Impossible Odds is written by Jessica Buchanan, Erik Landemalm, and Anthony Flacco. I listened to the audiobook version narrated by Anthony Flacco, Candace Thaxton, and George Newbern. This is the memoir of Jessica Buchanan that tells of her kidnapping by an organized band of Somali land pirates and held for ransom. She was held for three months before she was rescued by the Navy SEALS.
In 2006 Jessica’s only dream was to teach African children and that’s her intention when she arrives in Nairobi, Kenya. Later in 2009 she meets Erik Landemalm who worked to provide aid to those in Africa, they marry and then move to Somalia to start their lives together and hopefully have a family. Neither could have imagined how much their lives would change in just a few short years.
On October 25, 2011 Jessica along with her colleague Poul were kidnapped at gunpoint by the Somali pirates. For an agonizing three months Jessica lived in conditions we can’t imagine and was kept on a starvation diet. It wasn’t long before her health began deteriorating at a rapid rate. Every day of those three months Jessiva lived in terror of being raped or dying, either from sickness or at the hands of the Somali pirates. With negotiations for ransom not going well the Somali’s were becoming increasingly antagonized.
After ninety-three days and Jessica’s health becoming a matter of life or death President Obama ordered Navy SEAL Team Six to attempt a rescues and on January 25, 2012 they did just that. They came in under compete darkness, attacked the camp, killed the pirates, and air lifted both Jessica and Poul out.
Impossible Odds is an incredible memoir to listen to. While I would have been horrified reading about it I felt it even more listening to it and the narrators did the story justice by telling it so well. The story alternates between Jessica’s story and then Erik’s struggles and I’m amazed at them both for sharing this story and I hope in some way it was a healing experience for them both. For myself I can’t ever imagine living through something like that and I have the utmost respect for Jessica and her strength for having gone through this ordeal and come out on the other side against Impossible Odds.
I recommend this audiobook or paper book for those who prefer if you like memoirs. I found it to be a book I didn’t want to quit listening to and even though I knew the outcome I was still held enthralled throughout. It gives a person hope in miracles and new beginnings!
Source: Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.
Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin is an audiobook that completely blew me away. This is an amazing novel that deals with some serious issues and does it in such a way as to totally immerse the reader in the characters emotions and lives. The audiobook production of this book is narrated by the author Abigail Tarttelin as well as a host of others: Christian Coulson, James Langton, Keith Nobbs, Kate Reading, and Anita Sabherwal. I’m pretty sure I would have loved this book in print as well but these narrators did such a great job of really bringing these characters and this story to life for me.
Max is a golden boy. He has everything going for him. He’s good looking, smart, has lots of friends, loves sports, and the girls flock around him. His family is prominent in the neighborhood with his mother being a criminal lawyer and his father running for Parliament. Even Maxs’ little brother Daniel adores him. Yet this family has something hanging over them. A huge secret that they’ve been keeping for years and that is that Max is intersex.
Max has never really had a problem with being the way he is. He has lived life as a boy and is happy that way. Now as he’s getting older though he’s thinking more and more about how things are going to change for him because either way he’s not like a normal boy. How will he be able to have a relationship? Will anyone want him as he is? And just how does he go about ever sharing this with anyone? And then his life is literally turned upside down when a close family friend abuses his trust.
Max is suddenly forced to really examine his life and identity. Just who is Max really? And who does Max want to be? What happens to Max totally upends this family and leaves them questioning every decision they ever made.
I know I keep saying this but this is truly a phenomenal novel. It’s written by 25 year old Abigail Tarttelin and I’m amazed that this is her debut novel. The depth of emotion and quality of both writing and story show a maturity usually found in more seasoned writers. Golden Boy would make such a good book club pick as well. The wealth of topics to discuss is never ending: the issue of intersex children, marriage, family, and the decisions we make and the consequences that follow. I would have loved to have someone to discuss this book with while listening to it.
Golden Boy is an excellent audio. I fell into this book completely and loved Max dearly. My heart went out to him and his struggles and this book really makes you wonder just how you would handle something like this. What decisions would you make for your child? Ultimately it’s a question of identity and the need to have one and for Max that was a little harder than for most of us.
Excellent audiobook and very highly recommended by yours truly! I loved it!
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher. No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are my own.
Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker is an emotional novel of what can happen when somebody makes a wrong choice and destroys the lives of others. It will tug at your heart, you may shed a tear or two, and you will even have a laugh. It will ultimately teach you the meaning of forgiveness. I listened to the audio of Ten Tiny Breaths narrated by Elizabeth Louise and I really enjoyed her tone of voice and felt she added to my enjoyment of the book.
The lives of Kacey’s parents, best friend, and boyfriend are lost when they are hit by a drink driver. Kacey is the only survivor and she suffers enough guilt to destroy anyone’s soul. Along with that the nightmares of that day, listening to her mother take her last breath and holding her boyfriend’s hand, have her reliving it nightly. In an effort to try to make a new start Kacey and her younger sister Livie leave for Miami.
Kacey has built some pretty solid walls around herself. She doesn’t want to ever care about anyone again for fear of experiencing loss again. The only person she cares about and would protect with her life is her younger sister Livie. Yet when their neighbour Storm and her young daughter come into their lives they are impossible to shoo out and even Kacey finds herself warming to Storm and finding a friendship.
Then there is her mysterious and gorgeous neighbour Trent. Since the accident Kacey had steered clear of emotional attachments and instead always went after the bad boys. Trent certainly fits the description of the hot looking bad boy and yet he is so much more. As much as she tries to deny the attraction she can’t. Until the day she learns something that will turn her world upside down again and maybe this time she won’t be able to find a way back.
Ten Tiny Breaths is a great audio and one I enjoyed a lot. This is a really good story that ultimately highlights the dangers of drinking and driving and the devastation it causes. I loved the characters and the story and was thrilled to find out that there is a sequel featuring Livie called One Tiny Lie which is available on June 11. I can’t wait to listen in on another of K.A. Tucker’s books!
Source: Review copy provided by the Publisher. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.
The Program by Suzanne Young is a terrific Young Adult novel and I really enjoyed it. I listened to the audiobook which is narrated by Joy Osmanski and I really enjoyed her tone of voice and felt it added to the story being told. I just couldn’t stop listening to this one and when I had to I went back to it quickly. It was addicting and a lot of that came from the great narrator!
Suicide has hit epidemic levels and in one town and they’ve implemented The Program to combat it. The Program strikes fear in all of the teenagers because when The Program comes and takes you away you come back with none of your previous memories and you are presumably cured. So the teens walk around pretending to be happy and carefree because if handlers notice you acting not quite right you are quickly removed so that nobody else becomes infected.
Sloane and her boyfriend James have been together for a few years. They have a common bond and that was the love they shared for her brother who committed suicide. The two of them are constantly trying to watch out for each other and make sure that they are always maintaining a positive attitude. Yet things start happening around them and James starts going downhill. When he is taken away Sloane is a wreck and they begin to watch her in ernest. When he comes back and hasn’t a clue as to who she is she becomes an emotional wreck and it isn’t long before she is dragged into the program as well. Will these two naturally gravitate back to each other despite their lost memories?
The Program is a fantastic novel and don’t let the fact that it is a young adult novel throw you off because it is every bit as enjoyable for an adult. I think it’s great that Suzanne Young tackles some serious issues in this book like depression and suicide and does it in such a way as to not be overwhelming. It’s just a really well done novel and I have to say that I thought the way it ended left things wide open for another book which I desperately hope to see! I loved listening to this one, really liked the storyline, and I look forward to reading more from Suzanne Young!
Source: Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster Audio. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.