Don’t Try to Find Me by Holly Brown (Audiobook)

July 21st, 2014

Don't Try to Find MeDon’t Try to Find Me by Holly Brown highlights a parents worst nightmare; that of a missing child.  When Rachel drops her fourteen-year-old daughter Marley off at school one morning she certainly doesn’t expect to come home to find Marley gone and a note from her saying don’t try to find me.  Yet Marley is indeed gone and it is quickly determined that she got on a bus and left … but to where?  Rachel can’t believe that Marley would run away.  She’s just not that kind of girl but as Rachel starts digging into Marley’s life a little more she soon realizes her daughter may have been having a lot of things going on that may have made her unhappy enough to leave.  It also becomes apparent that the police aren’t going to be a lot of help so instead Rachel and her husband launch a media campaign in an effort to find her.  Unfortunately this goes awry and suspicion soon falls on Rachel.

As for Marley her story is only too real.  She meets a guy online on Facebook.  He says he’s friends with one of her friends and they start talking.  Soon enough Marley is sharing everything with him and they begin plotting her escape from her parents and her life.  When this guy picks her up though she begins to notice a few things about him that aren’t as he had portrayed and she starts getting more and more suspicious of him.  When things begin to get even crazier Marley realizes that she may have made one of the biggest mistakes of her life… but is it too late?  This story is one we hear of a lot nowadays.  So many kids are lured away on the internet and it’s downright scary.  Add to that a family life that isn’t as it should be and you have a recipe for disaster.  Marley’s parents were so involved in themselves that they weren’t taking the time to notice what may have been going on in their daughter’s life.  Take one insecure girl and a creep and that’s another recipe for disaster.

I enjoyed this book.  I listened to the audiobook which is narrated by Hillary Huber, Angela Goethals, and James Fouhey and I really think they added to my enjoyment of the book in bringing fear, defeat, anxiety, tension – so many emotions to each and every scene in the book.  My only complaint of the story is that, to me, Marley did not seem to act as I think a fourteen-year-old would.  She seemed much too mature for her age and that at times had me disbelieving some parts of the story.  Overall though I really liked it and I was hooked on the audiobook for sure.

Recommended for those who enjoy stories of family and marital dysfunction as well as books that deal with the dangers of the internet and teens.

 

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Source: Digital review copy provided by the publisher. Audiobook from my personal library. No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are my own.

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Mozart’s Wife by Juliet Waldron & Giveaway (Rafflecopter-US only)

June 23rd, 2014

mozartMozart’s Wife by Juliet Waldron is a brilliant novel that weaves fact with fiction in the telling of what life with Mozart was like from his wife’s point of view. This novel is rich in historical detail and is one of those books to savor, not rush through. The writing is eloquent and the story intriguing. I listened to the audiobook which is narrated by Celeste Lawson and she does a great job. I think she has the perfect tone of voice for this type of story and for me she just really brought Mozart and Konstanze’s world to life for me.

Konstanze falls in love with Mozart from a young age when he begins courting her sister and when that doesn’t work out she’s secretly happy. In a family of girls Konstanze doesn’t shine as her sisters do so she’s surprised and thrilled when Mozart confesses that he loves her and can’t live without her in his always over dramatic way. They marry and that is really where this story explodes as it delves into the marriage of Konstanze and Mozart which is sometimes happy and sometimes in turmoil.

Life with Mozart is definitely not always an easy one. Mozart is constantly creating his music and spending his time out among the people – especially those with praise for him. Mozart though has a hard time saving any money and whenever he has any he spends it. For Konstanze with the household to maintain and kids to care for this is more often a nightmare than anything else. Many, many times the family is much to close to the poverty line with Mozart lending out money they don’t have.

Mozart was a man who just lived day to day; never planning. As well Mozart seemed to be quite often unfaithful to his wife. While Konstanze didn’t believe it at first soon enough she does and while she scolds him for his philandering ways she certainly never leaves him for it. More often than not though she finds herself pregnant and with having troubled births and children passing from disease childbirth has turned into something to be feared for her.

The research that went into this novel shines through on every page. I didn’t know anything about Mozart apart from his music before reading this book and I really appreciate the knowledge I’ve gained through this reading. More than that it is always interesting to see the lives of the people behind the one who is famous. It is because of Konstanze that Mozart’s music is still as popular today as it was then because she made sure it would be. Despite the troubles in her marriage she loved her husband and I found her a fascinating character to read about.

For readers of historical fiction Mozart’s Wife is an excellent choice and one I enjoyed a great deal!

 

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Source: Audiobook from my personal library. No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are my own.

The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee & Giveaway (US only)

June 20th, 2014

glass kitchenThe Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee is a beautiful novel that I loved immensely from the very first page to the last. A novel of food, family, and love, The Glass Kitchen is not to be missed!

Portia, the youngest of three sisters, has had a rough go of things. Having her husband cheat with her best friend and then divorce her Portia decides to get out of Texas and head back to New York to live in an apartment that she had inherited from her great aunt. Portia is a bit different in that she really has a kind of mystical relationship with food. She can, quite often, intuitively know things about people or prepare food for reasons she doesn’t know at the moment she’s making them but it becomes clear to her soon enough. This ‘knowing’ was inherited along with her love of food and cooking from her grandmother and for that reason she wants to one day open another Glass Kitchen restaurant just as her grandmother had. It’s a long road though to get there especially when you’re broke.

Moving into her garden apartment she meets her upstairs neighbor Gabriel and feels an instant jolt of attraction. Gabriel, a successful businessman, is struggling to raise his two daughters, Ariel and Miranda, after his wife’s death. Ariel and Portia form an instant bond but things are much harder with Miranda who is angry at everything. All the while Portia keeps trying to deny her attraction to Gabriel. Will Portia and Gabriel recognize the love swirling around them? Will The Glass Kitchen ever open again?  Will Portia finally rediscover herself and her passion for life and seize the second chance she’s been given?

I don’t want to give away any of the plot so that’s all I’ll say but there is a lot going on in this novel to keep the reader turning the pages ever faster. This is one of those books where a lot of the characters grab your heart and hold on but my favorites were Portia and Ariel. Portia just wanted to be loved for who she was. She was tired of hiding the ‘knowing’ in order for someone to love her. Ariel was just a great kid who was really struggling with the loss of her mother. Add to that a few heavy family secrets and it’s a bit of a recipe for disaster. Ariel was funny though and much smarter than any kid has a right to be but she certainly knew what she wanted.

The Glass Kitchen really evokes ages old thoughts on food though – how it comforts and soothes us when we’re sad, how it brings people together and makes us happy and most importantly the memories that it can bring back to us of those special times in our lives.

I listened to the audiobook version of the book narrated by Julia Whelan who does a fabulous job of bringing this story alive. She has quite the talent with voices and emotion and she just made it a really great listening experience for me.

The Glass Kitchen not only has a gorgeous cover but is a novel is full of characters who will warm your heart and food that will cause your mouth to water. I devoured it. Highly recommended!

 

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Source: Digital review copy provided by the publisher however audiobook copy from my personal library.  No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are my own.

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

June 18th, 2014

Elizabeth is MissingElizabeth is Missing is the debut novel of Emma Healey and what a debut it is! Elizabeth is Missing is a page turner for sure being unique in that it is psychologically suspenseful but moving and emotional at the same time. It captured my interest from the very first page and held it there to the very end!

Our main character Maud is in her eighties and suffering dementia. Maud lives alone but her daughter Helen visits often and she has care givers but as the dementia progresses this is likely to change. For now Maud writes everything down to remind her of things she really needs to remember like not buying yet another can of peaches but many of her notes remind her yet again that her friend Elizabeth is missing. Maud can’t seem to convince anyone that this is a problem and Helen just keeps telling her that Elizabeth isn’t missing but Maud knows this isn’t true because she’s not at her house when she goes there.

Of all the things Maud can’t remember anymore including many times not recognizing her own daughter and granddaughter the one thing dominant in her mind is that Elizabeth is missing and Maud needs to find out where she’s gone. Elizabeth was the one person who still made her comfortable with who she was becoming and that made her even more determined to find her. As she sets out to find Elizabeth Maud’s memories drift back to the past when she was young and her sister Sukey disappeared. In the beginning it seems unlikely that these two separate stories have anything to do with one another but as the end draws near they intertwine and all becomes much clearer. To say anymore would give away the plot of this story and I just can’t do that to anyone wanting to read it because it is so worth reading for yourself!

Maud is one of those characters that I won’t soon forget. I think it was her vulnerability in the face of a disease that is taking away all that is important to her that touched me deeply. There is a dark humor to this book as many times the things Maud would say or do would be amusing but in reality they aren’t. They are being caused by a devastating disease that takes life from so many people.

I listened to the audiobook version of Elizabeth is Missing and it is a great audio narrated by Anna Bentinck. She does a fabulous job of portraying Maud and her ever decreasing memory. You could feel Maud’s confusion and frustration with her memory through the narration and that’s the sign of a great reader.

Elizabeth is Missing is for those who enjoy women’s fiction with the hint of a thriller and would be a perfect choice for a book club pick. Highly recommended!

 

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Source:  Digital review copy was provided by the publisher however the audiobook copy is from my personal library.  No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are my own.
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