The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand

There are some constants in life that you can cause you to breathe a little easier because you know they are there.. or they are coming.  Elin Hildebrand’s book releases are on of these constants.  She is consistently good in her writing, and consistent in putting out a book a year just as I am craving a little of that Nantucket sand between my toes.  ~Sheila

 

Harper Frost is that laid back girl next door with a beer chaser.   She has her own style and it is casual.  She doesn’t care what anyone thinks.  She tends to leap… and suffer the consequences later.  She is typically in between jobs and that is ok.

Tabitha Frost is dignified.  She wear only designer clothes and is much like her fashion icon mother, Eleanor Roxie Frost.  Appearance – is everything.  Tabitha’s teenage daughter Ainsley, begs to differ.  She is abrasive to her mother in full on teen rebellion…  what she needs, well what she needs is a dose of Harper – Tabitha’s identical twin.

The sisters, have lived on islands 11 miles apart yet have not connected in over a decade.  As their lives are splintering, the twins call a truce to see what they can do to fix things before it is all too late.  By switching places can they repair the damage done by lies, deception and gossip?  And is there any hope that what threw the sisters apart all those years ago can be repaired?

MMMMM  I love me some Hilderbrand.  Her books tend to be of the Nantucket persuasion which I love.  A little of knowing what you are going to get, at least setting wise… but there is so much more.

Harper and Tabitha are well-developed characters and I enjoyed this story line so much.  Hilderbrand does a nice job of fully developing the story lines of their worlds separately as well as together.  I love love LOVED Eleanor.  If you have not tried Elin Hilderbrand, I recommend highly that you do.  There are some delightful laugh out loud moments here, as well as a wonderful story of sibling rivalry, family secrets, and well.. basically a typical family trying to make it work.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

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Sam and Clementine would define their life as full and satisfying.  They have two beautiful little girls and a life that works for them.  Sam is just starting a new job and Clementine is rehearsing for a cellist position that would be the job offer of a lifetime.

Erika is Clementines oldest friend dating back to grade school.  The two know each other so well, but if Clementine were honest… she isn’t always sure why she is Erika’s friend.  The start of their friendship still seeming a bit forced on her…..

When a barbecue invite by neighbors comes to Sam and Clementine as well as Erika and her husband, Clementine think s it is a brilliant idea.  After all the neighbors Vid and Tiffany are larger than life people who know how to entertain.  It might just be fun to get everyone together.

Two months later Sam and Clementine can barely stand to be in the same room together.  They both question everything….  and they mostly question….  what if they hadn’t gone to the barbecue?

 

I love me some Liane Moriarty.  I can add that I especially love her books on audio – they are a treat to listen to and this one was exceptional.  Narrator Caroline Lee nails it with the fun diverse personalities and voices of the characters of Truly, Madly, Guilty.  (You are going to LOVE Vid!).  The enticing way she made her way through his book just added to my enjoyment of the story line.

Secrets kept, false truths… and all through the book as the tale unwinds I kept asking, “What the heck happened at that BBQ?”  This book really does cover the choices we make can alter our worlds forever.

Thoroughly enjoyed.

 

  • 7aListening Length: 17 hours and 27 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: July 26, 2016

 

First Women by Kate Andersen Brower and Narrated by Karen White

first women, kate andersen brower, karen white, narration, audio, book journey

 

If you think the President has a tough job, imagine being the First Lady!  From uprooting your children from their homes, schools, friends, to be in the very public eye;  to letting go of any sense of privacy, the ability to go shopping/drive for yourself, or even take a nice quiet walk in a park.  You are “on” 24/7 standing next to your husband supporting his decisions (both good and bad), being scrutinized by the public for the way you dress, talk, your weight, your habits, and your contributions to the world at large.  You run a staff in the White House and are in charge of decorating and planning White House events.

First Women takes you up close and personal to witness Michelle Obama’s desire to leave the White House as soon as possible hating the constant over attention and lack of any private life.  Lady Bird Johnson’s struggles, Patricia Nixon’s ability to hold her head high, Jacqueline Kennedy’s marriage and heartbreak, Rosalyn Carter removing all alcohol from the White House, Nancy Reagan’s refusal to use a paper napkin, Barbara Bush being a part of the White House not only once, but twice with her daughter in law Laura, and Hilary Clinton…. potential to return to the house that blew her personal life up to the public and yet she wants back in.

 

 

 

I absolutely enjoyed Kate Andersen Brower’s book The Residence.  I loved how she gave us an inside look into the inner working of the White House through the staff’s eyes.  I gobbled up every word and was thrilled when I heard she was going to do it again but this time with the focus on First Women to our Presidents.  As someone who values their privacy and down time I can not even imagine a life in the constant spot light.

Karen Andersen Brower once again does an amazing job of sharing with the reader/listener the inner dealings of the First Women of the White House.  If you do listen to this one on audio, know that Karen White (who also narrated The Residence) does an exceptional job of capturing each of these women’s essence through her words.  I listened to this audio from Minnesota to Chicago and thoroughly enjoyed all of it.

Highly recommended to those of us who enjoy great non fiction with interesting facts about people.  I hope that whatever Karen Andersen Brower offers up next includes Karen White’s narration again… enjoy this duo!

I picked up First Women from the Brainerd Public Library

 

 

  • Listening Length: 12 hours and 26 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Harper Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: April 12, 2016

 

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson and Narrated by the author (AUDIE AWARDS)

Furiously happy, book journey, jenny lawson, mental illness, audie awards

In Jenny Lawson’s second book, Jenny again shares a little deeper this time into her journey with mental illness.  In her crazy, funny, unique way Jenny both makes fun of some of the things she comes up with, as well as handles more serious moments woven within this unique tale of taxidermy raccoons,  a cat named Ferris Mewler, the tolerance level of her husband Victor, dreams for a more tolerant understanding world, and more.

 

 

I met Jenny Lawson years ago in New York at the book expo. Honestly, her humor is at times a bit crude and the whole taxidermy discussions freaks me out, but I do appreciate her underlying humor and the message within.  Saying that, while I know I am not her target audience, there are many who are and I applaud her for her unique voice and a unique listen in a world that can create many cookie-cutteresk books and audio.  I think anyone who has listened to Jenny Lawson can attest to the uniqueness!  🙂

There are moments of laughter for sure.  While driving through town and listening to this audio I had to laugh out loud when she talked about taking Smokey The Bear’s Message quite literally…

“Only YOU can prevent forest fires.”

Yikes.  That is a lot of pressure.

I do appreciate Jenny Lawson’s quick whit, I can not deny laugh out loud moments.  As a narrator, she rocks. In a book like this, no one else could narrate Jenny’s story other than Jenny.  She can put just the right emphasis (or not) to each story of her life happenings.  She can use just the right tone, and just the right amount of pause for the listener to catch what was just said.

While I may have passed on this one if not for the audio and Jenny Lawson being up for the Audie Award, I have to say I am glad I did listen to it.  It is that same style of humor you get from her first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, but there is more here – a deeper message that spoke to me a little bit and I think if most of us are honest…. we would say the same.

Well done Jenny.  Keep up the good fight.

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  • Listening Length: 8 hours and 20 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: September 22, 2015

 

 

Texts From Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg and Narrated by Zach Villa and Amy Landon

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What would have changes with our favorite literacy characters if they would have had the ability to text?  Would Scarlett O Hara be texting Ashley furiously about her need that he only have eyes for her?  Would she have an acronym…. “FDD” for Fiddle dee dee?  Would Daisy Buchanan text and drive?  Would Ron be texting Harry about for infuriating Hermione is at the same time he is texting Hermione to see is she wants to go to the Quidditch game with him?

All this and more….

 

 

Texts From Jane Eyre has always held a bit of intrigue for me ever since I first heard about it.  When this audio version came up for an audio award, I decided to go forward and see if it is as good as I hoped it was.

While Texts From Jane Eyre has it’s funny moments, for the most past many of the short conversations did not feel like texts. Another thing to mention is the books they share in their short snippets are books you are unfamiliar with, the humor to the message is lost in translation.  I really wanted to enjoy it more, but unfortunately have to say I was glad it was a short listen.

Now here is when it becomes interesting when talking about the narrators.  The narration was brilliant.  Zach Villa and Amy Landon play off each other smoothly and I imagine they had a lot of fun doing it.  Wonderful job of back and forth and voices… OMG the voices.

I honestly wish I would have liked this one more.  I see by looking at online reviews I am for the most part in the minority.   I think even though it wasn’t for me, it would make a fun gift for the literary lover you know!

 

 

  • Listening Length: 2 hours and 22 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: January 21, 201

 

David Spade is Almost Interesting Narrated by David Spade

david spade, book journey, almost intersting, audio, audie awards

You probably know David Spade best for his time on Saturday Night Live (SNL), movies such as Joe Dirt, Tommy Boy, and Grown Ups, as well as TV shows like Just Shoot Me and Rules of Engagement.

In Almost Interesting David talks about the hard road to breaking into stand up comedy with no money or even a car to his name.  He shares his experiences of making his way on to SNL and working alongside legendary comedy giants such as Chris Farley, Chris Rock, and Adam Sandler.  There are moments of sadness, when David shares of his friendship with Chris Farley, and moments of freakishness, when Eddie Murphy threatens to pound David into the ground and does not talk to him for years, as well as many moments of laughter.

 

 

 

I listened to this audio book because it is up for an Audie Award.  While I am familiar with David Spades work, I am not what you would call a fan.  Still, I do love a good biography/memoir.  I went into this one not expecting much but am happy to admit I was pleasantly surprised.  Other than a few bumps in the narration and occasional long pauses that made me think my battery went out on my audio player, David Spade did a nice job.  One of my favorite parts in the audio is when he shares a joke and he starts to laugh a bit, and I think he cracked himself up.  That was fun and it made the experience feel all the more real, like David was just chatting about his life.

Overall I found this audio book to be engaging.  I really enjoyed the back stage pass to SNL and everything it takes to get on stage and continue to be on stage.  As a fan of Chris Farley’s work, I enjoyed listening to David’s friendship with Chris and how they kidded around together.  David does a great impression of Farley.  I especially found interesting how David got him start and how hard it was to break into the “funny” crowd.

I can see now why it was nominated for an Audie Award.  I have new insight and respect for David Spade having listened to this audio bookarmchairaudies-300x300.

 

 

 

  • Listening Length: 6 hours and 32 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: HarperAudio
  • Audible.com Release Date: October 27, 2015

 

I Wasn’t Strong Like This When I Started Out – True Stories Of Becoming A Nurse by Lee Gutkind, Narrated by Tavia Gilbert

i wasnt strong like this before, lee gutking, tavia gilbert book journey

A collection of true narratives from nurses and their careers.  From their first birth, to their first death – to what they deal with as well as what they see on a day-to-day basis.  Stories that are at times life changing, overstepping boundaries with an AIDS patient, and the nurse who was the only one who showed up at the funeral of one of her patients.

 

 

So this particular listen is both right up my alley – and not.  I do enjoy a good non fiction read.  At the same time I knew this one would be a bit touchy for me on a personal level and I was nervous going into this listen.  While there were moments that hit a little too close to home, this audio was not only doable – but interesting.

This book of short personal stories of these nurses is both enlightening and heartbreaking.  Yes there were moments for me that were harder to listen to than others.  I suspect that would be the case for many in such a read.  When talking about the different things that nurses do and the types of patients they encounter, I suspect it is easy to touch the reader/listener personally in many ways.

Adding to the mix is of course the narration of Tania Gilbert, who I have enjoyed listening to many times and this book was no exception.  Her diversity in the stories is once again a powerful performance and a narrator I always smile abut when I see her name on audio books I wish to listen to.

My overall thoughts are that this is an interesting listen and while I am probably not the best audience for this, I am still glad I had a chance to experience it and get a little insight to what it is really like to live out your career as a nurse.

 

Tavia Gilbert, narrator of I Wasn’t Strong Like This Before is nominated for an Audie Award. armchairaudies-300x300

 

 

  • Written by: Lee Gutkind
  • Narrated by: Tavia Gilbert
  • Length: 8 hrs and 36 mins 
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release Date:08-04-15
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio