take one wing of the home and Trevor and Dylan the other.  They agree to try this for a week and see how it goes.

 

 

 

 

I really enjoyed The Guest Cottage.  Yes it was predictable.  Yes some things were a little too convenient.  Perhaps a little too much was put on the age difference between Sophie and Trevor (she was 36 and he was 30 and it is brought up A LOT by Sophie, event referring to herself as “almost 40″.. I can guarantee you when I was 36 I never once said that I was almost 40. ; ) I don’t care I liked it anyway.

Nantucket in literature seems to be the backdrop for many a lovely summer read.  I admit I am a sucker for those “have to get away” books and the characters land in a sweet rental or back in their home town.  I liked Sophie and enjoyed the easiness of the read.  I listened to this on audio and narrator Janet Metzger had a good voice for most of the characters (the children’s voices were sweet), however by the end of the audio I picked up on Trevor having an accent I had not heard earlier.  It could have been me.

Recommended for good summer reading or listening.

 

 

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 10 hours and 41 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: May 12, 2015

 

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