The Guest List: A Novel by Lucy Foley – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Book Blurb:

A Reese’s Book Club Pick

The bride – the plus one – the best man – the wedding planner – the bridesmaid – the body.

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why? 

My Review:

When I wrote a post about joining a book club back in May 2020, I included Reese Witherspoon in the picks and joined her club, getting book club choices and posts from time to time. No, I didn’t see this one, and usually, an island, a murder mystery—I’d have been onboard. But it wasn’t until I saw this in the audiobook selections that I actually noted it was a Witherspoon pick and now I’m confused—it’s a bestseller?

The Guest List by Lucy FoleyFirst, the setting: an Island off the coast of Ireland, solid with bogs worse than quicksand and rocky, sheer cliffs into the ocean that had me terrified just reading about it.

Then add to the island a large (well, I consider 150 wedding guests to be large) wedding party in all phases of drunk or stoned, the ole’ boys club from uni, Jules, the bride, successful editor, as is the groom, a successful TV personality.

This has got to be the most depressing wedding ever (well, except possibly for my own), told in multiple POV’s from the bride, groom, plus one, best man, wedding planner, and bridesmaid. It also bounced time frames from the university experience to the present.

I needed an engaging character, but there wasn’t any. Privileged, monied, educated, all keeping secrets, prejudices, injustices, and selfish, narcissistic.

The atmosphere is toxic leading the reader to correctly assume someone isn’t going to make it out alive. Pretty obvious who that will be—he’s positively obnoxious. Which also opens the door to the person who’ll knock him off. Well, really, if you’ve been listening to the narrative (although I agree it gets difficult), you’ll have a pretty good idea who that might be.

Between the rotating POV chapters and the timelines, it takes forever to say the vows. Phew! But no, the reader/listener still has to survive the reception—well, most will survive except for one of the characters.

Takes too long to get to it, plot holes, unrelatable and nasty characters. (And need I mention objectionable language?) It was a relief when it quietly ended and skipped right into an intro for another book. Not sure I missed something but by then didn’t care.

So tell me–have you read this? A typical example of her writing style? Do I dare try another?

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers,
Publisher: HarperAudio
ASIN: B07WSFQHSX
Listening Length: 10 hrs 22 mins
Narrators: Jot DaviesChloe MasseyOlivia DowdAoife McMahonSarah OvensRich Keeble
Publication Date: June 2, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Guest List [Amazon] 

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Three Starsthree stars

Lucy Foley - authorThe Author: Lucy Foley studied English Literature at Durham and UCL universities and worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry, before leaving to write full-time. The Hunting Party is her debut crime novel, inspired by a particularly remote spot in Scotland that fired her imagination.

Lucy is also the author of three historical novels, which have been translated into sixteen languages. Her journalism has appeared in ES Magazine, Sunday Times Style, Grazia and more.

Say hello at http://www.facebook.com/LucyFoleyAuthor and follow Lucy on Twitter @LucyFoleyTweets and Instagram @LucyFoleyAuthor

©2021 – V Williams V Williams

False Witness: A Novel by Karin Slaughter – #Audiobook Review – #legalthriller

False Witness by Karin Slaughter

Book Blurb:

AN ORDINARY LIFE…

Leigh Collier has worked hard to build what looks like a normal life. She’s an up-and-coming defense attorney at a prestigious law firm in Atlanta, would do anything for her sixteen-year-old daughter Maddy, and is managing to successfully coparent through a pandemic after an amicable separation from her husband Walter.

HIDES A DEVASTATING PAST…

But Leigh’s ordinary life masks a childhood no one should have to endure … a childhood tarnished by secrets, broken by betrayal, and ultimately destroyed by a brutal act of violence.

BUT NOW THE PAST IS CATCHING UP…

On a Sunday night at her daughter’s school play, she gets a call from one of the firm’s partners who wants Leigh to come on board to defend a wealthy man accused of multiple counts of rape. Though wary of the case, it becomes apparent she doesn’t have much choice if she wants to keep her job. They’re scheduled to go to trial in one week. When she meets the accused face-to-face, she realizes that it’s no coincidence that he’s specifically asked for her to represent him. She knows him. And he knows her. More to the point, he may know what happened over twenty years ago, and why Leigh has spent two decades avoiding her past.  

AND TIME IS RUNNING OUT.

Suddenly she has a lot more to lose than this case. The only person who can help is her younger, estranged sister Callie—the last person Leigh would ever want to drag into this after all they’ve been through. But with the life-shattering truth in danger of being revealed, she has no choice…

My Review:

Another author for whom I’ve seen tons of books, reviews, and accolades, I bit when I saw the massive selection of books, both ebooks and audiobooks listed at my favorite local library.  I’ll never understand why an author would pack what might otherwise be viewed as a well plotted, fast-paced five star contender with language that would make even a sailor blush. And this one was so blatantly graphic, violent, and brutal, I almost gave up on it several times.

False Witness by Karin SlaughterThe narrative crawled like a centipede up the back of my neck, raising hairs, and would not be swatted away.

The main character, Leigh, a defense attorney, may not be the most sympathetic character over that of her younger sister, Callie. Callie becomes a heroin addict following a catastrophic accident. A child gymnast and cheerleader, the resulting broken neck left her with unrelenting pain. Further, she was babysitting a boy whose father began abusing her. Callie finds herself in a life and death struggle with the father and ends up killing him. She calls her older sister and together they deal with it—the body, the scene, and the money which pays for Leigh’s college.

Neither of the two can escape the lingering trauma and Leigh is left with crushing guilt over the resulting spiral of her sister. It’s all her fault. All her fault! She’d given the babysitting job to her sister burying her experience with the boy’s father.

Now 20 years later, Leigh finds herself defending Andrew in a horrific rape case. Turns out, Andrew is Trevor, the son of the man they disposed of. He is now a very wealthy sexual predator, a vicious psychopath, a 33 year old following the path of dear ole dad.

The author has developed her characters so well, a reader might very well feel the skin crawl at the connection between he and Leigh. His delight in manipulating the trial, his hold over Leigh’s sixteen year old daughter. He drips with power, impunity, entitlement. He’s cold, calculating.

The novel also includes the contemporary atmosphere of the impact of the Covid pandemic while examining each piece of the puzzle, the exploitation, the cold disengagement of the accused. Juxtaposed against the court drama is the struggle of Callie, the desperation of Leigh, and the limitations of normal public function due to the virus.

The book examines some horrifically disturbing issues: drug addiction, rape, sexual deviation, domestic violence, and murder.

There are few emotional connections here, the two sisters kept at arm’s length by an extremely abusive background. One likeable character in the vet where Callie routinely returns to care for animals. One sister damaged psychologically and physically for life, one going the other way into intellectually unemotional detachment, driven together again for a shared solution. A story that does not, can not have, a happy ending.

I can honestly admit my old-fashioned mind was grossed out on more than one occasion and the language was abominable. While the story might be engrossing, the level of mayhem coupled with the language was over the top for me. This is probably my first and last book by this author. Have you the same experience or dulled by the constant hammering of the theme and language?

Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers, Suspense
Publisher:  Blackstone Publishing
ASIN: B09239CX27
Listening Length: 18 hrs 39 mins
Narrator: Kathleen Early
Publication Date: July 20, 2021
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: False Witness [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Three point Five of Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

Karin Slaughter - authorThe Author: Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her 21 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated COP TOWN and the instant NYT bestselling stand-alone novels PRETTY GIRLS, THE GOOD DAUGHTER, and PIECES OF HER. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, she lives in Atlanta. Her stand-alone novel PIECES OF HER is in development with Netflix, starring Toni Collette, and the Grant County and Will Trent series are in development for television.

http://www.karinslaughter.com

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/AuthorKarinSlaughter/

Instagram http://www.instagram.com/karinslaughterauthor/

Twitter @SlaughterKarin

Kathleen Early - narrator, actressThe Narrator:  Kathleen Early was born on October 31, 1973 in Irving, Texas, USA. She is an actress, known for Across the Universe (2007), Trip in a Summer Dress (2004) and Grey’s Anatomy (2005).

 

 

 

 

©2021 V Williams V Williams

His & Hers: A Novel by Alice Feeney – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

His and Hers by Alice Feeney

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

There are two sides to every story: yours and mine, ours and theirs, his and hers. Which means someone is always lying.

When a woman is murdered in Blackdown, a quintessentially British village, newsreader Anna Andrews is reluctant to cover the case. Detective Jack Harper is suspicious of her involvement, until he becomes a suspect in his own murder investigation.

Someone isn’t telling the truth, and some secrets are worth killing to keep.

His & Hers is a twisty, smart psychological thriller. A gripping tale of suspense, told by expertly drawn narrators that will keep listeners guessing until the very end. 

My Review:

OMG, does this grip and hang on or what? Related in three POVs, Anna Andrews is the “her.” She’s been a fixture on the BBC news as a lunchtime anchor, always dreaming of her next big break. The old anchor returned, however, beloved, well-known, and still under contract after maternity leave and Anna is unceremoniously returned to the position of news correspondent.  Oh groan.

His and Hers by Alice FeeneyJack Harper is the “his” working on the police force in Blackdown. He was called to investigate a body found in the woods and is shocked to see it is someone he knows—and knows very well, btw. But he keeps that part to himself.

And then there is the perp, the killer, whose dialogue is skewed by a voice changer. Very creepy and creepy enough to raise the hairs on the back of your neck.

Insult to injury, now Anna is asked to cover the murder in the little town of Blackdown and no, she doesn’t want to go—she grew up there, not particularly happily. Of course, she, too, recognizes the victim.

Once in, the listener doesn’t get a bathroom break. You must listen to the next chapter, whether it is her or him—or that other one.

“There are always two sides to every story, yours and mine, ours and theirs, his and her. I always prefer my own.”

Fast paced, well-plotted, creepy narrative spiced with hometown-childhood secrets, adult secrets. Twists and turns leave the listener spinning. No getting a breath now—are you figuring it out? The tension ramps up another notch.

Jack came off as highly engaging, approachable. Anna not so much—she’s narcissistic and scheming. Her career is her life. She just wants back in the anchor spot and she can detach her emotions from the scene.

This novel-audiobook totally envelopes the listener, sinister, gripping, full of suspense. And, oh yeah, that one last gotcha at the end? Brilliant! Storytelling genius. You don’t want to miss this one!

Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thrillers, Police Procedurals Mysteries
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B07TFLWV4H
Listening Length: 10 hrs 39 mins
Narrators: Richard ArmitageStephanie Racine
Publication Date: July 28, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: His and Hers [Amazon]

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Alice Feeney - authorThe Author: Alice Feeney is a New York Times bestselling author and journalist. Her debut novel, Sometimes I Lie, was an international bestseller, has been translated into over twenty languages, and is being made into a TV series by Warner Bros. starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. His & Hers is also being adapted for screen by Jessica Chastain’s Freckle Films. Alice was a BBC Journalist for fifteen years, and now lives in the British countryside with her family. Rock Paper Scissors is her fourth novel and is being made into a TV series for Netflix by the producer of The Crown. It will be published around the world in 2021.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

TV Netflix Series Outlander vs #Audiobook by Diana Gabaldon (Author) and Davina Porter (Narrator) – Time Travel Romances

“This romantic odyssey earned three Golden Globe nods and won “Most Bingeworthy Show” at the Critics’ Choice TV Awards.”

TV Netflix Series Outlander vs Audiobook

Once again, trust the CE to find a series we carefully parceled out (depending on the last episode watched) to make this series last longer and still burned through it quickly. I never was really able to see the sparks between Jamie and Claire (always viewing her as so much more mature than he), but the stories were riveting and kept us glued. Those who have followed me for some time know I’m not a big fan of romance—but these stories—getting past the romance part—put you back in time, the beauty and barbarism, the daily struggle of life. And I do so enjoy that historical aspect. 

Netflix Series

Currently, there are five seasons (67 episodes) on Netflix. Season six possibly May of 2022 and strong hope of a seventh season—some time. It was developed by Ronald D Moore.

It’s a historical drama, so you know it got my attention. Basically, a married WWII nurse is transported back to 1743 during the Jacobite rising. There she meets Jamie Fraser, a Highland warrior. But Jamie is just the start of a roster of stellar characters, manly men in kilts. They set the scene of the people, the time, the country, and their fierce loyalty to the clan they belong. First the clan—then the country—and they have a common enemy, the English.

There are eight books in the Outlander series with Outlander: Book 1, kicking it off. Many of the seasons storylines can be traced directly back to the original books:

  1. Outlander
  2. Dragonfly in Amber
  3. Voyager
  4. The Drums of Autumn
  5. The Fiery Cross
  6. A Breath of Snow and Ashes
  7. An Echo in the Bone\Written in My Own Heart’s Blood

The Making of Outlander

I listened to Audiobook 1 in its entirety and then couldn’t find either Book 2 or 3 and started Audiobook 4, The Drums of Autumn. Within Season 1 are sixteen episodes.

The male lead, Sam Roland Heughan was born April 30, 1980 in Balmaclellan, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. He’s 6’2” and owns that Highlander part right now to his tricorn. He is a co-founder of My Peak Challenge, a charitable community-based organization.

The female lead, Caitriona Balfe was born in Dublin, Ireland and grew up in County Monaghan. She worked as a model (she is 5’9”) and was studying drama at the Dublin Institute of Technology hoping to become an actress when she was scouted.

 

My Thoughts

I absolutely loved the swoon-worthy Jamie and still not sure Claire “fits” him, although looking at Hepburn and Bogie you’d not think they’d fit any better. I feel she’s a little light on chemistry, but, hey, that’s just me. Otherwise, these storylines move so fast, appear so authentic you’d swear you took that stone journey right along with Claire, a delightful fantasy in itself. I appreciate the inclusion of the Scottish Gaelic, the speech patterns, from sassenach to bhalaich and glimpses of the countryside. It’s a series that bombards the senses with sight and sound and teleports the imagination. Escapism when we truly needed it. 5 stars

Audiobook

This stunning blend of historical romance and time traveling adventure has captured the hearts of millions of readers around the world and catapulted author Diana Gabaldon to the top of the New York Times best seller list. Outlander introduces an exhilarating world of heroism and breathtaking thrills as one woman is torn between past and present, passion and love.

In 1945, former combat nurse Claire Randall returns from World War II and joins her husband for a second honeymoon. Their blissful reunion is shattered when she touches a boulder in an ancient stone ruin and is instantly transported to 1743 Scotland, a place torn by war and raiding border clans. Will Claire find her way back to her own time, or is her destiny forever linked with Clan MacKenzie and the gallant James Fraser?

My Thoughts

Oh, ouch! Here I go again! Watched a G-rated Netflix series thinking I’d get the same rating from the audiobook. Nope. Reminds me a great deal of the experience I had with another well received and popular Netflix series only to find out that the author wrote a sexually laden series—not the toned down small town fiction series we got on the home screen.

While much of the action-adventure, spirit of the eighteenth century works a strong background, the romance between the two main characters take front and center stage, sometimes getting more graphic than I’m comfortable with. Claire, not a nurse but a practiced surgeon, falls for a warring Highlander with little romantic experience. She becomes the teacher.

Otherwise, it would appear most of the support characters echo those presented in the TV version with various degrees of debauchery. Claire becomes a strong presence among the men, owing to her medical prowess, while still clinging to the secret of having been plunked into their midst from another time. Wincing narrative scenes are easier to read (or listen to) than broadcast in full sight to a general audience? Torn between 3 ½ and 4 stars, perhaps I’ll settle at 3 ¾ stars.

Overall Impression

Hazzah to those who created and went with a romantic time-travel adventure! More about the people, the time, the culture than the two love interests. I loved the costumes, the authentic touches of the Netflix series and the plot that continually builds into another period journey and I didn’t have to hide my eyes or block my ears once. This is one VERY long series and in either printed or audiobook form may constitute an epoch undertaking. I found my own quota after completing Book 1 and sampling Book 4. Probably no different for those who follow long running series well into the double digits. Some never get old and some just wear you out. I’ll happily watch another season on Netflix, but think I’ll move on to other audiobooks now.

Book Details

Outlander: Book 1

Genre: Time Travel Romances, Scottish Historical Romance, Historical Fantasy
Publisher:  Recorded Books
ASIN: B000GW8NVA
Listening Length: 32 hrs and 38 mins
Narrator: Davina Porter
Audible Release: July 13, 2006
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Outlander: Book 1 [Amazon]

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Diana Gabaldon - author
Photo by Gage Skidmore

The Author: Diana Gabaldon is the internationally bestselling author of many historical novels including Cross Stitch, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross and A Breath of Snow Ashes. She lives with her family in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is a New York Time bestselling author.

Find her at https://www.dianagabaldon.com/

Davina Porter-narrator
Photo by Jo Anna Perrin

The Narrator: Golden Voice narrator Davina Porter has performed not only the entire Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, but also other fantasy classics including many of Marion Zimmer Bradley Avalon audiobooks, and Erika Johansen’s widely praised THE INVASION OF THE TEARLING.  Davina’s audiobook work includes titles ranging from classics to mystery to philosophy, with an enduring thread of splendid fantasy audiobooks.

“I was born and raised in England, my father was English, a true “Londoner” (read Cockney!), and my mother was born in St. Andrews, Scotland. Two accents under my belt! I am married to a Glasgow-born Scot, more diversity. Being a product of my background, I am very familiar with the English and Scottish way of life, and all its foibles!”

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Destroyer Angel: An Anna Pigeon Novel (Anna Pigeon Mysteries Book 18) by Nevada Barr – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

Destroyer Angel by Nevada Barr

Book Blurb:

Anna Pigeon, a ranger for the U.S. Park Services, sets off on vacation – an autumn canoe trip into the Iron Range in upstate Minnesota. With Anna is her friend Heath, a paraplegic; Heath’s 15-year-old daughter, Elizabeth; Leah, a wealthy designer of outdoor equipment; and her daughter, Katie, who is 13. For Heath and Leah, this is a shakedown cruise to test a new cutting-edge line of camping equipment. The equipment, designed by Leah, will make camping and canoeing more accessible to disabled outdoorsmen. On their second night out, Anna goes off on her own for a solo evening float on the Fox River.

When she comes back, she finds that four thugs, armed with rifles, pistols, and knives, have taken the two women and their teenaged daughters captive. With limited resources and no access to the outside world, Anna has only two days to rescue them before her friends are either killed or flown out of the country, in Destroyer Angel by Nevada Barr.

My Review:

No, wait!

Did I get a different Anna Pigeon?

I started reading this series because I really enjoyed the protagonist, a US Park Services ranger, a woman, and the different parks where the particular novel was sited. A different park every entry to the series and so much to learn—that and the narrator, Barbara Rosenblat who adds her slightly gravelly voice with such marvelous inflection in both the situation and the reflection of the situation. Well, anyway, I’ve listened to four, and particularly enjoyed Deep South and Hunting Season. They heavily featured Anna Pigeon.

Destroyer Angel by Nevada BarrThis one…well, this one features friends, acquaintances, who on a vacation trip into the Minnesota wilderness to enjoy nature, test equipment, and try out a handicap prototype are taken hostage when Anna is away from camp on a quick and quiet little canoe outing of her own. In the camp when the ladies are overtaken by four nasty gangsters is also their older dog, Wiley, who is left for dead when the men move the women out.

We’re talking two women (one of whom is a paraplegic) and two teenagers. Of course they are out of cell phone range. They are headed out to rendezvous with the baddy who hired these guys. So, much of the focus is on the ladies, their struggles, and the men. Meanwhile, Anna discovers Wiley is not dead and manages to stabilize him, stalks the hostages and their captures and without weapons takes on the task of disabling the men while rescuing the women. Wow…different.

Or not. The characters are pretty much stereotypes—wealthy Leah and her estranged and sullen daughter Katie, the paraplegic and her daughter Elizabeth. The bad guys, dangerously bad—and stupid, btw.

Anna takes on the dog, having hearts to heart with Wiley while he’s recuperating enough to provide a sounding board for Anna’s whispered thoughts, although he doesn’t provide many thoughts in return.

While there is essentially no mystery, there is tension and the tension ramps up with each chapter. The toll on Anna is serious, but she manages to power through, the ladies manage heroically, the bad guys are just seriously raunchy.

The reason for the whole kidnap seemed a bit weak to me, not wholly believable, but the little zinger at the end was delicious. So, yeah, I thoroughly enjoyed. As the series has nineteen books, I am now counting back down. Oh yeah, I’m hooked.

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedural Mysteries, Women Sleuth Mysteries, Suspense
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B00IIUW9EE
Listening Length: 11 hrs 37 mins
Narrator: Barbara Rosenblat
Publication Date: April 1, 2014Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Destroyer Angel [Amazon]

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

Nevada Barr - authorThe Author: Nevada was born in the small western town of Yerington, Nevada and raised on a mountain airport in the Sierras. Both her parents were pilots and mechanics and her sister, Molly, continued the tradition by becoming a pilot for USAir.
Pushed out of the nest, Nevada fell into the theatre, receiving her BA in speech and drama and her MFA in Acting before making the pilgrimage to New York City, then Minneapolis, MN. For eighteen years she worked on stage, in commercials, industrial training films and did voice-overs for radio. During this time she became interested in the environmental movement and began working in the National Parks during the summers — Isle Royale in Michigan, Guadalupe Mountains in Texas, Mesa Verde in Colorado, and then on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi.
Woven throughout these seemingly disparate careers was the written word. Nevada wrote and presented campfire stories, taught storytelling and was a travel writer and restaurant critic. Her first novel, Bittersweet was published in 1983. The Anna Pigeon series, featuring a female park ranger as the protagonist, started when she married her love of writing with her love of the wilderness, the summer she worked in west Texas. The first book, Track of the Cat, was brought to light in 1993 and won both the Agatha and Anthony awards for best first mystery. The series was well received and A Superior Death, loosely based on Nevada’s experiences as a boat patrol ranger on Isle Royale in Lake Superior, was published in 1994. In 1995 Ill Wind came out. It was set in Mesa Verde, Colorado where Nevada worked as a law enforcement ranger for two seasons.
The rest is, shall we say, HISTORY! Nevada’s books and accomplishments have become numerous and the presses continue to roll, so in the interest of NOT having to update this page, books, awards, status on the New York Times Best Seller List — and more — will be enumerated with the relevant books else where on this website.

 

Barbara Rosenblat - narratorThe Narrator: Barbara Rosenblat has been narrating for more than 20 years, and even had the honor of performing the first book ever recorded at Audible in 1999.

She has also appeared on screen such as in the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black as Miss Rosa. Rosenblat was born in London, England and raised in New York City. Upon returning to the US, she read books to the blind for four years at the Library of Congress.[2] On Broadway she appeared in The Secret Garden and Talk Radio. Barbara Rosenblat has narrated more than 400 audiobooks.

©2021 V Williams

Land of Wolves: A Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 15) by Craig Johnson – #Audiobook Review #TBT #westerns

Land of Wolves by Craig Johnson

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Book Blurb:

Attempting to recover from his harrowing experiences in Mexico, in Land of Wolves Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire is neck deep in the investigation of what could or could not be the suicidal hanging of a shepherd. With unsettling connections to a Basque family with a reputation for removing the legs of Absaroka County sheriffs, matters become even more complicated with the appearance of an oversize wolf in the Big Horn Mountains to which Walt finds himself feeling more and more empathetic.

My Review:

You all know I do love the Longmire series and while I’ve reviewed several here, have listened to many more and just enjoyed. I’m sure part of my interest lies in the narration by George Guidall, but you can’t go wrong with a Longmire episode. Also, having devoured the entire series offered on Netflix, I can now see in the minds’ eye these characters who were so well cast in the TV version.

While it’s nice to have some knowledge of the characters, you can start this series most anywhere as a standalone and quickly get up to speed. As mentioned above, I’ve listened to a number of these books, most recently Dry Bones and The Highwayman. The novels are all great, some even better, and George Guidall is consistently excellent.

Land of Wolves by Craig JohnsonWalt Longmire is back from a crushing, almost fatal, trip to Mexico to rescue his daughter Katie. He is still not back 100% physically or mentally when he discovers a sheepherder, hanging, which is labeled a suicide. Longmire is not so quick to agree and, as usual, the plot appears to go multi-level with the infusion of the wolf mystique and the age-old quarrel of ranchers, their livestock, and wolves. The Cheyenne Nation sets a spiritual aura surrounding the sighting of a lone wolf. But wolves have not been seen in Absaroka County for a very long time.

Johnson lays on the prose, waxing philosophical through Longmire, spiritually through Henry Standing Bear, Dog, and the flippant and vitriolic under-sheriff Victoria (Vic) and her unfiltered mouth. Love these characters. Longmire struggles mightily during the narrative, sometimes experiencing black-outs, periods of PTSD, as well as physical exhaustion.

The novel explores family, sacrifice, and strong atmospheric immersion into another way of life. It runs a little dark with the inner and outer struggles of Walt, but the occasional flashes of humor are splashed in irreverently as are Vic’s sexual innuendo. Well, who am I kidding? No innuendo about it. She can turn a four letter word fest into a pornographic hootenanny. So nice being back in Absaroka County, Wyoming, where the Red Pony Bar and Grill is a continuous soirée.

Book Details:

Genre: Native American Literature, Westerns
Publisher:  Recorded Books
ASIN: B07S6525LW
Print Length: 335 pages
Listening Length: 8 hrs 10 mins
Narrator: George Guidall
Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Land of Wolves

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

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 Arrangement by Robyn Harding – #Audiobook Review – #psychologicalthriller – #TBT

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

Book Blurb:

A Pretty Woman tale turns toxic and deadly in this provocative thriller of sex, obsession, and murder from Robyn Harding, the “master of domestic suspense” (Kathleen Barber) and the USA TODAY bestselling author of The Swap and Her Pretty Face.

Natalie, a young art student in New York City, is struggling to pay her bills when a friend makes a suggestion: Why not go online and find a sugar daddy—a wealthy, older man who will pay her for dates and even give her a monthly allowance? Lots of girls do it, Nat learns. All that’s required is to look pretty and hang on his every word. Sexual favors are optional.

Though more than thirty years her senior, Gabe, a handsome corporate finance attorney, seems like the perfect candidate, and within a month, they are madly in love. At least, Nat is…Gabe already has a family, whom he has no intention of leaving.

So when he abruptly ends things, Nat can’t let go. But Gabe’s not about to let his sugar baby destroy his perfect life. What was supposed to be a mutually beneficial arrangement devolves into a nightmare of deception, obsession, and, when a body is found near Gabe’s posh Upper East Side apartment, murder.

Emotionally powerful and packed with page-turning suspense, The Arrangement delves into the sordid, all-too-real world of shadowy relationships between wealthy, powerful men and the young women who are caught in their web.

My Review:

How do you spell naïve?
S t u p i d

Pretty woman meets Richard Gere(?). Nope.

But wait, this is a thriller. I suspect something will go wrong. And indeed it does. Natalie is a struggling art student in New York. She is clear across the country from her family and funds are running out. So is the patience of her two roommates. School fees are coming too. She can’t go asking for her mother’s help—her mother remarried and started a new, young family. No way to help with New York expenses. So when a classmate suggests the Sugar Daddy website, she is that desperate.

The Arrangement by Robyn HardingA Sugar Daddy site! Take a pic, write a bio, upload. She hasn’t taken the time to research the whole thing and with only the instructions, suggestions from her knowledgeable school friend, meets Gabe. Thirty years her senior. She is now an official Sugar Baby and the fun begins.

Food, drinks, plays, a limousine complete with chauffer and eventually, she and Gabe enter into an exclusive “arrangement.” (Of course, he fudged just a bit on his bio too. He’s married.) And right off the bat she makes the very mistakes she is warned against. ARGH! At this point I’m arguing with the narrator. GEES! How stupid can you be?!

Now she visualizing a life with Gabe—it’s not the money—nooo–they are in loooove. But he’s done this before and when push comes to shove—he shoves. She’s out. No, wait! That can’t be! She is sure he can’t be serious, but he is oh, so deadly, serious. Still, she refuses to give up. I am SO losing patience at this point. She goes from being naïve to obsession and revenge. He has no clue just how far off the rails she’s gone, but he’s getting the idea and he’ll put a stop to it. Uh oh.

Oh the conclusion, perhaps a bit of disbelief, but bad-ass Gabe can’t always be the victor and Natalie can’t be a winner. This went too far. But that little twist at the end—you know, the one you don’t see coming? You won’t see this one either, but it is, oh so sweet.

This one should be in your library by now. Quirky, maddening, might just be that weirdy you’ve been looking for.

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Fiction, Psychological Thrillers, Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
ASIN:  B07NHT69CY
Listening Length: 9 hrs 15 mins
Narrator: Amanda Dolan
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Arrangement [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Robyn Harding - authorThe Author: [Goodreads] Robyn Harding is the author of several books and has written and executive produced an independent film. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband and two children.

To learn more about Robyn’s books visit: http://www.robynharding.com. Or follow her on Instagram: @rhardingwriter
or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRobynH…

 

Amanda Dolan - narratorThe Narrator: [Goodreads] Amanda [Dolan] is a New York City based actor, improvisor and voiceover artist, who has recorded over 100 audiobooks. She has an MFA in acting from Brown University, and is a member of Actors’ Equity.

Born in Astoria, New York, but lucky enough to have been transplanted to sunny Orange County, CA, Amanda’s upbringing was a perfect mix of East meets West (And by East she means bagels, not sushi).

Amanda loves to develop new plays and musicals. She has workshopped new work with Trinity Rep, Pipeline Theater Company, Soho Rep, Marginal Man Theater Company, The Lark Play Development Center, Playwrights Rep, Brown University and many more.

In addition to stage and film work, Amanda can be heard voicing hundreds of characters in over 100 audiobooks for Audible, Inc., AudioGo (BBC Audiobooks America), Blackstone Audio, John Marshall Media, HarperCollins, and Tantor Media.

©2021 V Williams

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