#everythingisilluminated #jonathansafranfoer #robertpetkoff # h #waitingfornick #stanislaskisbook5 #noraroberts #christinatraister #brillianceaudio#thesecretmother #shaliniboland #katievilla #bookouture#afiresparkling #juliannemaclean #rossalynlandor #sarahzimmerman #brillianceaudio
I hope all of my followers are well and safe. Each of us probably wishes occasionally that we had more time to make a dent in our TBR lists, but even the most avid reader or listener is bound to be ready to trade social distancing for a return to normalcy! It wasn’t by design, but my selections for this month run the gamut emotionally. I listened to a book that made me laugh out loud and ended up moving me so deeply I had to take a cold plunge into pure escapism with my second book. The third book has a theme similar to the first, but the ending changes the emotional impact of the story. Lastly, the psychos make their inevitable appearance in my Book of the Month.
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer is one of those books that at some time will undoubtedly become a cult favorite, but meanwhile, try not to think about it too much. Just laugh with Alex, cry with Safran, and rejoice with Jonathan. Enjoy the prose of a brilliant wordsmith and erstwhile comedian along with narrator Robert Petkoff, whose voice soars far above any shortcomings of this book. Paint yourself a mental image of an elderly chauffeur, his seeing-eye dog who lacks social skills, and the man’s grandson as they start off on a journey to help a young man from America trace his family in Ukraine. I laughed out loud at Alex and his endearing grasp of English, my heart broke, as it always does when I hear about the atrocities we’ve committed against each other in the course of history, and I was totally captivated by the storyline and the characters especially Sammy Davis Junior, Junior . . . I will never forget you! 5 Stars to the author for this emotional roller coaster, and 5 Stars to the perfect narrator for it.
There’s not a lot to say about Waiting for Nick by Nora Roberts. It was exactly what I needed after the gut-wrenching story of generations of heartbreak in Everything is Illuminated. I was looking for something light, romantic, and predictable and it was all of that. Most of the characters are members of the Stanislaski family and will be familiar to followers of the series. The story is sweet with a bit of angst and a tense moment or two, but overall it was exactly what I needed . . . 4 Stars of pure escapism! Narrator Christina Traister’s performance was just right to showcase the characters and bring a touch of drama to episode 5 of this family saga.
A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean is a book I’ve had in my library for a while. I put off listening for a variety of reasons . . . some were good ones and some were trivial. At a little over 13 hours, it’s a sizable time investment, but since I found myself with most of the month of April to finish it up, I took the plunge. The most trivial reason was the title – I almost didn’t purchase it because I thought the title made it sound just a little cheesy. I was quite right about having the time to finish it up, but I was totally wrong about the story. This is a compelling tale that moves rapidly from opening chapters which seem predictive of a rather ordinary plot to a family history of secrets, deception, and, in the final analysis, courage. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to share that everything will be all right. It’s just that things will be all right in ways you won’t suspect! Gillian Gibbons is already carrying some heavy baggage when the HEA she thought was in reach disappears in a single night. An escape to her family home and a startling discovery open the door to a family secret that leads Gillian on a trip into the past. Just in case you’re thinking this storyline sounds like it’s been done before, you need to think again. The author has taken a fairly mundane premise and woven it into an entrancing 4 Star account that is equal parts mystery/thriller and “feel good” love story. Narrators Rosalyn Landor and Sarah Zimmerman give an excellent performance that will hold your attention for the full 13 hours.
“Wow” may seem like a strange word to use to start a review, but there isn’t another one that fits better. It has been a long time since I listened to a story that engaged me so completely. I highly recommend Shalini Boland’s book The Secret Mother to any of my followers who like a fast-paced psychological thriller with lots of twists and still has a HEA. Tessa Markham is barely recovering from the train wreck that is her life when she arrives home to find a strange child in her kitchen who claims Tessa is his mother. Is she crazy or is she the victim of some kind of devilish plot, or could it be both? As the past unfolds, you will have a hard time putting this one aside, so find some mindless activity to make you feel productive and plug-in those earbuds! I thought I had it all figured out at one point and then as Tessa discovers more details of a tragic night she can’t forget, I changed my mind and even then I was only partially right. The narration by Katie Villa was perfect for each character. I wish I could give more than 5 Stars to Ms. Boland and Ms. Villa for my Book of the Month