#winterinparadise #elinhilderbrand #erinbennett #thewife #alafairburke #xesands #beauchamphall #daniellesteele #danjohnmiller #luckysuit #laurenblakely #andiarndt #zacharywebber
Well! May was a busy, busy month with vacation trips, holidays, and family activities. Here’s hoping the Listening Lady can be lazy for the rest of the summer and get in lots of audiobooks while floating in the pool! I vowed at the beginning of the month to spend less time in Psycho World and I was mostly successful. I’m sorry if my followers who share my love of psychological thrillers are disappointed, but there will be one listen that will more than make up for the others.
My first listen of May was Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand. Because she is a favorite author of mine, I was hoping for the best since the last book of hers I listened to was disappointing. Before I make any further comment, I’m going to say, this one did not disappoint! For those of you who are married, just imagine what it would be like to discover the dead husband you loved and who you thought loved you, had a second family!!! Yeah, yeah, I know this is not exactly a new concept, but the author handles this story so adeptly I think you will reach the end not judging, not hating any of the characters who, though flawed and up to their eyeballs in drama, are still likable. 4.5 Stars to Ms. Hilderbrand for a tantalizing first-in-series and to narrator Erin Bennett for an excellent performance.
Still honoring my commitment to keep my distance from the mentally unhinged, I moved on to a book by the Queen of Romance Novels, Danielle Steel. This is an author who is so dependable with her storylines, there could be no question that I would come away satisfied and with my sanity intact. Beauchamp Hall was exactly the right listen to help get me through my psychological thriller burnout. Winona Farmington is that literary cliche, the character who gives up her personal dreams for family expediency. It’s one of those situations where she’s not exactly happy, but not unhappy enough to make a change until she throws both her dead-end job and her douchebag boyfriend under the bus on the same day. In her next uncharacteristic move, Winnie takes off to England to spend time in the town where her favorite TV series is filmed and the potential fairy tale ending is set in motion. Both the author and narrator Dan John Miller earn solid 4 Star ratings for this is feel-good fiction with nary a psycho in view – great listening for a stress-free vacay!
Lucky Suit by Lauren Blakely is actually a novella so it would be perfect for a short plane flight or a weekend trip when you don’t want to get so caught up in a lengthy novel you can’t pursue other activities. Billed as a romantic comedy, it is every bit of that and more. Kristen and Cameron are a pair of victims – don’t get too excited by that. I haven’t let the psychos back in. They are victims of the heinous crime of matchmaking by a grandmother anyone would love to have. The banter between the characters will make you smile as narrators Andi Arndt and Zachary Webber bring them to life in a listen that is perfect for a day by the pool or at the beach. Be careful because you may laugh out loud and have others thinking you’re the psycho.
I did have one fall from grace when I plugged in The Wife by Alafair Burke. This book which is labeled a novel of psychological suspense and a domestic thriller, has moved to the top of my list of convoluted storylines encountered while traveling the twisty roads on the way to “Don’t Try to Guess What’s Around the Curve.” The primary mystery consists of a crime and “whodunnit” and is not that hard to figure out. Most listeners will have it solved before the last words are spoken but before you get too smug, a word of warning; the solution is not simple but is like the mythological Hydra that regrows two heads for each one you chop off! The thing that makes psychological suspense so appealing to me is when those who are masters of the genre insert scary little asides from the mind of a psychotic as if we all thought like that. Only when we know the final outcome do we realize how terrifying these people are. I think every listener will be surprised by the full impact of a conclusion that isn’t quite the end. 5 Stars to Ms. Burke and to Xe Sands who is a new narrator for me and who does an excellent job of keeping the “creepy” in this one.