Audiobook Review, Mystery, Thriller

The Turn of the KeyThe Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I love Ruth Ware! There is just something about her gothic writing style that resonates with me and I enjoy everything she writes. I have to admit that my favorite is The Death of Mrs. Westaway and her newest unfortunately did not knock my socks off but I still enjoyed it.

One quick side note…. All of Ruth Ware’s audiobooks are narrated by Imogen Church and she is fabulous. Her voice and style go hand in hand perfectly with the spirit of Ruth Ware’s work. I hope she continues to narrate her stories in the future.

This story was a tad different from everything else I’ve read by Ruth Ware and frankly I’ve grown a tad tired of thrillers with a nanny as a central character. They seem a bit overdone right now. I did enjoy the ghost story quality to the story but wasn’t overly excited about the ending. It was a good book and I enjoyed it but it didn’t knock my socks off. Given how excited I was for Ware’s latest release, I was a little bit let down.

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Audiobook Review, Horror, Mystery, Thriller

The Possession by Michael Rutger

The Possession (The Anomaly Files #2)The Possession by Michael Rutger

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After falling in love with The Anomaly last year (it was definitely in my top 18 of 2018) I almost squealed when I found out author Michael Rutger was publishing a sequel.

Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the same connection with The Possession. It wasn’t bad. It just didn’t give me all the feels the way The Anomaly did. The great thing about The Anomaly is was how Michael Rutger incorporated elements of science and created a paranormal story line that in the realms of my imagination could have been true. The science all made sense and I thought the outcome was pretty genius. Unfortunately in The Possession I felt like he leaned more on the paranormal and less on the scientific which is where is kind of fell apart for me.

There were times in the middle where the story got a little convoluted, confusing, and muddled. I had a hard time picturing some of the paranormal elements in my head. I wasn’t sure what was going on at times.

And although it ended up wrapping up well, I didn’t feel that it was as strong as the first book in the series. But still worth checking out if you enjoyed The Anomaly.

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Audiobook Review, Historical Fiction

The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve

The Stars Are FireThe Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was the July pick for my book club. Genre: historical fiction.

It’s a tad hard to summarize The Stars are Fire because it’s kind of just an ongoing series of events. I didn’t really feel like it had a hook that drew me in and kept me wanting more. It was kind of just a story about a woman’s life from Point A to Point B.

Grace has a husband and two kids. Her husband is kind of a jerk. One day a fire takes over her home and her husband goes missing. Alone with two children she finds herself trying to start over. But as an isolated and sheltered housewife she will need to learn a whole set of life skills she hasn’t previously had to use.

The story was good and interesting so please don’t interpret my previous statements as overtly negative. I enjoyed the characters and appreciated their lives as told by the author. But, I did find myself losing interest along the way due to the lack of overall direction.

In addition, other than being set in the 1940’s it didn’t feel all that “historical.” Removing some of the references to the past, this story could have taken place in present day.

All in all, this one was just okay for me. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it.

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Audiobook Review, Historical Fiction

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid SunsA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is utterly life changing and I’m:

1. Sad that it took me so long to read it, and;
2. Pleasantly surprised that it was written by a man.

In one of the book-oriented groups I participate in on Facebook, somebody asked if her teenage daughter should read The Nightingale or A Thousand Splendid Suns for one of their high school classes. As The Nightingale is my favorite book of all time and I had never read A Thousand Splendid Suns, I was quick to recommend the former. But after reading the recommendations of others, several people remarked that young adults are provided with a plethora of information about WWII, but rarely are they given an in depth look at the struggles in the Middle East. I thought that was an excellent point, and decided to read the book for myself to learn more.

Wow, was I pleasantly surprised. This book really details the struggles of the Afghani people over the 3 decades leaving up to the tragedy on September 11th, 2001. How the Soviet Union played a role in shaping the country. How the Taliban slowly took power and wreaked havoc on the people of Afghanistan. And mostly, how the women of the country were affected. This is probably my favorite part of the book… the deep dive into how women endured and survived through horrific oppression and abuse. And I could not believe that it was written by a man. Incredibly impressive writing from Khaled Hosseini.

The story tells of a young woman who was born out of wedlock and is therefore not claimed by her father. At the age of 15, a marriage is arranged with a much older man named Rasheed who is horrendously abusive and she is shipped off to the city of Kabul. Meanwhile, a baby girl is born down the street. 14 years later, as the fighting escalates in Kabul, the baby-girl-turned-young-woman also finds herself the victim of Rasheed’s tyranny. The story revolves around the two women, their relationship, and how they withstood their awful circumstances in Afghanistan.

This book really gave me a glimpse into how lucky I am to have been born in America. It gives me an incredible respect for people who live in countries that must endure oppressive governments, horrific violence and abuse, and years of injustice. I think those who commented on the Facebook post that prompted me to read this book were absolutely right; this is an important book for young adults to read and understand. Although I must warn that there are significant potential triggers in the book including: rape, domestic violence, abuse, etc.

I know I’m late to the party on this one, but if you haven’t already read it, I would highly recommend it. It’s absolutely eye opening.

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Audiobook Review, General Fiction (Adult), Humor, Mystery

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where'd You Go, BernadetteWhere’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I’m a little bit late to the party on this one since it published in 2012 but I’ve been wanting to read it for a while so I was excited when I was able to get ahold of it from the library.

If you’re looking for something fun, quirky, unique, different, and in its own wheelhouse, Where’d You Go, Bernadette is the perfect choice.

Bernadette’s daughter Bee wants to go on a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette is still adjusting to living the life she never wanted in Seattle, Washington and may be on the verge of a mental breakdown. And when Bernadette disappears, Bee is forced to weave together clues to where her mother has gone.

Told in the form of emails, letters, memos, transcripts, the format was ultimately the best and worst thing about this book. I am always a sucker for authors who write in a unique format other than strictly prose. I love the level of creativity. And I think I would have enjoyed this book’s format a lot more if I had read it rather than listened to the audio. Because on audio it did become a tad hard to follow.

But, that being said, the narrator, Kathleen Wilhoite, was one of the most fabulous narrators I’ve ever heard. She totally did the characters justice in voice, personality, and spirit. So even though the format made the audio version challenging, the narrator made up for it in storytelling.

At times, I did struggle to understand how all the pieces of the story fit together and flowed. And while it did come together in the end, there were portions of the book where I found myself zoning out because I wasn’t quite sure what was going on. That being said, I think if I were to read it again, I would probably appreciate it much more than the first time around.

Ultimately, although my numeric rating is on the lower side, I would still highly recommend reading this book just for the experience. It’s a gem.

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