Audiobook Review, Romance

Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

Every BreathEvery Breath by Nicholas Sparks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We have all read/seen The Notebook and fallen in love with the romantic writing of Nicholas Sparks (if you haven’t seen the movie, just do it…. Ryan Gosling… that is all). So of course when I saw he was coming out with a new book, I added it to the list at the library.

Every Breath is a romantic and heartwarming love story about two people who have an instant connection, but are plagued by life’s unfortunate circumstances and poor timing. When Tru and Hope happen upon each other on a quiet North Carolina beach they are immediately drawn to each other. But, when they must part ways, their lives will never be the same. Nicholas Sparks dares to ask, “Can you ever really move on from the love of a soulmate?”

While I found this book an easy read with a very charming plot, it was inevitably pretty predictable (dare I say, cheesy?). But, it’s a romance so what did I really expect, right? I adored both of the main characters and appreciated their flaws and internal struggles. The North Carolina setting was the perfect location to set this novel, with its relaxed, beachy feel. Overall, it was a success, and while it was a nice enough story, I didn’t find it to be anything Earth shattering.

The two fabulous things about this book were the introduction and epilogue. I loved that the inspiration for this novel was based on real events discovered by Nicholas Sparks on the very beach in North Carolina he writes about. And while I sometimes found the events in the novel a tad unrealistic, I had to keep reminding myself that it was at least somewhat based in fact. I think the information provided by Sparks added a wealth of charm to this book.

The audiobook was a super fast listen, if you’re looking for something light and fresh on a shorter car ride. Listening on double speed, I got through it in about four and a half hours.

Will I be raving about this one in the months to come? Probably not. It is honestly a tad forgettable. But it was still an enjoyable read, particularly for avid romance readers.

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Audiobook Review, General Fiction (Adult)

The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

The Book of EssieThe Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After seeing some rave reviews for this book I decided to give it a try. The Book of Essie is the story of a teenager named Esther Hicks who ends up pregnant. But, that’s not the end of Essie’s story. Essie just happens to be a reality TV star, her parents famous religious and social figures. And they have a reputation to uphold. Cue the pregnancy scandal cover up!

If you have ever seen the TV show UnREAL (which basically reveals the sneaky, behind the scenes things that producers do to steer certain reality TV storylines the way they want them to go), this book has a super similar vibe. So many times I wanted to punch Essie’s mom in the face for putting on a false facade in the name of celebrity.

The Book of Essie (cleverly named given its religious undertones) dives into some difficult subject matter and explores a ton of difficult family-centered issues. One things is for sure. I adored Essie’s character and several other main characters as well. And while I couldn’t relate to Essie personally, I applauded the way she handled the situation she found herself in. What a firecracker.

The audiobook version of this book was pretty good. There were times when there may have been a few lulls by overall it held my attention.

It’s definitely worth the read.

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Audiobook Review, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller

The One by John Marrs

The OneThe One by John Marrs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You guys! I absolutely adored this book! And this isn’t one I’ve seen blasted across the internet on various social media platforms. I just kind of stumbled upon it through recommendations of friends.

The premise of the book was super interesting. What if you could take 23&Me and match.com and put them together into one mega dating app? Submit your DNA and be matched with your one and only soulmate. Would you do it? Follow the stories of four people who took the plunge. Experience the good, the bad, and the ugly.

As a woman who met her husband on match.com seven years ago, the content of this book really tickled my fancy. I thought the concept was such an interesting idea and enjoyed the variety of plots that evolved from it. Each story had an original spin and each had a super exciting twist or two.

This was a great audiobook with a lot of excitement that held my attention. I couldn’t get enough and found myself walking around the house with headphones on waiting to see what happened next (not the first time…).

If you haven’t checked this one out, I would highly recommend it. It is certainly unique and entertaining.

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Mystery, Thriller

Our Little Secret by Roz Nay

Our Little SecretOur Little Secret by Roz Nay

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Looking for a binge-worthy book? Here it is! This was such a quick read that I read it in one sitting.

So how did I get this book? Funny you should ask. I belong to a group of influencers called BookSharks which is supported by BookSparks (confusing, right?). BookSparks did a holiday book-gram program around Christmas where participants picked a genre and a surprise book was wrapped and sent to them. This happened to be one of my surprises. Good picking BookSparks! You must know I adore virtually everything from St. Martin’s Press.

Our Little Secret was the perfect breath of fresh air after some lengthy novels. At a little over 250 pages I breezed right through it. Beginning with the main character in an interrogation room being interviewed for her suspected participation in the disappearance of a young woman, the story moves back in time to tell the story of what happened leading up to the disappearance.

I really enjoyed this book. As a thriller, it had just the right amount of suspense and intrigue without being too convoluted or over the top. The plot was believable and kept me on my toes the entire time.

If you’re looking for a quick weekend read to give you some reprieve from your TBR, this is it. Bravo Roz Nay!

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General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction, Romance

Giant by Edna Ferber

GiantGiant by Edna Ferber

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So, how did I happen to read a book published in 1952? Let me tell you. While reading Where the Crawdads Sing, I could not stop thinking about how it reminded me of my Grandma Tocco. I felt compelled to send her a copy to read. In our conversation about Where the Crawdads Sing, my grandma said to me, “Have you read anything by Edna Ferber? She’s one of my favorite authors!” As I hadn’t, she recommended that I read Giant so I added it to the list.

I’m not going to lie, I almost did not get past the first 4 or 5 chapters. The writing is so different from anything I would typically read which is likely a product of the decade in which it was published. Let’s just say that the writing is very “vintage.” It was not a quick read. If I were to read it aloud, the language just would not roll off the tongue.

However, I stuck with it and started to develop relationships with the characters. I began to understand the relationships of the characters and their motivations. And eventually, I was invested in their stories.

Giant is about the life of Leslie and Jordan “Bick” Benedict on enormous Reata Ranch in the heart of Texas from the 1930s to the 1950s. And if I can say anything about this book, it oozed Texas. The ranches, the cattle, the size, the culture, and the economic transition from one rooted on agriculture to one thriving from oil. It was Texas through and through.

What did I not like about it? It was slowwwwwww and longggggggg. There were times when I felt like the book could have benefited from editing out about 100 pages and moving the story faster. It would eventually pick up, but then would fall back into a lull. And I guess I was a tad confused about the ending. The story just kind of stopped. I was hoping for more resolution.

Overall, it was not my favorite book ever but it was definitely not my least favorite book ever. It will live in that in between area of “just okay.” Sorry Gram!

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