Audiobook Review, Mystery, Young Adult

Sadie by Courtney Summers

SadieSadie by Courtney Summers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Randi DuBois for the audiobook recommendation!

If you are looking for a truly unique audiobook, here it is! This was a mix between a podcast and an audiobook. The premise? Sadie, a young girl, goes missing and her family is trying to track her down. The book bounces back and forth between Sadie’s journey (the audiobook portion) and a fictitious podcast detailing the disappearance of Sadie (the podcast portion). There’s a murder in there somewhere and some other disturbing stuff a la Investigation Discovery.

I honestly thought I was listening to the wrong book when I first turned on this audiobook. The podcast sounded so real that I checked my phone to make sure I had downloaded the right thing! There was an introduction by the podcast narrator and introductory music to this fictitious first episode. The dialogue was legitimately people talking to each other in podcast fashion. It was so authentic. I’ve never quite listed to an audiobook like it.

I’ve had lots of friends ask for recommendations for a really great audiobook for a road trip. If you’re into crime podcasts at all and have interest in mystery/thriller books, Sadie is something truly unique and worth giving a listen.

That being said, while the audiobook was a full 5 stars (more stars if I could give them), the story itself for me was only 4 stars. It was engaging and held my attention, but it wasn’t anything mind blowing. I was waiting for a surprising twist or jaw dropping moment, and I never really got it. But, it was like listening to a good episode of Dateline. It’s nothing you’ve never seen before, but it’s still good.

Would totally recommend this one, particularly for my audiobook people out there!

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General Fiction (Adult), Romance

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Night RoadNight Road by Kristin Hannah

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am so hungover….

And not from too much alcohol. From yet another story told by Kristin Hannah that tugs at my heartstrings.

Talk about a roller coaster of emotions. After loving The Nightingale and The Great Alone, one of my friends recommended that I read Night Road. But she did warn me that she felt like she needed a support group after she was done reading it. Yes, girl. Yes…

I almost don’t even want to give a synopsis of this book for fear of giving away some of the surprising elements that make the story so special and endearing. Suffice it to say that this is a story about friendship, first love, motherhood, loss, justice, redemption, forgiveness, guilt, shame, and letting go… all stuffed into 400 pages of literary magic.

Kristin Hannah took me back to my high school days with Night Road, to being carefree. When the most important things were getting asked to the prom, being nominated for homecoming queen, and what colleges you applied to/got into. But we all have to grow up. And the characters in this book had to grow up overnight, the result of a tragedy weeks before graduation. Their lives will never be the same.

I literally devoured this book in 36 hours. I couldn’t put it down. It took so many different directions as the story went on that I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. At one point, I wanted to throw my Nook across the room and scream. At other points I wanted to cry. And speckled in between where moments that made me smile. I don’t know that I’ve ever read a book that took me on a such a ride within a few hundred pages.

This would be a fabulous book for a book club. There are tons of topics to discuss and I’m sure there would be plenty to talk about. I’m honestly still not sure how I would have reacted in many of the situations the main characters found themselves in.

I may need to take a tiny Kristin Hannah break to sober up after this one, but then I’ll be back! Because there are still a pile of her books I cannot wait to read.

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Mystery, Thriller

Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard

Hunting AnnabelleHunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Expected publication December 18th!

I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway! I always try my hardest to read and review my giveaway book, and if you don’t, you should! I discover a lot of books I wouldn’t otherwise through the giveaway process and it’s always fun to get new, unique reads on my shelf.

Hunting Annabelle was no exception. It was the perfect book for a spooky fall night.

Sean is kind of a loner. Sean might be a bit mentally unstable. Sean has killed before and spent years in an institution being rehabilitated. But, he’s done killing. In walks Annabelle, a beautiful ray of light in his world. Until Annabelle disappears. And Sean becomes the number one suspect. But, he’s certain something else is at play here and he won’t stop until he finds her.

This book was set in the 1980s which gave it a retro feel. There were no cell phones. The internet wasn’t really a thing. It makes the investigative elements much more difficult. I loved the 1980s angle.

Hunting Annabelle is jam packed full of twists and turns. Just when you think you know what’s going on, you don’t. And it was kind of messed up, with some gruesome elements that may be hard for some to stomach. It reminded me a little bit of You by Caroline Kepnes mixed with a little bit of Karin Slaughter.

Would recommend to anybody looking for a dark, gothic, twisty novel in the vein of Caroline Kepnes or Karin Slaughter.

-Thank you to Goodreads, Wendy Heard, and MIRA Books for hosting this giveaway and giving me the opportunity to read and review.-

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Audiobook Review, Historical Fiction, Romance

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Next Year in HavanaNext Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Havana, oh-na-na! Half of my heart is in Havana, oh-na-na.

Ok, I’ll stop.

But seriously, this book oozed Cuba! I could see the colorful building and old antique cars. But, I could also feel the heartbreak and struggle of the Cuban people at the hands of an oppressive government.

This book is about the past and the present. It’s 1958 and Elisa Perez, the daughter of a sugar baron, lives the life of a debutante. Her family has money and her father’s business is supported by Batista, the US-backed Cuban president who suspended the 1940 Constitution and turned the country into anything but a democracy. When Elisa falls in love with Pablo, a Castro supporter and rebel, her life is about to get very complicated. Meanwhile, Miami 2017. Elisa Perez passes away and her granddaughter, Marisol, is tasked with spreading her ashes in Cuba. It will be Marisol’s first trip to Cuba, the land of her ancestors and her heritage. But, will she dig up some skeletons from the past?

First of all, I feel like I didn’t get a thorough history lesson in Cuba and the Cold War in high school. This book was pretty eye opening. For a fictional book, I learned a ton about Fidel Castro’s rise to power, and the promises that were made the Cuban people that never materialized. Let me tell you something, if there is ever a time when you’re questioning your life in America, you need to read this book. The worst day in America sounds better than the best day in Cuba. Freedom is something that we take for granted.

Chanel Cleeton’s writing was beautiful. I loved the character development. I felt a connection to both the people and the place. There was good tension throughout the book that kept me engaged and wanting to know more. In fact, I can’t wait for the sequel, When We Left Cuba, which is expected to be out in April 2019.

It should also be mentioned that this book was one of Reese Witherspoon’s book club picks, which are always fantastic.

Finally, this audiobook was done extremely well. Loved the multiple narrators that were part of the story. They had a little hint of a Cuban accent that just took me there. Loved it.

Can’t recommend this book enough. I think it’s such an important piece of history to understand that isn’t talked about enough.

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Audiobook Review, Mystery, Romance, Thriller

Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

GhostedGhosted by Rosie Walsh

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you asked me to describe how I feel about this book in one word: meh.

This book was fine. The concept was fine. The story was fine. It didn’t blow my mind but it was fine.

What’s the premise? Girl meets boy. Girl and boy fall in love in a matter of two weeks. Boy goes “ghost-mode” and falls off the face of the planet. Girl embarrassingly and desperately stalks boy to figure out why he’s not responding to herrrrrrrr……

I could NOT stand the main character in this book. I just wanted to say to her, “Girl, get a backbone. Have some self respect. Move on from this douche bag who won’t return your calls.” But no, she sits around and whines and mopes and cries about how the boy she has known for two weeks hasn’t call her back. Girl. Move on. He’s a jerk. Quit staring at your phone waiting for it to ding. Quit making excuses for him. Maybe “he’s just not that into you.” Don’t make me play the movie for you….

I digress.

Besides the embarrassment the main character bestowed on all independent women reading this book, the rest of the story was better. I think I liked the second half of the book much better than the first. It was kind of a mix between a thriller and a romance? Weird combination. The climax of the thriller portion happened around halfway through the book, and then it really turned into a romance from there on out.

There are more elements to the story that give it some depth which present themselves around the halfway point. And the characters have some difficult decisions to make and unique relationship dynamics are explored. This is where it got interesting for me.

Would I recommend this book to others? Probably not to be honest. Unless you enjoy listening to a tortured woman complain and pine over a man who leaves her high and dry. But who knows…. maybe I’m just crazy because I have lots of friends who really enjoyed it. Personally, I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it either. Again…. meh.

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