Blog Archives

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty


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
  • Release Date: July 26, 2016


The Mind-Gut Connection by Emeran Mayer, MD


Most of us have experienced a feeling of queasiness before walking in to a large meeting or to speak in front of a group.  Or we have had that “gut feeling” when we know something is not right.

What is that?

How does our mind connect to our gut ?  Why is the gut sometimes called “the second brain?


I love this kind of stuff.  I find it fascinating and I am honestly surprised that I have not thought about this before, why does my gut hurt when I have to do something that makes me nervous?

I can not even express how much I enjoyed this.  I learned so much about serotonin (where your gut stores the most) and had no idea that your gut actually has control of your over all well-being.

I enjoyed reading about the connections between what we eat and how our diet affects everything for brain functionality to over all gut feelings.  Literally. I know about diet and healthy habits obviously, but the connection of the mind and gut to the diet was something I liked reading more about.

Over all a thoroughly enjoyable book.  It has been a busy season here for me and I honestly have not had a lot of time to sit down and read. The book did not read over my head.  It is well written and easy to understand.   I was glad to find out this book was interesting, informative and held my attention.



  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Wave (July 5, 2016)
  • Language: English


Thank you to TLC Book Tours for connecting my mind to my gut. 


Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar and Narrated by Kathleen McInerney

louis sachar, fuzzy mud, book journey MG, middle grade, audio, Kathleen McInerney

Seventh grader Marshall Walsh has been walking his neighbor 5th grader Tamaya Dhilwaddi to school ever since elementary.  When a bully by the name of Chad Hilligas forces them off the road home one day both Marshall and Tamaya wind up cutting into the woods in hopes of escaping Chad.  While trying to find their way out of the woods and avoid Chad at the same time, they stumble into an area that has strange mud that appears to have fuzz floating on top.  Little do they know the danger they are all in by being near this mud – but they are about to find out.



You may think that Louis Sachar sounds familiar and you would be right – he is the author of Holes which brings a smile to my face just by saying that title.  Another incredible MG read and movie.

Fuzzy Mud contains Louis’ unique story telling style.  He amazes me how he can pull a subject out of nowhere and create an interesting story within that not only captivates, but contains a lesson as well.  He did it in Holes, and he does it again in Fuzzy Mud.  I loved the story and the parts where the senate and authorities get involved explaining what has happened.  Brilliantly done.

I listened to this on audio on my way home from Chicago.  Kathleen McInerney has a voice that works well in this book.   She can really bring out her inner child and captures Tamaya as well as the other tweens flawlessly.

This is a perfect family audio book for a road trip.  One I think all ages can enjoy, I sure did.


  • Listening Length: 4 hours and 5 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Listening Library
  • Release Date: August 4, 2015



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
  • Release Date: April 12, 2016


Allegiant by Veronica Roth Narrated by Emma Galvin and Aaron Stanford


The final chapters in the Divergent Series….

Tris and Tobias along with a few of the gang we have come to love (or hate), continue to try to make things right.  As the factions are no more, Divergents such as Tris are no longer outcasts, by considered genetically pure.  Tobias who was once a strong leader of the Dauntless is not considered one of the genetically damaged.  As both Tris and Tobias try to make sense of this new world, coming to term with past hurts, family, and what the future holds there is still an underlying plan humming through the city that can once again..

change everything.



I have a funny history with these books.  I loved Divergent and everything is stood for.  I read the follow-up of Insurgent and continued to love the books.  When Allegiant was just a whisper with a release date I pre-ordered the book to read as soon as I could get my hands on it….

and then the buzz began…

about a week before the book released the word was out that the alternating chapters of Tris and Tobias from their point of view was not appealing.  The word on the net was that a golden opportunity with this series was missed and I, I am ashamed to say, caught up with the hype, put the book on my book shelf…


Fast forward to the movies…. I loved the first two movies and seen both in the theater.  Then it came time for Allegiant to come out, and I still had not finished the series.  My rule (occasionally bent) is that I read a book before I see a movie made from it.  So Allegiant was not a movie I seen at the theater.  And then, I found the audio available for download from my library.  Well then….. let’s do this.

My review…

After that LONG lead in, here we go.  This is a good example of why we should not listen to others thoughts on anything and always see for ourselves. I did not mind the alternating chapters at all.  Maybe it flowed better on audio, I do not know as that original book I bought is STILL unread on my shelf.  I enjoyed this final to the series, how the world would work when you think you have fought for freedom that never really comes free.

The narration was wonderful.  LOVED both narrators and I thought that Aaron Stanford was the perfect rough, young, dare I say sexy, voice that was right on for Mathias.  Emma Galvin handled Tris’ character perfectly with just the right tone of self-confidence and intelligence you expect out of Tris.

My over all thoughts – initially I felt the books could have ended with Insurgent.  Now I see why Allegiant was necessary.  It is not the ending I would have wanted…. it is the one it needed to be.



  • Listening Length: 11 hours and 55 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: HarperAudio
  • Release Date: October 22, 2013


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.



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



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
  • Release Date: October 27, 2015


A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman narrated by George Newbern (Recommended by Bookies Book Club)

3a - Copy

Ove is the kind of man most tend to avoid.  He is 59 years old and retired.  He likes things the way he likes them and that is all.  He is a rule follower.  He doesn’t understand people who just can’t mind their own business and for Gods sake.. follow the basic rules.  Most refer to him as a crabby old man and worth avoiding but Ove could care less.  Is he supposed to plaster a stupid smile on his face and pretend that the local idiots are ok?  Ove doesn’t think so.

Then one day new neighbors move in and in the princess of doing so they hit Ove’s mailbox because clearly they have no idea how to back up a U-Haul.  Seriously?   And they are chatty… this family of “The Pregnant One”, the “Lanky One” and their two little ones. What Ove does not expect is how much this family will turn his world around… in surprising ways for all involved.


A Man Called Ove was our book club pick for April.  Having just come off a not-so-delightful read, A Man Called Ove sounded lighthearted and funny and who doesn’t like that?  For myself, I listened to it on audio and enjoyed the narration of George Newbern, a narrator to keep an eye (or ear?) on as he has narrated several audio books I have thoroughly enjoyed.  While I enjoyed this book, and occasionally smiled at the things that Ove would say or do, it was not the funny award-winning read that I had hoped for.  This could be because I may not have been fully engaged when listening to the audio, or it may just not have lived up the hype that I was expecting and that in a nut shell is the problem with hype.  :)  It may have been better not knowing any opinions on the book prior to listening.

My book club, The Bookies, all read the book version.  There was great discussion over the different themes that flow through this book:  depression, self-worth, relationships at all levels, the importance of community…  listening to them share about the book I almost wish I would have read it just for the fact that I think that I may have not been in the right frame of mind for such an audio and missed some things by listening instead of reading in this particular case.

Over all the bookies rated this one in the high 4’s to 5 on our scale of 1-5 on book ratings.  They enjoyed Ove very much and we all discussed the Ove’s we have in our own life.  I actually came in at the lowest rating of a 3, which is not bad.  I found it to be an average read, good but not over the top great.  Perhaps this is one I need to someday read again.

If you read my morning post you seen all the delightful food we had centered around this book.  We tried a few Swedish recipes.  I made a sausage and potato hot dish as Ove liked to eat that dish every day.   Oh… Ove. 🙂


Why A Man Called Ove makes for a good book club book:

The book lends itself to many topics that are discussion worthy…. relationships, generations, suicide, depression, aging…

As I mentioned, most of us know an “Ove”, someone set in their ways and see things as black and white and never gray.  Talk about your “Ove”.  How do you relate to this person?  Do you see underneath the hard structure?

The Swedish background allows for some creative food to go with your discussion.  There is a lot of food and drink mentioned within this book and experiencing this as a group is fun.

Several movies come to mind when you are discussing AMCO.  Consider watching one of these movies with your book group… Grumpy Old Men, Gran Torino, About Schmidt, As Good As It Gets…



  • Listening Length: 9 hours and 9 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC
  • Release Date: August 5, 2014



No One Knows by J T Ellison (Otherwise Known As Gone Boy ;) )

no one knows, j t ellison, book journey, review, audio

It has been five years since Aubrey’s husband disappeared.  Five long years of wondering what happened that night at the bachelor party when Josh was going to meet Aubrey in the bar and never showed up.  There were signs that pointed to the real possibility of Josh being murdered, but why?  Josh was one of the good guys, working hard to provide a wonderful life for himself and Aubrey, always doing the right thing.  Five years have gone by and the state of Tennessee has declared Josh officially dead.  Aubrey can now move on.




Much like how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, what draws me to this kind of read the world (and I) may never know.  I was at first drawn to the cover… seriously….look at it.  It’s beautiful. Mysterious.  I wanted to know more.  Then the synopsis… what happened?  How do you just disappear?

No One Knows gave me the happy vibes of Gone Girl, except in this case… it is Gone Boy.  Josh is gone, and through a series of flash backs you learn a lot about both Josh and Aubrey as they grew up, what their lives were like, how they met, and what they were like as a couple.  Carefully woven together with a whip smart pen, author J T Ellison creates mysteries woven within mysteries… a bread crumb trail of clues leading up to what really did happen the day that Josh was gone.

I listened to this on audio, narrated by Terri Schnaubelt and Nich Podehl who together, grasp the emotional wave of this book firmly and they do not let the listener go until the end.  Well read.

I really enjoyed this listen. Nothing was predictable and I had moments of “Wait!  WHAT?” as everything comes to a thrilling close…..



  • Listening Length: 12 hours and 9 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Release Date: March 22, 2016


Fool Me Once By Harlan Coben Narrated by January Lavoy

harlan coben, fool me once, book journey,

As a one time Special Ops Pilot, Maya is doing the best she can since the brutal murder of her husband  Joe two weeks prior.  When a friend offers her a nanny cam disguised as a digital photo frame to keep an eye on her 2-year-old daughter to help Maya’s peace of mind, Maya feels it is unnecessary but accepts the gift.  When Maya watches the recording on the cam one day she sees something that sends chills through her bones….  she sees her daughter playing and laughing with a man; but not just any man.  She sees her daughter playing with her deceased husband.



I am a big fan of Harlan Coben and have read every book he has written.  I was so excited to see Fool Me Once as I was scrolling through audio books to choose from.  Harlan is always good for a thriller that is never over the top and has always left me waiting for the next one.

I enjoyed Fool Me Once, narrated by January Lavoy who I have enjoyed listening to before.  Her amazing voice at moments made she smile, she has such a grasp on what the story is and takes such ownership in it you can hear the moments of panic, fear, and joy in the characters.

Once again I applaud Harlan Coben for creating a great thriller that had me guessing to the end, and still shocked me.

What’s next Harlan?  What is next?



  • Listening Length: 10 hours and 5 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Release Date: March 22, 2016