TV Netflix movie The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society vs #Audiobook by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows – #historicalfiction – #TBT

TV Netflix movie vs audiobook

“If books do have the power to bring people together, this one may work it’s magic.”

Trust the CE to find the pseudo-Hallmark of the week, in this instance, the Historical Fiction of the adaptation of a book published more than ten years previous amid vocal yays and nays. But, once again, my attention snagged, I sat and watched the two hour 3 minute movie with him. Seems we are in the grip of WWII stories and it doesn’t take much more than the slightest undertones of romance and a happy ever after to get the attention of those who hear the ka-ching in the wind. So yes, FIRST I watched the movie, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, although it was awhile before I noticed the audiobook come up at my local, well-stocked (audiobook) library. Once more I discovered quite the wide disparity of book vs TV version and glad I saw the Netflix rendering first.

Netflix Movie

No doubt most of my readers watched this movie before I did. Briefly, for those who haven’t, a successful London writer gets a letter from a resident of Guernsey and responds to his inquiry which begins an odyssey into the war history of the residents who invented a book club in the face of probable arrest by the Nazi occupiers.

In 1941, four friends confronted by soldiers of the German occupation invent a book club to explain why they’ve broken curfew. The historical romantic-drama borrowed heavily from the cast of Downton Abbey in forming a solid, immersive cast on film.

In 1946, Juliet Ashton receives an inquiry from one of the residents of Guernsey that sets off a barrage of correspondence eventually resulting in her move to the island to get to know them better and write a book about their WWII stories. Juliet has been writing successfully as Izzy Bickerstaff but explains to her publisher, Sidney Stark, that she wishes to write something of greater substance and senses a winning story.

It doesn’t take long to get to know the residents, appreciate their kindness, and understand their reticence in sharing emotional stories. Many of the stories keep revolving around another resident named Elizabeth, the founding member of the Society. Elizabeth’s daughter Kit was left with members of the Society when Elizabeth was arrested. She is still missing but hope remains for her return.

Juliet had left Mark in London expecting to return, an American in the armed forces, who proposed to her shortly before she left for Guernsey. He gleans info regarding Elizabeth for Juliet to relay to the Society, but her heart is now in Guernsey; the people, a man named Dawsey, Kit, and she’ll stay there.

Enter your happy ever after, queue the violins, swell the volume, fade to scenic pictures of the happy couple with the sun setting on the surf.

My Thoughts

Being a war baby, I got stories from my mother, the pictures, the music—the wartime mentality. Stamps for provisions, making due (chicory instead of coffee), darning until the clothes fell apart, shoes stuffed with paper or cardboard. So, yes, perhaps I tend to get a bit nostalgic. I’m not big on romance novels or movies, but there is more to this story than the romance both Juliet and Dawsey were denying. There is happiness gleaned in stories of triumph and the tragedy of loss. The scenes shot across England were beautiful, the clothing and hairstyles authentic. The production is engaging enough to forgive a few little details that might have been glossed over. 5 stars

Audiobook

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb…. 

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends – and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island – boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all. Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever. 

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

My Thoughts

WHOA! What a shock to discover the novel is actually Epistolary Fiction. Not that I haven’t read other books in that particular format, I guess, just that I didn’t know there was a name for that. Letters. A literary work made entirely in the form of letters. Hence, the multiple narrators (for the different characters in the audiobook).

Not at all what I was expecting. But then after a chapter or two, I expected it to evolve. It didn’t.

he Guernsey Literary and PPP Society audiobook coverFirst, the speed with which letters seem to fly back and forth left me wondering about post-wartime posts. With addresses disappearing daily during the raids and people missing, there was still the capacity of posting and receiving letters that fast?

Rather than trading letters and characters every chapter, I wished for some off-page narration. A little filler.

The letters, though written (and narrated) by different characters all seemed to have much the same sense of humor and insight. Only the character of Mark, the wealthy American, who was largely offensive, seemed distinct.

I did enjoy a number of the little side stories, dips into the characters for instance of Dawsey Adams, a pig farmer, and how a pig was used to dupe the Germans. I’m quite sure many such shenanigans were played, lightening the dark times just enough to make bearable another day under deplorable conditions.

Still, I was never able to become engaged with Juliet and the letters as laid out, always wanting to “fill in” what I perceived missing. 3 1/2 stars

Overall Impression

This would not have been my choice of reading had I known it was an Epistolary novel. And quite possibly, I’d have denied myself the pleasure of the book seen through the visionaries in the Netflix movie had I read the book first. So much is conveyed through sight and scene, the flashbacks, the instant impressions that make the movie come alive. The desperation, hurt, denial, and guilt, missing in part in the novel. The actors were superb. Their eyes spoke volumes. The letters failed to impart that emotion for me.

I have to give the Netflix movie the nod over the novel. If you haven’t had the pleasure, even at this late date, look for it.

Book Details

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Genre: World War II Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Publisher:  Random House Audio (Unabridged)
ASIN: B001FVJIN8
Listening Length: 8 hrs 7 min
Narrator:  Paul BoehmerSusan DuerdenRosalyn LandorJohn LeeJuliet Mills
Audible Release: September 2, 2008
Publication Date: August 1, 2006
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Publisher: The Dial Press
Genre: Epistolary Fiction, Historical World War II Fiction, World War Historical Fiction
Print Length: 306 pages
ISBN : 0385341008
ASIN: B0015DWJX2
Publication Date: July 29, 2008
Title Link: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society [Amazon]

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Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows - authorsThe Authors: Mary Ann Shaffer who passed away in February 2008, worked as an editor, librarian, and in bookshops. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was her first novel.

Annie Barrows - author[Goodreads] Mary Ann Shaffer worked as an editor, a librarian, and in bookshops. Her life-long dream was to someday write her own book and publish it. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was her first novel. Unfortunately, she became very ill with cancer and so she asked her niece, Annie Barrows, the author of the children’s series Ivy and Bean, as well as The Magic Half, to help her finish the book. Mary Ann Shaffer died in February 2008, a few months before her first novel was published.

The Narrators: Paul BoehmerSusan DuerdenRosalyn LandorJohn LeeJuliet Mills

Juliet Maryon Mills (born 21 November 1941) is a British-American actress of film, stage, and television. She is the daughter of actor Sir John Mills and Mary Hayley Bell born November 1, 1941 in London and the eldest of three siblings; her younger siblings are actress Hayley Mills and director Jonathan Mills. [Wikipedia]

©2021 V Williams

happy thursday!

Dry Bones: A Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 11) by Craig Johnson – #Audiobook Review #TBT #westerns

Ddry Bones by Craig Johnson

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

When Jen, the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found, surfaces in Sherriff Walt Longmire’s jurisdiction, it appears to be a windfall for the High Plains Dinosaur Museum – until Danny Lone Elk, the Cheyenne rancher on whose property the remains were discovered, turns up dead, floating face down in a turtle pond. With millions of dollars at stake, a number of groups step forward to claim her, including Danny’s family, the tribe, and the federal government.

As Wyoming’s acting deputy attorney and a cadre of FBI officers descend on the town, Walt is determined to find out who would benefit from Danny’s death, enlisting old friends Lucian Connolly and Omar Rhoades – along with Dog and best friend Henry Standing Bear – to trawl the vast Lone Elk ranch, looking for answers to a 65-million-year-old cold case that’s heating up fast. 

My Review:

Not the first time I’ve reviewed a book by Craig Johnson, and I’m currently listening to another in the Walt Longmire mystery series. I absolutely love this series, and I’m sure in no small part owing to the narration by George Guidall. The CE and I burned through the Longmire TV series on Netflix, even trying to discipline ourselves and watch only three per night and now listening to the audiobooks can see those characters in each of the novels.

Wyoming and many of those northern states were the site of dinosaur finds, so many of the enlightening facts included here isn’t that far off non-fiction.

Dry Bones by Craig JohnsonIn this narrative, Danny Lone Elk is found dead in a pond and an archeologist named Jennifer discovers a tyrannosaurus rex she names Jen (on Lone Elk’s property). The problem stems from custody as it was found on a Cheyenne reservation, sparking quite the fight over ownership which would the funds possibly received in an auction. (And of course, few have not heard of Sue, the T-Rex found by an archeologist named Sue Hendrickson on the reservation. Yes, in auction we’re talking millions of dollars that eventually took Sue to the Chicago Field Museum.)

Given the extent of the find, the possible worth, and the custody battle, it’s quite the well-paced plot and he is still seeking answers to Danny Lone Elk, joined by his long time buddy, Henry Standing Bear, owner/operator of the Red Pony (“and continual soiree”).

Yes, okay, it’s a “western.” Sorta, but not. It does take place in Wyoming, after all, in (fictional) Absaroka County where Walt Longmire is sheriff. But this is a modern day western beautifully infused by the author’s atmospheric descriptions of the land and the people. And quite the diverse people they are—the traditions, the folklore. And the animals—horses—they still do have “cowboys” who ride horses and wear those hats.

And you can’t wish for a more disparate group of characters, from the stalwart protagonist Walt to Vic, his undersheriff (who lacks a mouth filter), and his faithful dog, Dog. The author imparts his sense of humor, Henry Standing Bear the wisdom and spirituality, and the women some testosterone control. There’s a reason they call it “the wild west.”

You can’t go wrong with a Longmire episode. Nice to have some knowledge of the characters, but you can start this series most anywhere as a standalone and quickly get up to speed. I’ve listened to a number of books in this series and reviewed a few including An Obvious Fact and The Highwayman. The novels are all great, some even better, and George Guidall is consistently excellent.

Book Details:

Genre: Native American Literature, Westerns
Publisher:  Recorded Books
ASIN: B00W2BQHA2
Print Length: 320 pages
Listening Length: 8 hrs 16 mins
Narrator: George Guidall
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Dry Bones

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Craig Johnson - authorThe Author: Craig Johnson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Longmire mysteries, the basis for the hit Netflix original series Longmire. He is the recipient of the Western Writers of America Spur Award for fiction, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award for fiction, the Nouvel Observateur Prix du Roman Noir, and the Prix SNCF du Polar. His novella Spirit of Steamboat was the first One Book Wyoming selection. He lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population 25.

George Guidall - audiobook narratorThe Narrator: George Guidall is a prolific audiobook narrator and theatre actor. As of November 2014, he had recorded over 1,270 audiobooks, which was believed to be the record at the time. Wikipedia

©2021 V Williams

happy thursday!

The Late Show by Michael Connelly – #Audiobook Review – #policeprocedural #TBT

The Late Show by Michael Connelly

(Amazon) Editors PickBest Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Book Blurb:

From New York Times best-selling author Michael Connelly, a new thriller introducing a driven young detective trying to prove herself in the LAPD.

Renée Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none, as each morning she turns her cases over to day shift detectives. A once up-and-coming detective, she’s been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.

But one night she catches two cases she doesn’t want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn. Against orders and her own partner’s wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night. As the cases entwine, they pull her closer to her own demons and the reason she won’t give up her job, no matter what the department throws at her.

My Review:

Yes, I suppose I’d been living under a rock when I reviewed my first ever Michael Connelly book, The Law of Innocence (a Mickey Haller Book #7 of the Harry Bosch Universe) late last year. Sorry, not having any experience with the Harry Bosch series, I was plunking down into the middle of the Haller series. This time I thought I’d start with the first of his Detective Renée Ballard Mystery series.

The Late Show by Michael ConnellyDetective Ballard has been through the whole sexual harassment thing with a supervisor and the loss of her six protection from the partner who witnessed the incident and didn’t back her. She’s landed on the night shift—The Late Show—in LA.

Ten years on the job and working with men, she can be abrupt, speaking her mind and standing her ground. She exudes attitude.

Ballard and her night shift partner (who tends a sick wife at home) confronts two situations: one, a transsexual woman beaten and left for dead. In the second, she assists with a nightclub shooting where five people have been shot to death. In each, she is to merely take notes and names and hand it to the day shift detectives. But with either of these two, she can’t.

Ballard keeps up a physical schedule that includes surfing—paddleboarding—and it is learned that her dad drowned under those circumstances and that she has a couple friends with benefits and her dog, Lola. But her work is her life and she’s like a dog with a bone—she’ll investigate on her own time.

I like this character. She’s strong, independent, watches her own back now, and knows where she’s going. I definitely preferred this one over the one noted above, finding more I could emphasize with, enjoying the description of the LA valley, the diversity, and the description of the Pacific and those southern California waves. I’ll be looking for the second in this series as I understand there are only four. No prob.

The Late Show by Michael Connolly

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Suspense Thrillers, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Hachette Audio
ASIN: B06Y5SW7T1
Print Length: 318 pages
Listening Length: 9 hrs 23 mins

Narrator: Katherine Moennig
Publication Date: July 18, 2017
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Late Show

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Michael Connelly - authorThe Author: Michael Connelly is the bestselling author of over thirty novels and one work of nonfiction. With over eighty million copies of his books sold worldwide and translated into forty foreign languages, he is one of the most successful writers working today. A former newspaper reporter who worked the crime beat at the Los Angeles Times and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Connelly has won numerous awards for his journalism and his fiction. His very first novel, The Black Echo, won the prestigious Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1992. In 2002, Clint Eastwood directed and starred in the movie adaptation of Connelly’s 1998 novel, Blood Work. In March 2011, the movie adaptation of his #1 bestselling novel, The Lincoln Lawyer, hit theaters worldwide starring Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller. His most recent New York Times bestsellers include The Law Of Innocence, Fair Warning, The Night Fire, Dark Sacred Night, Two Kinds Of Truth, and The Late Show. Michael is the executive producer of BOSCH, an Amazon Studios original drama series based on his bestselling character Harry Bosch, starring Titus Welliver and streaming on Amazon Prime. He is also the executive producer of the documentary films, SOUND OF REDEMPTION: The Frank Morgan Story and Tales Of the American. He spends his time in California and Florida.

Katherine Moennig - narratorThe Narrator: Born on December 29, 1977 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US as Katherine Sian Moennig, she is an American actress and producer, best known for the role of Shane McCutcheon in The L Word (2004). Her father was William H. Moennig III and her mother was Mary Zahn, a Broadway dancer. She is of Irish and German ancestry. At 18 she moved to New York City, where she studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She’s been married to a Brazilian film director and musician Ana Rezende since 2017.

©2021 V Williams

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey – #Audiobook Review – Biographies

Amazon Charts #2 this week

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

 

Most of the times it’s not stolen, it’s right where you left it. 

Book Blurb:

Number one New York Times best seller Over one million copies sold!

From the Academy Award-winning actor, an unconventional memoir filled with raucous stories, I’ve been in this life for 50 years, been trying to work out its riddle for 42, and been keeping diaries of clues to that riddle for the last 35. Notes about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less. How to be a good man. How to have meaning in life. How to be more me. 

Recently, I worked up the courage to sit down with those diaries. I found stories I experienced, lessons I learned and forgot, poems, prayers, prescriptions, beliefs about what matters, some great photographs, and a whole bunch of bumper stickers. I found a reliable theme, an approach to living that gave me more satisfaction, at the time, and still: If you know how, and when, to deal with life’s challenges – how to get relative with the inevitable – you can enjoy a state of success I call “catching greenlights”. So I took a one-way ticket to the desert and wrote this book: an album, a record, a story of my life so far. This is 50 years of my sights and seens, felts and figured-outs, cools and shamefuls. Graces, truths, and beauties of brutality. Getting away withs, getting caughts, and getting wets while trying to dance between the raindrops. Hopefully, it’s medicine that tastes good, a couple of aspirin instead of the infirmary, a spaceship to Mars without needing your pilot’s license, going to church without having to be born again, and laughing through the tears. It’s a love letter. To life. It’s also a guide to catching more greenlights – and to realizing that the yellows and reds eventually turn green, too. Good luck.

“…outlaw wisdom, and lessons learned the hard way about living with greater satisfaction.”

My Review:

Ugh! I’ve never been a fan of Matthew McConaughey. And if I can’t switch channels fast enough to NOT see another of his Lincoln TV commercials, it’ll be too soon.

I won’t deny that I don’t find him attractive. The problem is that he comes off egotistical, flaunting it (like most Hollywood women?). Narcissistic. Yeah, that too.

Greenlights by Matthew McConaugheySo why then, when I saw his audiobook come up on my wonderful library selections did I hit “request?” You’ve got me. No clue. And I’m not usually one to follow Hollywood types. The way they live is so beyond my imagination, I can’t even feign interest.

However…

McConaughey begins his book with an introduction to his early life in lower middle class east Texas. Begins with stories about his family. I’m hooked.

Strictly audiobook, strictly McConaughey and his quiet intimate voice but as he gets into his storytelling, becomes animated with nostalgic memories. And then his intro to the Hollywood scene—perhaps it all comes off too easy—and that throws him. An oft told story. Oh, he handles it with booze and women alright, pranks, and then comes his first (***) dream. (I’ll let you fill in the blank. Yeah, graphic, but not the first.)

So now MM turns into Monk McConaughey as he pushes off to seek the truth of life. Gimme a break. Would that we could all disappear for months at a time to seek the truth of life—or would I? Nah. In the quest of second and third dreams, he travels Africa and South America. (He’s already done Europe by motorcycle with two of his buddies.) And he does come back with some hard truths. Now McConaughey turns Texas Baptist preacher and mounts his pulpit. He punctuates his memoir with memorable stories or experiences that taught him little pearls of wisdom which he notes as:

PRESCRIPTION!

NOTE TO SELF! or

BUMPER STICKER!

These he almost invariably shouts. ARGH! Unfortunately, I almost invariably enjoyed them. Gees! Don’t encourage him!

It’s better to jump then fall.

 Blue collar prayers – `I need` / White collar prayers – `I want`.

It’s classified as a biography, memoir, and also personal development or self-help and his many travels and experiences have enabled him a Ghandi range of personal development and self-help ideas—many of the latter loaded into the conclusion—almost to preachy levels.

Experiences seen as problems, difficulties, crises, quandaries, and hindrances eventually turned to his “greenlights” which he is happy to share. An over-abundance of optimism. Maybe we need that right now.

If you think you might enjoy a well narrated, lively novel by Machismo Matt, go for it. If all those laughin’, scratchin’, and testosterone-driven stories might not be your cup of tea, you might want to pass. I will say, however, that it turns out he is human. It is highly entertaining and you never know what the next chapter will bring you—maybe another story you’d like to live vicariously.

Book Details:

Genre: (#1 in:) Biographies, Personal Development, Self-Help
Publisher:  Random House Audio
ASIN: B08HLW2JXD
Print Length: 288 pages
Listening Length: 6 hrs 42 mins
Narrator: Matthew McConaughey 
Publication Date: October 20, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Greenlights

 

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Matthew McConaughey - actor-authorThe Author: Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey is a married man, a father of three children, and a loyal son and brother. He considers himself a storyteller by occupation, believes it’s okay to have a beer on the way to the temple, feels better with a day’s sweat on him, and is an aspiring orchestral conductor.

In 2009, Matthew and his wife, Camila, founded the just keep livin Foundation, which helps at-risk high school students make healthier mind, body, and spirit choices. In 2019, McConaughey became a professor of practice at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as Minister of Culture/M.O.C. for the University of Texas and the City of Austin. McConaughey is also brand ambassador for Lincoln Motor Company, an owner of the Major League Soccer club Austin FC, and co-creator of his favorite bourbon on the planet, Wild Turkey Longbranch.

©V Williams

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It: A Mystery by Elle Cosimano – #Audiobook Review – Humorous Fiction

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five Stars 5 stars

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

Book Blurb:

“Getting the job done” for one single mom takes on a whole new meaning in Finlay Donovan is Killing It, a deliciously witty adult debut – the first in a brilliant new series from YA Edgar Award nominee Elle Cosimano.

FINLAY DONOVAN IS KILLING IT…except, she’s really not. The new book she promised her literary agent isn’t written, her ex-husband fired the nanny without telling her, and this morning she had to send her four-year-old to school with hair duct-taped to her head.


When Finlay’s overheard discussing the plot of her new novel with her agent over lunch, she’s mistaken for a contract killer and inadvertently accepts an offer to dispose of a problem husband in order to make ends meet…and she soon discovers that crime in real life is a lot more difficult than its fictional counterpart.  

My Review:

Is a mystery, contract killer supposed to be funny? Yes! This one’s a hoot! I totally devoured this audiobook, leaving the buds in while cleaning house (found more things to clean) and cooking dinner. One catastrophe after another, stupid decisions, and circumstances that force a situation you’d never find yourself in. Well, I wouldn’t.

But this is a crime-romance(?) writer having a major case of writer’s block, a divorced wife of a husband who found sweeter pastures with another woman, two children including a precocious four year old, an agent who won’t leave her alone, and bills piling up like snowflakes in winter.

And WHERE is that babysitter-housekeeper?!!

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle CosimanoWhen Finlay meets her agent at Panera’s (where she’s previously been banned) she is overheard discussing the mystery plot with her agent and is badly misunderstood by another desperate wife. Who leaves her a contract note with an attractive $$figure.

A normally intelligent albeit very desperate person, she won’t do it. But then, curious, she decides to check out the target. Just checking.

Well, you know how one innocent thing leads to another? And then that escalates beyond control, and trying to get out of the situation only makes it worse?

Enter Vero. Yah gotta love her.

In Finlay’s defense, it’s not like she is a professional. No clue what she is doing or who she is dealing with. She’s not stupid. Well, maybe she is and there is no way out. And you know how “word of mouth” works. It could happen.

I really liked Nick and Julian—great, possible romantic interests—and Vero is a keeper. Some of the scenes with the kids brought back memories as well as the noisy level of chaos. Her sister is another great support character. Loved the backfires of the plans, the twists, the dialogue and the way the narrator delivered the well-paced plot.

The only thing I didn’t love? Well, the conclusion was very satisfying—but that little bit in the epilogue? Ah, no. Overall, a rollicking good time, just roll with it. It’s not meant to be a “how to.” Heartily recommended—most especially in audiobook format.

Book Details:

Genre: Humorous Fiction, Women Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio

  • ISBN-13: 1250241707
  • ASIN: B088KRYQXZ

Print Length: 363 pages
Listening Length: 9 hrs 59 mins
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Finlay Donovan Is Killing It

Add to GoodreadsElle Cosimano - authorThe Author: Elle’s debut thriller NEARLY GONE was a 2015 Edgar Award Finalist, winner of the ITW 2015 International Thriller Award for Best Young Adult Novel, and was awarded the 2015 Mathical Book Award recognizing mathematics in children’s literature. Her novel HOLDING SMOKE was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award and the International Thriller Award. Her novels have appeared on several statewide school and library reading lists. You can learn more about Elle at her website: http://www.ElleCosimano.com.

Photo courtesy of Powell Woulfe Photography

The Narrator: Angela Dawe is an actor and improviser working with the Annoyance Theater and Second City in Chicago. Originally from Lansing, Michigan, Angela’s career has encompassed stage, television, and film work, in addition to award-winning audiobook narrations, which include young adult, suspense, romance, and historical fiction titles.

©V Williams me

Normal People: A Novel by Sally Rooney – #Audiobook Review – #literaryfiction – #readingirelandmonth21

Normal People by Sally Rooney

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Literature & Fiction

Book Blurb:

Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. At school, Connell is popular and well liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation – awkward but electrifying – something life changing begins.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

Normal People is the story of mutual fascination, friendship, and love. It takes us from that first conversation to the years beyond, in the company of two people who try to stay apart but find that they can’t. 

My Review:

OMG, I HOPE that Marianne and Connell are NOT “normal” people.

The storyline begins while they are still in school in a small town in West Ireland. And then for the next four years, the plot revolves around each with their own POV, going to college in Dublin, meeting other people, discovering new talents or the lack thereof, and maturing, except in their relationship.

Normal People by Sally RooneyBoth knew they had a strong connection early on. But Connell hails from the other side of the tracks. He strongly feels his inferior place in her life—she is a daughter from a wealthy, entitled family. While he is the product of a poor mother who loves and supports him, her family is detached, dysfunctional. They each carry their upbringing on their shoulders. It weighs on them. But each time their lives cross, that mutual powerful attraction between them begins where it left off.

Then they go their separate ways again, each to new lovers or experiences, unsatisfying, incomplete, and, what do you know? Their lives cross again—and again—and still they deny the full disclosure of their feelings toward each other.

The plot explores the sharp divide between classes, bullying, dysfunctional families, self-esteem, and the baggage of childhood—left open ended.

Obvious from the beginning they love each other.

So GET OVER IT!

As the reader progresses through each meet up and hopes they’ll finally have that last, final, heart-to-heart going between them, the time wasted comes ever more sharply into focus.

Two intelligent adults. And the clock is ticking. Each get-together lacking that all too important communication. Tomorrow is not promised.

It’s downright depressing.

I didn’t realize I was in the conclusion until the whole story ended. There was no plot really, not necessary to tie anything up, it just ended. No change, no closure—there never was going to be one. What was the point? It’s one of those books that just left me—meh.

Book Details:

Genre: Coming of Age Fiction, Literary Fiction
Publisher:  Random House Audio
ASIN: B07PC2K62C
Listening Length: 7 hrs 34 mins
Narrator: Aoife McMahon
Publication Date: April 16, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Normal People [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Three Stars three stars

Sally Rooney - authorThe Author: SALLY ROONEY was born in the west of Ireland in 1991. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Granta and The London Review of Books. Winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in 2017, she is the author of Conversations with Friends and the editor of the Irish literary journal The Stinging Fly.

Aoife McMahan - narratorThe Narrator: Aoife McMahon was born in 1973 in Clare, Ireland. She is known for her work on Random Passage (2002), Broken (2017) and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (2013).

©2021 V Williams

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue – An #Audiobook Review – #medicalfiction #readingirelandmonth21 – #TBT

‘…Influenza delle stelle – the influence of the stars. Medieval Italians thought the illness proved that the heavens were governing their fates.’

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue - audiobookMy second contribution to the #begorrahthon. 

Book Blurb:

In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city center, where expectant mothers who have come down with the terrible new flu are quarantined together. Into Julia’s regimented world step two outsiders – Doctor Kathleen Lynn, a rumoured Rebel on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.

In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over three days, these women change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work. 

In The Pull of the Stars, Emma Donoghue once again finds the light in the darkness in this new classic of hope and survival against all odds.

My Review:

Just in time for our current pandemic state, along comes the author with her emotional tome set during 1918 Dublin. As if the world wasn’t still fighting a war, the viral fed Influenza of 1918 was killing more than those involved in the conflict.

The Pull of the Stars by Emma DonoghueNurse Julia Powers is an experienced, savvy nurse, where the maternity ward has been sectioned off and quarantined those with the flu symptoms. Desperate for help, Nurse Julia is joined by Bridie Sweeney, a local resident of the religious institution where she grew up, but having no education or experience in health services. She is also visited from the regular maternity ward by Dr. Kathleen Lynn, a Sinn Fein rebel, successfully avoiding so far being caught.

A strong parallel to the current epidemic with short supplies, escalating numbers, staffing, efforts to train and manage the population with proper sanitary procedures, but that is largely where the similarities end as there were no vaccines until the 30s when many of the home grown remedies were discarded.

No, this is a whole nother story, deeply rooted in the capacity of the nurse to love and care for her patients while her hands in a male dominated medical world are largely tied to doctors who quickly segregate care by the patient’s economic level. Waiting for even the capacity to apply fever or pain mediums, helpless to watch as her patients steadily lose ground in the interim. Amazing her quick thinking so often exhibited with her knowledge of hands on, education, and sharing.

The entire timeline covers no more than several days but packs so many disturbing details in the cringe-worthy descriptions, it has your teeth shuddering. As a woman having borne children, not difficult to remember the difference between front and back labor pain, but the practice of actually splitting the pubic bone (symphysiotomy or pubiotomy) had me terrified at the mental image.

As the stories of each in her ward are examined, it’s easy to become engaged in their welfare and root for their successful birthing experience and triumph over the flu symptoms. Nurse Julia has seen it all and her one light in the catastrophic scenario is her friendship with Bridie and the growing respect for Dr. Lynn (who in real life performed an amazing job both medically and socially in her fight for the treatment of women).

It’s a heartbreaking story, enveloping the reader in the dark and dreary times; the daily struggles of living another day in Ireland during the worst of poverty, famine, ignorance, religious, social, and sexual abuses. I was blind-sided by the short and unexpected romantic tryst near the conclusion, but the narrative is as educational as sensitive and disturbing.

Book Details:

Genre: Medical Fiction, LGBT Historical Fiction, World War I Historical Fiction
Publisher:  Hackette Audio
ASIN: B089X4V3HR
Listening Length: 9 hrs 6 mins
Narrator: Emma Lowe
Publication Date: July 21, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Pull of the Stars [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Emma Donoghue - authorThe Author: Born in Dublin in 1969, Emma Donoghue is a writer of contemporary and historical fiction whose novels include the international bestseller “Room” (her screen adaptation was nominated for four Oscars), “Frog Music”, “Slammerkin,” “The Sealed Letter,” “Landing,” “Life Mask,” “Hood,” and “Stirfry.” Her story collections are “Astray”, “The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits,” “Kissing the Witch,” and “Touchy Subjects.” She also writes literary history, and plays for stage and radio. She lives in London, Ontario, with her partner and their two children.

The Narrator: Emma Lowe is a Watty Award winning author, who writes urban fantasy novels for both adults and young adults. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, Emma attends university where she studies a Bachelor of Art in Creative Writing.

With a strong passion for the written word, Emma has also been published in Girlfriend magazine for her novel, Newborn (Helena Series) and other upcoming projects.

Aside from writing, Emma enjoys reading fantasy and horror novels, watching “one episode” from her favourite TV series, and admits to having a “small” obsession with cats. Though she has an extremely busy schedule, Emma plans to expand on the evergrowing world that is Helena Series, including its spin off origin series. On top of that, Emma is working on C.A.T Academy along with several other secret projects.

Emma’s first published book, Newborn, follows the tale of a young woman named Helena who witnesses a supernatural murder and is sucked into an underground world full of mythical creatures, a complex love hectogon, and a mystical prophecy that entails a brewing undead war on the horizon.

©2021 V Williams