The Virtues of Oxygen by Susan Schoenberger is a wonderful novel. It not only was a story that touched my heart but also one that makes you think about how precious the gift of life is. Taking place in a small town during the recession The Virtues of Oxygen is an emotional tale of love and friendship but even more so about making each moment in our lives matter.
The story revolves around Vivian and Holly, both very different in their circumstance in life. Vivian has been confined in an iron lung since having polio as a young child. Although she has her bad moments she really has a strong spirit and amazing strength that keeps her going each day. As the years passed Vivian earned a degree in business and has been successful despite not being able to live as a normal person. Being a sweet lady the small community has always rallied around Vivian and many volunteer to sit with her as she has to have constant supervision. She literally depends on the machine to live – to breathe.
Then there’s Holly, a widow with two boys. She began sitting with Vivian when she moved back to her hometown after getting married and they formed an instant bond. Holly works at the local newspaper but she’s struggling. With help from her mother she’s been able to at least keep up with her bills but now her mother has has a stroke. Holly’s world is quickly closing in on her. Although she’s never discussed her troubles with Vivian she knows that things aren’t going well for Holly. She wants to help but even more she wants Holly to realize that she can reach for anything she wants and get it if only she wants it bad enough.
This book really makes a person think of life in a different way. I had heard of iron lungs but didn’t know what one looked like until I looked it up. I can’t imagine being confined in one for a minute let alone a whole life. The one thing Vivian craved was a even a moment alone because she’d never had that and I know I would feel the same. This novel made me realize that you have to take the time to enjoy your family, friends, and even that moment in which you can step outside and take a breath of fresh, beautiful air.
I listened to the audiobook of The Virtues of Oxygen which is narrated by Tanya Eby and Laural Merlington who both did a wonderful job. I’ve listened to Tanya Eby before and always enjoy her narration but Laural Merlington was new to me and was perfect as Vivian. I felt that the two of them really brought out the emotional side to this novel and as a warning – be sure to have a Kleenex nearby!
For fans of women’s fiction I highly recommend The Virtues of Oxygen.
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Source: Digital review copy was provided by the publisher. Audiobook from my personal library. No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are that of the blog owner.
Season of the Dragonflies by Sarah Creech is a magical novel of family, old secrets, and love. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I love books that are full of magical happenings. I delved headlong into this one and it captivated me fully at a time when I really needed a book like this. The characters and story worked their way into my heart and I truly regretted turning the last page and having the story end.
Generations of the Lenore women have been manufacturing a unique perfume. A perfume with the power to change a life. This perfume sells only to the most wealthy and powerful and has made the Lenore women very successful. Up in the Blue Ridge Mountains they grow their own flowers to create the perfume along with a few of their own secret ingredients. When making a perfume a certain secret ingredient can be the key to the success or downfall of a client. But in desperation could this be taken too far – far enough to be dangerous?
I loved the women in this novel. Willow is the head of the family and single mom to two now grown girls, Mia and Lucia. These sisters could not be more different. Mia, the elder sister has always been the one with the ‘nose’ for scent and has been working alongside her mother for years. She should inherit the presidency of the company but as things begin to spiral downward in her life Willow begins to question that decision. Making her question it even further is the homecoming of Lucia. Lucia has always been the one who seemingly had no magical talents with the perfume business but now that she’s come home Willow is seeing a different side to her. Should Lucia be made the president of the company? Willow knows that this will tear the sisters apart even further…but what choice does she have as it seems Mia is bent on a path of destruction that could ruin the business.
I listened to the audiobook of Season of the Dragonflies which is narrated by Kate Turnball who I’ve not listened to before but wouldn’t hesitate to again. She does a wonderful job telling this tale with its mystical air and I felt she really brought this story and these characters alive in my minds eye. Very enjoyable indeed!
For fans of women’s fiction and magical realism, Sarah Creech’s debut novel Season of the Dragonflies is wonderful and the audio even more so!
Source: Digital review copy provided by the publisher. Audiobook from personal library. No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are that of the blog owner.
There are many reasons I read and love historical fiction. One is to learn about a time past but another is to be taken away to a time long forgotten. Sinful Folk by Ned Hayes is both. It is a passionate and beautifully written tale taking place in medieval times that tells of the pride and determination of a woman who captured my heart.
It all starts with a devastating fire that takes the lives of four young men living in an isolated village. It is here that we meet Mear, a former nun who has been living as a mute man for over a decade to protect both herself and her son. Now her son is gone, burned in the fire. Along with the other village men she wants justice for her own boy and the others. They then travel many, many miles across England encountering many obstacles in order to exact justice from the King. For Mear this journey is difficult as she is considered an old man now but even more than that she has to make sure to hide her real identity as the consequences for this long told lie would be dire.
As Mear relates the winter journey they have undertaken you can feel her fear both at the hardships of the journey but also of being discovered. As they travel instances arise where Mear is even accused of being a witch, which in medieval times was a death sentence. It becomes increasingly clear that Mear is not who the men thought she was and when they finally learn she is actually a woman and the details of her past they are shocked but will Mear be safe now that they know who she is or is she in even more danger from both the village men and others. Mear is a beautiful soul and one whose story I won’t soon forget. I felt such a intense connection to her in her strength of character and ability to forgive and forge on in her life. Hers is a story of overcoming adversity made even more admirable by the times in which she lived.
I was lucky enough to listen to the audiobook of Sinful Folk and as is clear I thought the novel amazing but still the narration of Anne Day-Jones made it even more so. She is absolutely the perfect narrator for this medieval tale. She brought alive the time and place and more importantly the characters. I felt as though I was inside this book living alongside the travelers and feeling both their hardships and triumphs.
For fans of historical fiction Sinful Folk is fantastic and if you’re a lover of audiobooks as I am the audio is extremely well done. Highly recommended!
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Author Links: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest
Buy at: Amazon, Amazon Canada, B&N, IndieBound, Audible
GIVEAWAY DETAILS – US & CANADIAN RESIDENTS
1 Audiobook Copy of Sinful Folk
*CLICK HERE* and fill out the form to enter
Draw Date August 31/14
(comments are much welcomed but do not count as an entry)
Source: Audiobook copy was received for review from the author. No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are that of the blog owner.
Cancel the Wedding is the debut novel of Carolyn T. Dingman and it is utterly fantastic. For me it was one of those books that I just loved from the very beginning. It is an emotional tale about love, loss, family, and deeply buried secrets. With it’s lovely characters and wonderful storyline it’s sure to touch every reader’s heart as it did mine.
Olivia and her sister Georgia lost their mother to cancer almost a year ago. Both are shocked by their mother’s final request to have her ashes scattered in her hometown of Huntley, Georgia. Their mother really never spoke of her hometown and never about her life back then so why would she now want to be buried there. Well Olivia is more than curious and being anxious to escape her seemingly perfect life and fiancé she jumps right in and tells everyone that she is going to take a trip to Huntley to see if she can learn more about her mother’s past before she and her sister spread their mother’s ashes.
What should have been a fairly short trip begins to drag out more and more as Olivia and her niece Logan become attached to the charming townspeople – well except for a few choice people and neither is in any hurry to leave. Logan has met a nice boy and Olivia is more than attracted to Elliott despite being engaged. Olivia hasn’t been happy in her relationship with her fiancé for a long time and in getting to know Elliott she begins to realize what real love looks like. As she, Logan, and Elliott dig deeper and deeper into her mother’s past many long buried secrets come to light and leave Olivia stunned. As the story weaves from past to present it leaves Olivia rethinking her whole life and learning just what it is that she really wants for herself and her future.
I listened to the audiobook of Cancel the Wedding which is narrated by Tavia Gilbert who I adore. She is a wonderful narrator and a true pleasure to listen to. I’ve listened to a few books by her now and when I see her listed as the narrator I know I’m in for a treat. She has a real talent with changing her voice to suit the characters and in bringing a story to life. Just a delight to listen to!
I really loved Cancel the Wedding. I listened to the book any chance I had and I can attest to never having seen eleven hours fly by so quickly before. Highly recommended for fans of women’s fiction!