🎧Have You Heard?🎧Audiobooks For Your Listening Pleasure🎧The Best of February🎧

Posted February 29, 2024 by RobbieLea in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

#mouthtomouth #antionewilson #edoardoballerini #firstliewins #ashleyeaston #saskiamaarleveld #randomindeath #jdrobb #susanericksen #thekillingroom #robertswartwood #edoardoballerini 

How is it that the shortest month of the year somehow managed to seem even shorter than its allotted 29 days? Could it be because the days were balmy and warm as one would expect in the state of Florida? No, because it has actually been rather chilly and nasty. Could it be because we had so many fun and exciting things planned? No, because it was too chilly and nasty to do much of anything but huddle inside. Could it be because I set so many lofty goals for my listening that I began hearing audiobooks in my sleep? Possibly … Regardless of the reason, I do find myself in a good place with my listening goals despite the disappointing facets of the month. I heard a favorite narrator read twice with two entirely different presentation styles; I heard a highly touted book, and it exceeded my expectations because I rarely expect much from highly touted books; and I had a more than satisfying visit with my favorite NYPSD folks that also exceeded my expectations.

Mouth to Mouth

By Antoine Wilson

Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini

As befits the short month of February, Mouth to Mouth is a short listen at 4 hours and 53 minutes. You won’t feel short-changed, however, because author Antoine Wilson has assembled all the elements necessary to draw you in and packed them into a story that will leave you saying “did that really just happen?” I guarantee you will find it difficult to stop listening. Two college acquaintances run into each other in an airport. One is a struggling author, and one is a successful entrepreneur. Most of what we learn about the author is implied – we never even learn his name – because the story belongs to art dealer Jeff Cook who invites his old acquaintance to spend some time with him in the first class lounge when their flight is delayed.  Cook begins describing what life has been like for him and, for some reason, he ends up sharing a secret he has never revealed with us and a man he hasn’t seen since college. The ending isn’t a cliff-hanger, but it is one of those that isn’t tied up with a bow and a tag that says “The End.” It will leave you pondering whether you truly understood everything that was going on and, in fact, I went back and listened to the last couple of chapters again just to make sure I hadn’t missed something. Narrator Edoardo Ballerini lends the perfect tone because this story doesn’t require a performer but a storyteller, and it is quite a story.

First Lie Wins

By Ashley Elston

Narrated by Saskia Maarleveld 

Being just an ordinary person with an ordinary life, I seldom speculate about that subterranean class of people who live their lives either on the edge or fully submerged in the so-called underworld where honesty is just another word in the dictionary, and laws are in place to be broken. First Lie Wins is one of those stories that pulled me straight down to that place where liars, scammers, and cheaters of every description spend their days figuring out how to take the rest of us to the cleaners! We meet our main character and lovable con-artist as Evie Porter, but that isn’t her real name, nor are any of the names she’s used for several years. We are quickly introduced to Evie’s employer – the elusive Mr. Smith – and we learn that isn’t his real name either. In fact, the only negative thing I can say about this book is that you have to remain focused to keep up with who is who and whether that’s who they really are. At the time we enter Evie’s world, she has gone from being Mr. Smith’s golden girl to the victim of one of his scams. How she jumps off the identity merry-go-round and jumps back on even stronger than she was will keep you guessing until narrator Saskia Maarleveld verbalizes the final words. Occasionally I read or listen to books where I’m rooting for the bad (or least bad) guys to win, and this is one of those. I think you’ll be pleased with the solution author Ashley Elston writes for those of us who can’t helping loving the bad guys.

Random in Death

Written by J.D. Robb

Narrated by Susan Ericksen 

When you’ve followed a series for a long time, and when you’ve read every book in the series, I think that qualifies you to pick favorites or to say one book is better than another. If you’ve followed my posts for awhile, you know that I been known to observe one of the books in this series may be particularly good, or it might not be up to par. Without further caveats, I’m going to confess that when I reached the half-way point in Random in Death, I spent the rest of my day listening until the end. Brava, J.D. Robb, for creating a character with a storyline that wouldn’t let me go. Darlin’ Eve and her team are flabbergasted by a killer who apparently has no identifiable pattern or motive. Young girls who have nothing in common are dying from a potent drug injection. Can NYPSD’s finest figure out where the killer may strike next before another life is taken? Thank you Susan Ericksen for continuing to bring these characters to life, and many thanks to the author for providing my semi-annual fix with a special twist!

The Killing Room

By Robert Swartwood

Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini

I seem to have a knack lately for choosing books with cliffhanger endings. Maybe I need to start reading the reviews more closely before choosing my listens. Author Robert Swartwood calls The Killing Room book 1 of a series, so we will have to wait and see where he goes with this one. Actually, the cliffhanger wasn’t too bad. Although there were unresolved issues and characters I would love to see again, the ending is fairly tidy and won’t be sticking in my mind. The storyline is fast-paced and held my interest with the twists and sheer evil of some of the characters. This is another one of those “are there really people like this???” books. I’m sure the answer is “and worse” but, for us ordinary folks, it’s a real stretch to imagine where you find these people. It’s a little scary to think what the answer might be. Our antihero is Daniel Burke whose real job is never completely clear, but, in my own words, he’s one of the good guys that gets paid to be bad. The setting is Las Vegas – you know that place where things that happen there, stay there.  It doesn’t take long to figure out this story is the exception. Edoardo Ballerini provides a remarkable performance of a book that may leave you wanting more from this latest bad guy who’s really a good guy.

Thank You For Following Us at Literati Literature Lovers and Happy Listening in March!

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