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

 

 

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

 

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
  • Audible.com 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.

Right?

 

 

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
  • Audible.com 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
  • Audible.com Release Date: March 22, 2016

 

The Total Package by Stephanie Evanovich

stephanie evanovich, book journey, the total package

Tyson Palmer has the world by the tail.   He has a winning arm, a promising football career, and is on track for that Super Bowl ring.  And then, with an addiction to alcohol and pain killers and a night that throws his marriage and career  away…

Tyson is at rock bottom.

Then, the owner of the Austin Mavericks makes Tyson an offer he can not refuse, he will be sent to a private rehab, get cleaned up of all his addictions, then go to a personal trainer to get him back on his game and make the come back of a lifetime as a Maverick player bringing them to the Super Bowl.  Tyson has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

When Tyson Palmer emerges back on his game, he is in the best shape of his life both mentally and physically.  He is determined to make the best of what he has been given.  Yet a blast from the past has the potential of derailing everything.  Dani Carr is a top reporter and working her way into playing with the big boys.  She also knows Tyson a little too well from a night of passion back in College where he left her without so much as a word before daybreak the next morning.  Now forced to work together, Tyson has to admit Dani looks better than ever, and Dani has to keep her guard up and keep her eye on her journalistic goals.

 

 

I do enjoy a good Stephanie Evanovich read so I jumped at the chance to read this one.  When I read the synopsis I was at first thinking it all sounded a little predictable, of course I thought, Tyson and Dani will wind up together and this book is just about the how.  I was thrilled to discover there was more meat to this read than I had initially anticipated.

The Total Package, really was just that, the total package.  Tyson is an interesting protagonist and I enjoyed the detailed process of his come back. I even may have learned a little about football. Dani was a bit back and forth and confused me when one thing was said and then it changed but honestly, Tyson was written so well that I can overlook that – and in the end…

well.  You are just going to have to read it.  Let me just say….. Winner Winner – chicken and brown rice dinner!

UPDATE:  A little update to my post as I see comments are thinking that this author is the author of the Stephanie Plum books…. one for the money, etc….  Stephanie Evanovich is being mistaken for Janet Evanovich (the more well known of the Evanovich’s).  Janet is actually  Stephanie’s Aunt — as Janet is married to Stephanie’s father’s brother.

Hope that helps 🙂  While I have read both authors, I have not read Janet Evanovich’s books for years and Stephanie has a different writing style which I found that I personally prefer.

 

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (March 15, 2016)

 

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
 
Author Links: Website and Facebook
I enjoyed going through rehab with Tyson thanks to TLC Book Tours!
TLC Host

 

 

Lucky Me by Saba Kapur

lucky me, sabu kapur, book journey

Eighteen year old Gia Winters really could be defined as having it all.  She lives in a beautiful Hollywood home, has a movie star father and an ex-playboy bunny for a mother.  Her closet is stocked with high-end clothing and shoes and she will be graduating soon from her prestige High School.

Yet when Gia’s father receives a disturbing envelope in the mail everything changes.  Suddenly Gia and her brother Mike have body guards to be by their side 24/7.  And while Jake, Gia’s bodyguard is in his early 20’s and is definitely easy on the eyes, he puts a large cramp in Gia’s style.  On top of it all, they have to keep the whole body-guard thing a secret, so Jake is introduced at school as a family friend who has come to stay with them; something that does not sit well at all with Gia’s boyfriend Branden.

Then Gia starts receiving the mysterious texts and eventually phone calls…. someones says they are watching her and they do seem to know a lot about who she is with and where she will be.  When Gia is asked to be a host at the Golden Globes she is thrilled; but is she making herself an easy target for the creepy stalker who has said in not so many words that he will be at the Globes event and that he will be getting his revenge.

Revenge? 

For what?

 

 

This is one of those books that I don’t think I would normally pick up.  It’s a little YA meets Valley girl…. it’s lite and fun and about rich kids and their families….. but what sold me on this one is the witty dialogue that runs throughout this entire book.  Saba Kapur writes in a way that makes me smile and she had me from the synopsis.  And just the starting paragraph of this book let me know that I was in for something a little different, but I was pretty sure I was going to like it:

There comes a point in everyone’s life where you need to step back and consider the hand you have been dealt.  I’m not going to lie to you; some people have it way easier.  I am not going to sit back and tell you the world is fair, because truthfully, you’s laugh your head off and throw a drink in my face.  I guess it probably won’t hep to mention that I’m someone who has it fairly good in the luck department.  At least I suppose that is what you would call someone who’s been born and raised in a world of glitz and glamour.  Lucky.  So before you go and complain about how I’ve got it all, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

 

This book seriously was a joy to read.  Protagonist Gia is witty and funny.  The dialogue is amazing in this book and I have to hand it to author Saba Kapur who has written this book at the age of twenty and is releasing this as her first novel.  I enjoyed getting to know Gia very much.  The playful banter between her and Jack is a lot of fun to read…. add Milo to the mix and well…. yeah.  Even better.   At moments I felt a few vibes from the movies Clueless and Legally Blonde…. but also a sense of a younger Janet Evanovich series….  (I think it is the whole Jake, Milo scenario…. it felt like rooting for Morelli or Ranger)

Admittedly there are several moments that I had to suspend belief while reading this book.  There were times I though “that could not happen”, but all in all I really enjoyed reading this fun lite book and reality be dammed; I enjoyed it. I read this book in two days curious about what was going to happen.  I had a hard time putting it down.

I recommend giving this book a try.  I for one will be curious as to what this young author comes up with next.  I would not mind seeing some of these characters revisited.

 

A little Author Q and A

  1. What inspired you to write Lucky Me? Where were you when the idea came to you? When did you decide to write it?11

The idea for Lucky Me actually came to me in the shower! I was in tenth grade, and had been spending a lot of time in the library. High school drama was at its peak, and I found my solace among books. I think that’s where most of my urge to write came from. This idea just popped into my head and I typed up a rough first chapter, and decided to continue from there. I never wrote it with the intention of having it published; it was initially just a hobby. The idea for the book developed from various places. I had noticed that, particularly among my generation, the focus on young celebrities was growing in Hollywood, which really intrigued me. I wanted to write something that was funny but also had an element of mystery, as those are my favorite kinds of books to read.

 

2.  How did your love for fashion influence the characters and story?
Fashion is something that I’ve always been interested in, and because of the setting of the novel, it was easy to incorporate it throughout the book. There is no singular definition of fashion, and I love that it’s so subjective and fluid, because it allows you so much opportunity for fun and creativity. I tried to integrate this sentiment into Gia’s personality, but of course tailored (no pun intended) to suit her lifestyle. The importance of looking good is extremely influential among my generation, especially with young celebrities as role models. I felt that Gia would be incomplete or inauthentic without including her love for fashion

 

3. Did you base Gia’s character off of anyone in particular?
Gia is a product of many influences. I tried to develop her as a combination of some of real-life celebrities and my favorite female characters, taking a few personality traits from each one. Gia definitely has elements of Cher Horowtiz (from one of my favorite movies, Clueless) with her love for fashion, and Blair Waldorf (from the books and TV show, Gossip Girl) who I spent most of high school pretending to be! In reality, Gia is really a heightened depiction of my own personality. We are different in so many ways (namely, I don’t make as many poor life choices and do not own a single pair of Louboutins). But we are very similar through our sarcastic and witty personalities. Gia also shares my love for Audrey Hepburn, who I have idolized ever since watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s, in seventh grade.

 

4. What authors do you look up to and why?
This may sound a little clichéd, but I try to learn something from every book I read. If there’s a particular writing style I like, I try to incorporate it into my own writing. I have such respect for so many authors, particularly those who write in my preferred genre, such as Meg Cabot, Janet Evanovich and Sophie Kinsella. They have completely mastered the art of mystery, humor and romance.

 

5. What are your favorite books? In what ways have they influenced your writing?
It’s a little ironic that I couldn’t even get through a novel without giving up out of boredom, until about sixth grade. I truly owe J.K. Rowling a lot, as Harry Potter was probably the first series of books that I decided were just too good to give up on. Janet Evanovich, Meg Cabot and Sophie Kinsella are the authors who have had most influence over shaping my writing style. Every time I read one of their novels, it really motivates me to make my writing as endearing as theirs. That being said, my favorite book of all time is The Godfather, by Mario Puzo. It’s my father’s favorite book, so it’s extra special to me that we can share our appreciation for the story.

 

 

  • Paperback: 446 pages
  • Publisher: Amberjack Publishing (April 5, 2016)