#theawakening #noraroberts #barriekreinik #theguestlist #lucyfoley#jotdavies #chloemassey #oliviadowd #aoifemcmahon #sarahovens #richkeeble #sorryimissedyou #suzykrause #amandaronconi #thecoldmillions #jesswalter #edoardoballerini #garyfarmer #marinireland #cassandracampbell #macleodandrews #timgerardreynolds #mikeortego #rexanderson #charliethurston #frankiecorzo
Welcome to 2021 and, at the risk of sounding trite, I have to ask “Are we having fun yet?” After just one month of this new year, it looks as though it will be another good one for those of us who love to escape into the world of audiobooks. This month’s selections include an escape into a world of fantasy with book one of a new trilogy, an escape to an island venue for a highly touted book that would have been disappointing except for a 5 star performance, an escape from the world of psychos into the world of ghosts, and an escape from our present day woes to the woes of the past. The common thread in all these listens is phenomenal performances by the voice artists.
Sometimes when I’ve had a long run in psycho – world, I just need some pure escapism. Even though there is angst and plenty of family drama in The Awakening, Nora Roberts takes us to another world where magicks rule, where heroes ride dragons, and faeries, elves, mermaids, and witches abound. Our heroine Breen Kelly is unique, of course. She is a product of all the magical creatures, with a god and a human thrown into the mix. She is needed in the kingdom of Talamh because she has the right combination of qualities to go up against her evil grandfather and save the kingdom. The Awakening is book one in the Dragon Heart Legacy trilogy. I found it to be a perfect book one made even more perfect by excellent narration from Barrie Kreinik.
The Guest List by Lucy Foley is one of those books that goes from 4 stars to 5 just because I listened to the audio version. Narrators Jot Davies, Chloe Massey, Olivia Dowd, Aoife McMahon, Sarah Ovens, and Rich Keeble were exceptional and gave a 5 star performance of a book that was compelling and had an interesting twist at the end, but seemed to be a little cheesy and implausible along the way. Frankly, I think the author tried to throw in too many triggers. School boys hazing and getting into trouble, friends and family having sex with friends and family, and the social event of the season taking place in a location that just happens to be managed by a person for whom revenge is a lifestyle. Told from multiple POVs with multiple narrators, this is the best performance I’ve heard in awhile.
Sorry I Missed You by Suzy Krause was one of my “I need relief from the psychos” choices and even though it definitely falls into the category of “precious” there was a variety of characters from the sweet, to the snarky, to the snarling. Three ladies in disparate circumstances –a jilted bride, a student with a dark secret, and a fitness instructor who’s been “unfriended” by a social media influencer – find themselves renting apartments in a house inherited (with some strange caveats) by an aging punker. There are people who’ve been ghosted and actual ghosts . . . or are they? The humor is often tongue in cheek, but it is also LOL at times. The performance by Amanda Ronconi is brilliant. She has the perfect tone and inflection for each character so there is never any doubt who is speaking. This is one of those books that will likely not get the recognition it deserves but which I am awarding it 5 Stars on the psycho relief scale!
The Cold Millions by Jess Walter is another listen with a full cast of superb 5 star narrators. Edoardo Ballerini, Gary Farmer, Marin Ireland, Cassandra Campbell, MacLeod Andrews, Tim Gerard Reynolds, Mike Ortego, Rex Anderson, Charlie Thurston, and Frankie Corzo each contribute their unique talents to tell a story that is mostly grim. Set squarely in the middle of the class warfare of the early 20th century, this storyline is going to remind you of our present day in many ways, so if you’re weary of the news, you might want to give this one a pass. It’s a story that needs to be told, but you may have a hard time listening to it. The story ends on an upbeat note even though it remains a heart breaking reminder that while these present days may not be the best of times, they are also not the worst.