Blossom Street Brides by Debbie Macomber (Audiobook)

April 23rd, 2014

blossomI remember when I first discovered the Blossom Street series and found myself hopelessly hooked.  Any book that revolves around women’s friendships and knitting is going to fast become a favorite for me.  The latest from Debbie Macomber is Blossom Street Brides and it was wonderful!  Making it even better for me was listening to it on audio because it is narrated by one of my top favorite narrators and that is Cassandra Campbell.  Anyone who listens to audiobooks on a regular basis knows what a fantastic narrator she is.  She brings so much emotion and life to an audio and I know I’m in for a treat when I settle in for a story told by her.

A Good Yarn, Lydia’s knitting shop, is still a meeting place for women not only looking for knitting notions but also friendship.  Lydia is still happily married to Brad and they’ve made a life with their kids.  Lately though things have been sliding downhill a bit as Lydia is dealing with her aging mother’s increasingly bad health, her adopted daughters nightmares, and stress over the future of her shop A Good Yarn.  But then somebody begins to leave baskets of knitting all over town with instructions to continue knitting on the scarf included in the basket and when it’s done to deliver it to A Good Yarn where it will be donated to those in need.  Lydia has no idea who is doing this but it’s a fantastic idea that Lydia wishes she had thought of herself. Will this be the thing that helps the shop succeed once again?

Then we have Lauren who has waited for years for her boyfriend to propose.  Needless to say he hasn’t and she’s had enough and makes the decision to move on.  She never dreams that making this choice may be what opens the door to better things and a better life with all the things she’s dreamed of having.

Bethanne is married to her second husband Max and happier than she’s ever been before but trouble looms.  Her ex-husband refuses to believe it’s over between them and wants her back even though it was him who ruined the marriage in the first place.  Either way it won’t happen as Bethanne has moved on and is hopelessly in love with Max but when her ex begins to cause trouble between Bethanne and her own daughter things become heated.

As the story unfolds all three women will find that ultimately friendship and love are what really matter.  Once again Debbie Macomber writes a story that can’t fail to capture your heart.  Her characters seem like ordinary people that could be your own neighbors.  You find yourself completely entwined in their lives and hoping that all will be well for them.  I love revisiting old characters and meeting new ones and already I’m anxious to see what surprises the next Blossom Street novel will hold.  Definitely recommended for fans of Debbie Macomber and those who enjoy a good story!  I thoroughly enjoyed it and if you can grab the audio – Cassandra Campbell is amazing and for sure brings this book alive for the listener!

 

Source:  Review copy provided by the publisher.  No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are my own.

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The Creation of Anne Boleyn by Susan Bordo (Audiobook)

April 22nd, 2014

boleynThe Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England’s Most Notorious Queen by Susan Bordo is a non-fiction novel that is compulsively readable. I was completely engrossed from the first word to the last and plan on listening to the audio one more time in the near future. I think what made it even more interesting for me was that I listened to the audio version which is narrated by Barbara Rosenblat. She’s a popular narrator and I love listening to her. She has a deep tone to her voice and can change her voice up to suit the occasion very well. She’s very talented!

Anne Boleyn seems to hold a fascination for people even today, hundreds of years after she existed. I know she does for me and even more so now. Pretty much everything I heard about Anne in this novel wasn’t a surprise to me but that didn’t damper my enthusiasm to keep listening. There were a few new to me facts and myths dispelled that I found interesting. It’s also interesting to see how history is portrayed today, for example in the television series The Tudors, and Bordo discusses that. Anne is portrayed now as being this beautiful, seductive woman and yet she really wasn’t. What she did seem to have though was that quality that drew people to her. And to this day it still does.

In addition Bordo takes many of the well known authors of today and talks about how they’ve imagined Anne. We do have to remember it is historical fiction when we are reading it. There was a time when I thought what I read was always true – now I know better. I appreciate the authors who add the authors note at the end of their books that state what is true and what they added to make it fiction. What Susan Bordo does in The Creation Anne Boleyn is try to weed out all the myths about her and show us who the real Anne Boleyn was.

I highly recommend The Creation of Anne Boleyn to those that have an interest in historical fiction or Anne Boleyn. While this isn’t historical fiction it reads like a story. I didn’t find it dry or overwhelmed with detail. Then again I have a great interest in Anne Boleyn so I likely wouldn’t think that even if I was reading a straight biography of her. If you have the chance to listen to the audio I recommend it highly as well. I enjoyed it a great deal!

 

Buy at Audible

 

Source:  Review copy provided by Audible.  No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are my own.

Safe With Me by Amy Hatvany (Audiobook)

April 15th, 2014

safeAmy Hatvany once again amazes me with her beautiful writing and her newest novel Safe With Me. It is such an emotional and heart wrenching book and I’ll admit to shedding more than one tear while listening to it. Which brings me to saying that I listened to the audio version and all I can say is wow! It is narrated by the amazing and one of my favorites Cassandra Campbell as well as Joy Osmanski who I also enjoy and Rebekah Ross who I haven’t listened to before but would again. These three women bring such raw emotion to this story that the reader can’t help but be drawn into it.

The novel is told through Hannah, Olivia, and Maddie. Hannah, a single mother, is devastated when her young daughter is hit by a car and killed. At the hospital she is faced with the hardest decision of her life when asked to donate her daughter’s organs. Ultimately she says yes as she feels that this is what her daughter would have wanted.

On the other end of the spectrum is Olivia whose daughter desperately needs a liver transplant. She is overjoyed when a liver becomes available and yet sad that another mother had to lose their child for hers to have life. On a chance meeting Hannah meets Maddie and her mom Olivia and without revealing who she is finds herself drawn into their lives. Olivia though has problems that her seemingly perfect life now that her daughter is well doesn’t reveal. Her husband is abusive and she feels it only fair to hang on in the marriage until Maddie leaves for college. At what cost though?

This novel was such an emotional read for me because I connected so deeply with Olivia and Cassandra Campbell added so much depth to Olivia’s character with the way she portrayed her. Safe With Me would be a fantastic book club pick with its wide array of discussion topics. You have organ donation, loss of a child, abusive marriages, and so much more. This story really makes you question what you would do if in the same situation and the lines aren’t always as clearly cut as one might think.

While there is sadness in this novel there is also happiness, hope, and new life. Amy Hatvany has become a favorite author of mine and Safe With Me comes very highly recommended – especially the audio version!

 

Buy at Simon & Schuster, Audible, and iTunes

 

Source:  Review copy provided by the publisher.  No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are my own.

Her Loving Husband’s Curse by Meredith Allard & Giveaway (US/Canada/Int’l)

April 11th, 2014

Her Loving Husbands CurseHer Loving Husband’s Curse by Meredith Allard is the second in the The Loving Husband Trilogy. I really enjoyed the first in the series Her Dear and Loving Husband so I was anxious to read this one as well to see what would happen next. Once again I listened to the audio version which is narrated by Laura Jennings. I really enjoy listening to her. She has a soft tone to her voice and is very good at using different inflections for different characters. She really makes the story come alive and that really added to my enjoyment of the book.

I really want to be very general about this book because saying too much can give away parts of the story that you get from the first book and then the second and that would just ruin it for anyone wanting to experience it for themselves. In this installment we find James and Sarah happily married but Sarah is now haunted by memories of a child she once carried in a past life and this leaves her wanting a child for her and James. Being a vampire James can’t father a child so they turn to adoption and find the perfect baby in Grace.

All seems to be coming together for them until Kenneth Hempel, the reporter, starts again with his vicious rumors of vampires living and working among the innocent citizens of Salem. It isn’t long before things are out of control and James and Sarah must decide what to do to keep Grace and themselves safe.

This sequel expertly weaves actual events in history such as the Salem Witch Trials and the Trail of Tears into Sarah and Jame’s stories. I found this part of the story very interesting as I hadn’t even known of the Trail of Tears before. I love how Meredith takes the reader back in time and enlightens us to a time in history while giving us a modern and page-turning story. That’s one of the reasons I love this series so much.

Meredith truly has a talent with words and I would be remiss in not saying how beautifully written this book is. This is not just another vampire novel! This book is so much more with the emotional elements of Sarah and Jame’s lives together and now with baby Grace all woven together with their past lives. I do suggest starting with the first book Her Dear and Loving Husband otherwise you may find yourself a bit lost plus it would be a shame to lose out on any part of this great series. Highly recommended!

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Buy at: Amazon, Amazon Canada, Book Depository, and B&N

 

GIVEAWAY (US/Canada/Int’l)

I have one copy of Her Loving Husband’s Curse by Meredith Allard to share with my readers.  There is a print copy available to US and Canadian residents and an eBook copy available internationally.  To enter…

  • Leave a comment for 1 entry into the giveaway.
  • Tweet, share on Facebook, or blog for 2 extra entries.

Print open to US/Canada
eBook open Internationally
Draw Date April 26/14

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Source:  Audiobook from my personal library.

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