Nora Webster by Colm Toibin is an emotional and beautiful story and one of those novels to savor word by word and page by page. Toibin’s lyrical writing is beautiful and even more amazing to listen to as I did. The audio version of Nora Webster is narrated by Fiona Shaw who is such a pleasure to listen to. She takes on the voices and personalities of her characters and really draws the listener into the story. She does a fantastic job and I look forward to listening to her again.
Set in the 1960’s in a small town in Ireland this is the story of Nora Webster who is suddenly widowed at the age of 40. It is the story of her struggle with her grief, her children, her worries of how to support them, and most of all of how to move on with her life with her husband gone.
For Nora, Maurice was her everything. After supporting him through a long illness and losing him Nora is emotionally worn out. Her well meaning neighbors are driving her crazy and she just wants them all to go away already and stop with their never ending barrage of questions. Even worse though is she can’t seem to see past her own grief to see how much her children are suffering from the loss of their father. Slowly Nora begins to emerge from her grief and depression to begin living again and this story is her journey to get there.
Nora isn’t a character I connected with although that doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book. I found her to be selfish and much too concerned with herself. Yes she lost her husband but she had four children and that should have been her focus. Still I admired her for eventually pulling herself out of the depths of her depression to make a life for herself and her children.
This isn’t a fast paced story. It slowly unfolds as does the awakening of Nora’s true self. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much in print as I did in audio. With the narrator’s smooth and flowing voice this emotional novel was a great listening experience for me.
Recommended for fans of literary fiction.
Source: Audiobook provided by the publisher for an honest review. No compensation was received.
I’ll start right off by saying that The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde will be one of my favorite books of 2014 – I loved it, especially the audio version! It is narrated by two of my favorite narrators – Kate Rudd and Laural Merlington who I adore and they do such an amazing job of bringing these characters and this story to life. The Language of Hoofbeats is a beautiful story of love and hope and how both of those things can mend a broken spirit.
Jackie and Paula have just moved to a small town with their adopted son Quinn and two teen foster kids Mondo and Star who has several issues. It isn’t long before they get a rude introduction to their neighbor Clementine who very much disapproves of the lifestyle they are living. Things are made worse by Star who notices that the horse that Clementine owns isn’t being properly cared for or taken out to run. Needless to say Clementine resents Star and the bond she shares with the horse with a passion and forbids Star from even going on her property. Star, being the troubled teen that she is, takes it upon herself to run off with the horse believing it’s the best thing for Comet. In turn Jackie, Paula, and Clementine are thrown together and as time goes on they all have to confront the past and present in order to move on meanwhile learning that you never really know what lies behind a person’s harsh personality and that sometimes love and understanding go a long way to healing that person.
I couldn’t say enough good things about this book to fit in my review. I loved the characters. Jackie and Paula are a wonderful couple who work so well together to give their kids a good home. The kids were awesome especially Quinn who seemed so sweet and vulnerable. I even liked Clementine no matter how nasty she got. I actually found her amusing at times and what I liked most about her was her willingness to finally look inside herself and open up to the world beyond her own little house. The novel itself is an emotional and beautifully told story that captured my heart. I could feel the turmoil of these characters and most of all I could see myself having them in my life – that’s how real they seemed to me. It’s simply a brilliant story that I enjoyed so very much!
There are some novels that stay with you, in your heart and mind – The Language of Hoofbeats is one of those novels for me. Highly recommended!
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Source: Digital review copy was received by the publisher for an honest review. Audiobook personal copy. No compensation was received.
Noah’s Wife by T.K. Thorne is an epic journey through one woman’s life that captivates the reader from the very first page. One thing I’d like to say is that this is not a Bible based story. It is a biblical novel in that Noah is one of our characters but it is more about the fictional tale of the life his wife might have had, keeping in mind that absolutely nothing is known of Noah’s wife in the bible. T.K. Thorne has built an amazing world with memorable characters and a story not soon forgotten.
Na’amah’s only wish in life is to be a shepherdess in the hills of Turkey. It is where she feels most comfortable and free. Na’amah doesn’t fit in with her people as she has Aspergers although that wasn’t known at that time in history. As with most women of that time Na’amah’s life wasn’t her own as she battled with understanding why her brother hated her while also being blessed with the love of two men. However Na’amah’s path to a peaceful life is a rocky one. She endures a disturbing incident that causes her to run away from all she’s ever known and in doing that she gets kidnapped. This really is the beginning of Na’amah’s journey to learning about herself and awakening to her world. The journey brings to light the separation of people in worshiping either Father God or Mother Goddess and I found it all very fascinating.
Na’amah is a wonderful character. Despite the challenges she has with her illness she still possesses a great strength within her and many gifts she struggles to understand. The relationship with her best friend Yanner who loved her was a beautiful one as was her life with Noah. One of my favorite characters was Na’amah’s grandmother Savta. Though she was a woman she still had a voice and she protected Na’amah with her life. I finished this book days ago and the characters are still alive in mind – that’s when I know I’ve read something memorable.
Noah’s Wife is a beautifully written novel and so well researched. The author did a wonderful job of bringing this time and place alive for her readers. I listened to the audiobook which was narrated by Melissa Carey and I thought she did a really good job. At first I wasn’t so sure about her for the telling of this story but it wasn’t long until I realized she was just perfect for it. Noah’s Wife is a novel that I enjoyed a great deal and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend!
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Source: Review copy provided by the author for an honest review. No compensation was received.
Just in time for Halloween we are treated to Nightmares! by Jason Segel, actor, writer, and musician, and best selling author Kirsten Miller and it is fabulous! I listened to the audiobook which is narrated by Jason Segel and he does such a great job. It is a great audio production and I’ll tell you I couldn’t stand putting this one aside for nothing. Thank goodness with audiobooks you can do all your work while still listening! This is a middle grade book rated for ages 8-12 but I’m a whole lot older than that and I thoroughly enjoyed it although I have to say that I think it would be such a great book to sit and listen to with your children. It would be great fun!
Charlie hasn’t had an easy go of things so far in his life. He lost his mother and now has an evil stepmother Charlotte who he is sure is a witch and he’s having a hard time dealing with it all. To top it off he keeps having these horrible nightmares; nightmares so bad that Charlie has resorted to drinking lots of coffee just to stay awake. His nightmares are so real… could it be that they actually are real? Between living in Charlotte’s scary purple mansion and the new principle that has just arrived at Charlie’s school his nightmares become worse – so much so that they begin to invade his daylight hours as well and it’s not only Charlie having issues but many of his schoolmates as well. Charlie and his friends are thrust into a world of nightmares complete with all kinds of monsters and things become even scarier when their nightmares begin to become a reality.
Even though this book is called Nightmares! it’s not all about being so scary that it will be disturbing for your kids. Not at all actually. It’s laced with a lot of humor and many good life lessons that will be great for the kids. Nightmares! is about facing your fears and overcoming them. It’s also about loyalty to your friends and family. These are invaluable lessons for kids and especially for kids who may be having issues facing their own fears. Nightmares! is the first in a planned trilogy and I can’t wait to see what the next book will hold for all of us fans of this one!
As for the audiobook of Nightmares! I have to say that Jason Segel really brought this story alive for me. He is such a terrific narrator and all of the different voices and emotions that he puts into his reading make it all the better. This truly is a great audio to enjoy with your kids and really the whole family at any time but Halloween is really the perfect time to put a little creepiness into your reading!
Highly, highly recommended!