December Rosepoint Reviews Recap—Hello January 2022!

We had a lovely quiet Christmas day the CE and I, enjoying a small lobster tail and baked potato for dinner. (I’m well and truly tired of turkey and ham! Thinking we’ll do a repeat for New Year’s eve.) We stopped going out years ago (for NYE) and with the Covid continuing to mutate, snow and ice, no problem enjoying our cozy home and TV. That large screen provides front row seats to watch the ball drop in New York and the fireworks over Lake Michigan from Chicago. Works for us!

December always brings extra shopping and home time with decorating and packing, trips to the post office, and food planning and prep. Still, we managed fifteen book reviews for December, most from NetGalley, three audiobooks from my lovely local library. That CE is a reading machine!

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney Last to Know by Brandy Heineman Fletcher and the Blue Star by John Drake Elinor by Shanno McNear Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty Targeted by Stephen Hunter The Great Witch of Brittany by Louisa Morgan  The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain Rohm Around the Dial by Micheal Maxwell Twenty Years Later by Charlie Donlea City of the Dead by Jonathan Kellerman

The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly Jane Darrowfield and the Mad Woman Next Door by Barbara Ross Deception Most Deadly by Genevieve Essig Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney (audiobook)
Fletcher and the Blue Star by John Drake (a CE review)
Last to Know by Brandy Heineman (a CE review)
Elinor by Shanno McNear (a CE review)
Targeted by Stephen Hunter (a CE review)
The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain
Rohm Around the Dial by Micheal Maxwell (a CE review)
Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty (audiobook)
Twenty Years Later by Charlie Donlea (a CE review)
The Great Witch of Brittany by Louisa Morgan
The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly (a CE review)
Jane Darrowfield and the Mad Woman Next Door by Barbara Ross
City of the Dead by Jonathan Kellerman (a CE review)
A Deception Most Deadly by Genevieve Essig
Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain (audiobook)

Good News! My reading challenges have all been updated! I made and exceeded all of my goals. You can check out the challenges page by clicking the Reading Challenges page. Thinking I’ll bump everything up except the Goodreads Challenge next year.

I’m currently at 408 NetGalley reviews and updated my widget graphic to 400. I’m holding pretty steady at 96-97% feedback ratio and try not to get too crazy with looking for new books, but with so many new books being uploaded for the new year, it’s tough. I’ll update the sidebar graphic again at 420. How are you doing with your challenges?

Then, more good news! Perhaps you remember that in February 2020 I’d found and tried attending two local book clubs meeting in the afternoon, the Third Monday Book Club and Fiction Addiction, the latter of which made more sense. In my area. Closer. But just starting and stopped immediately due to the first Covid shutdown.

Well, the library is trying again having reinvented the book club and now calling it As the Page Turns Book Club AND it will be online. Strictly a digital bookclub and they picked The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller for the first selection. (Yes, it’s an Amazon #1 best seller in classic American literature, published August 2012.)

Also, the moderator issued instructions for receiving the ebook through Freading. Whaaa?? (Are you familiar with this digital book download library?) Try as I might, that was simply going to be a no-go and I gave up in frustration. So I jumped into my handy-dandy and ever available Overdrive (also Libby). Sure enough, the book was listed in both ebook and audiobook formats (on a wait list). Guess which one I chose?! Hmmm, well, this will be interesting. Wish me luck!

Have you read any of the books listed above? Encouraged to look into one you missed? I hope so!

Thank you for joining my community if you are new and thank you again to my established followers.

©2021 V Williams

TV Netflix Series Maid vs #Audiobook Maid by Stephanie Land – #TBT

TV Netflix Series Maid vs Audiobook

 

Another Netflix original that I noticed had been adapted from a popular book by a debut author. As you know, I am loving the challenge of listening to the audiobook to see how much (or little) Netflix changed and made it their own. Did they make it better? Worse? And as also mentioned before, I noticed a radical departure from some of the original books (although not quite so much with Longmire, but thankfully for the Virgin River series).

The storyline by Stephanie Land chronicles her experiences of taking on approximately 25 hrs work a week as a maid (I would call her a housekeeper—not really a maid)—who is trying to care for her toddler daughter and take classes toward a degree. She writes in detail of her struggles with a broken welfare system (Washington state), assistance, that sometimes takes days of time to complete applications, numerous trips to the separate agencies, and then suffer through wait times of months, even years for relief.

Netflix Series

Sarah Qualley - actress
Alex–played by Sarah Qualley – Attribute Wikipedia

Alex is a single mother with daughter Maddy who has escaped the child’s abusive father and homelessness to perform housecleaning duties for clients of a cleaning service where she is paid minimum wage. The series began on October 1, 2021 and was written by both Stephanie Land and Molly Smith Metzler. At 5/8”, the 27 year old Sarah Margaret Qualley  (who plays Alex in the title role) was born in Kalispell, MT to parents Andie MacDowell (who also appears as her mother) and Paul Qualley.

Rylea Nevaeh Whittet - child actress
Maddy–played by Rylea Nevaeh Whittet – Attribute-imdb.com

Billed as a limited series, Season 1 of Maid has ten episodes. I say Season 1 as it has been holding the Top 10 spot since the premiere. Since the season ended with a solid (happy) conclusion, there is debate regarding a continuing story. Maddy, the sweet cherub-faced toddler is adorable and steals any of her scenes (I think anyway).

There are additional support characters (but the POV is all Alex)—the father—not the most supportive of dads, and the storyline zooms in on the various houses where she is assigned to clean, their stories, houses, and the relationship (or lack thereof) to their housecleaner.

My Thoughts

This one starts out fairly slow building (after the initial fleeing in the night scene) the whos, whys, whats, whens, and wheres. Episode 1. Episode 2 begins building on the stories of the homes—who they are. Some are fleshed more than others depending on their involvement with Alex, many of whom have none at all. She names each of the houses—“the sad house,” “the porn house,” etc.

The story continues to build conflict with her ex—Sean—who is getting progressively violent. Conflict escalates with each new financial burden—carefully calculated on screen showing deductions into deficit. Her mother’s character is an aging hippie, alternately a helpful grandmother or not. I really like the fictional additions—the stories of some of the housecleaning homes, but there are holes in the series. I believe she is getting child support, but it doesn’t appear in the financials—only that of her earnings(?).

She is over the moon with her daughter and seldom (maybe once in ten episodes) gets tired or cross with her. I understand the overwhelming exhaustion—and times when she needed a break. And she does, from time to time get those. She has a pessimistic attitude, facing one crisis after another, not always making the wise decision. She tends to snoop when opportunity presents itself, trying on clothes while decrying the small pilfering by a co-worker.

I was the daughter of a mother left with two children, no education or working experience. I can remember the struggles, the panic, and the admonition that we could “NOT get sick this winter” (we wouldn’t dare!), wherever that was going to be. She never had a break, nor did we have any kind of child support. There were days she simply ironed—for eight hours (and any income is deducted from welfare).

Sometimes Alex just doesn’t feel authentic.

Audiobook (Blurb)

At 28, Stephanie Land’s plans of breaking free from the roots of her hometown in the Pacific Northwest to chase her dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer, were cut short when a summer fling turned into an unexpected pregnancy. She turned to housekeeping to make ends meet, and with a tenacious grip on her dream to provide her daughter the very best life possible, Stephanie worked days and took classes online to earn a college degree, and began to write relentlessly.

Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it’s like to be in service to them. “I’d become a nameless ghost,” Stephanie writes about her relationship with her clients, many of whom do not know her from any other cleaner, but who she learns plenty about. As she begins to discover more about her clients’ lives-their sadness and love, too-she begins to find hope in her own path.

Her writing as a journalist gives voice to the “servant” worker, and those pursuing the American Dream from below the poverty line. Maid is Stephanie’s story, but it’s not her alone.

My Thoughts

Maid by Stephanie LandMs. Land wasn’t a teenager when she split from her ex. Nor at 28 (29?) did she seem to have an education she could apply to any available job, falling back on housekeeping as a way to spend time with her daughter. But at 25 hrs a week housekeeping, she was below the poverty line which left her with mounds of applications for aid, the embarrassment of food stamps, the doctors who only see the “Medicaid” patient, the WIC quandary. The failure of the system, heaven knows, is rather massive in any state, but Stephanie is detailing the failures, one at a time, over and over.

The more griping and negativity I heard, the greater my exhaustion of hearing about her victimization. She seems openly envious of anyone with more than she, perhaps not considering what it took to get them there. She may have tried on their shoes, but she didn’t walk in them.

Overall Impression

Okay, I’m scratching my head over this one. Clearly, I did not care for the audiobook, read by the author or not. I could not engage, work up the sympathy. SOOO many thousands of women going through the same and they may, as my mother did, cry in their pillows at night, but they carried on without pointing fingers at everyone else.

Netflix, as they usually do, found a strong middle ground, showing both the failures and the successes, building empathy where due, focusing on the child, lifelines for abused women, groups, and helplines. Conflicts and resolution. Light at the end of the tunnel only to have the light smashed and the tunnel black again. The storyline moves, however gradually, in an upwardly mobile direction.

I don’t think Netflix softened or frosted over the critical situation of the women. But they did provide just that sliver of hope that the tide will turn. And indeed it does. I’d recommended the Netflix version, but certainly cannot the audiobook and by that extension the book as well.

Book Details

Full Title: Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive
Genre: Poverty & Homelessness Studies, Government Social Policy, Social Public Policy
Publisher: Hachette Audio
ASIN: B07MNHMYCP
Listening Length: 8 hrs 34 mins
Narrator: Stephanie Land
Audible Release: January 22, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link(s): Maid [Amazon] 
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

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Stephanie Land - authorThe Author: Stephanie Land is the instant bestselling author of “MAID: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive.” Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, and many other outlets. Her writing focuses on social and economic justice. Follow everywhere @stepville or stepville.com  [Goodreads]

 

 

©2021 V Williams V Williams

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

The Couple Next Door: A Novel by Shari Lapena – #Audiobook Review – #psychologicalthrillers

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

(Amazon) Editors Pick 

Book Blurb:

An instant New York Times best seller

“I read this novel at one sitting, absolutely riveted by the storyline. The suspense was beautifully rendered and unrelenting!” (Sue Grafton, New York Times best-selling author of X)

It all started at a dinner party…

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors – a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives….

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all – a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night, when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately lands on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story. Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. 

Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years. What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family – a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

My Review:

Of course I’d heard of this author for some time but didn’t have an opportunity for a book. This time I saw an audiobook copy for this one, released in 2016. Mercy!

The Couple Next Door by Shari LapenaBeing an older book and armed with the blurb, this gripping tale doesn’t need a lot of introduction. A young couple with a new baby backed by rich parents (hers), they have the home, a business, and the appearance of “having it all.”

Maybe.

Behind closed doors, however, is a young husband worried about his business, a new mom who is having difficulty coping with a fussy infant, and parents with attitude. It is the tangled story of couples keeping secrets from each other, the new mom feeling unattractive, her husband neglected and attracted to Cynthia next door. It is during Cynthia’s dinner party that Anne and Marco’s baby is abducted. Marco had assured her that in the absence of the babysitter, a last-minute cancellation, they could use the baby monitor and check in on her every half hour. After all, they were only next door.

Anne is a fragile personality suffering postpartum depression. Marco wanted a few more drinks, time to flirt with Cynthia, and it was late when they returned home to find Cora missing from her crib.

Here is a case for unreliable narrator. The storyline spins a lot of effort justifying leaving the baby, Anne is crazy over the top with guilt, the parents are incensed. Then there is the police who are having a problem swallowing any of it.

Something doesn’t add up.

Not easy to cozy up with any of the characters. Marco is beside himself for another reason, as are her parents. There is a lot of deceiving, misconception, and tension that intensifies into the plot. It might be faster paced were it not for the same theme of guilt and justification repeated so many times, each time, however, adding an additional little wrinkle.

Not just one or two twists but then the bomb, the final well placed bulls eye in the conclusion that totally knocks the reader off their rocker. What? NO! I hated that one and couldn’t believe that was how it ended.

Well, phooey. I didn’t expect that. Definitely a slow burning thriller with a killer (get it?) ending.

Did you read this one? Disappointed in the ending as I was? Shocked? So was I.

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Fiction, Crime Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Penguin Audio
ASIN: B01IIABQYC
Listening Length: 8 hrs 40 mins
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Publication Date: August 23, 2016
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Couple Next Door [Amazon]

 

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four Stars 4 stars

 

Shari Lapena - authorThe Author: Shari Lapena

 

Kirsten Potter - narratorThe Narrator:  Kirsten Potter, a graduate of the Boston University School for the Arts, has performed on stage, film, and television, including roles on MediumBones, and Judging Amy. An award-winning audiobook narrator.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Happy Thursday!

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!

Hunting Season: An Anna Pigeon Novel by Nevada Barr – An #Audiobook Review – #crimethriller – #TBT

“What’s the use of a load of manure if you can’t spread it around.” 

Hunting Season by Nevada Barr

Book Blurb:

When Anna answers a call to historic Mt. Locust, once a producing plantation and inn on Mississippi’s Natchez Trace Parkway and now a tourist spot, the last thing she expects to encounter is murder. But the man Anna finds in the stand’s old bedroom is no tourist in distress. He’s nearly naked, and very dead, his body bearing marks consistent with an S & M ritual gone awry. On a writing table nearby is an open Bible, ominous passages circled in red. It seems the deceased is the brother of Raymond Barnette, local undertaker and a candidate for sheriff, who wants to keep any hint of kinkiness out of the minds of the God-fearing populace. Ray may be hiding a house full of secrets in the old family homestead, but before Anna can start her investigation, she’s waylaid by malevolent poachers, peevish coworkers, and a suddenly turbulent romantic life. And when hidden agendas and old allegiances are revealed, it’s suddenly Anna’s life on the line.

My Review:

My introduction to the Anna Pigeon series, this audiobook also introduced me to the Mississippi Natchez Trace. Yes, of course, most of those in the US have heard of the Trace, the lush landscape of the south as well as the racial history, but like me—really don’t know the exact location, what it is (literally an early Native American trail)—fascinating as it is.

Hunting Season by Nevada BarrThis series started way back in 1993 and ended in 2016 after 19 in the series. Few garnered at least four stars but appear to have remained popular. In Book 10, protagonist Park Ranger Anna Pigeon is called to the circumstances of a deceased, oversized man left in a compromising position but the circumstances don’t make sense with the way he died. And, perhaps separately, or maybe not, poaching has become serious. When she has a deadly encounter on her way home and her vehicle is demolished, she steps up her investigation.

An additional problem is that her management position here was unexpected and the male co-workers are a bit disgruntled. And then there is her involvement with Paul Davidson, separated for some time from his wife who won’t grant a divorce. Perhaps she should take a more jaundiced eye to that situation. (Deep and heavy sigh…life is never simple…)

Okay, first, I must admit that so many times, it’s the narrator who makes or breaks an audiobook for me. And this narrator hooks you in and, I suspect, keeps the listener interested where a reader’s interest might wane a bit through the middle minutia weeding out the details of whose land is whose.

Intense investigation, witticisms, Southern mores, and history mingle to lull you into story listening mode, digesting the further development of Anna and particularly her main support deputy Barth—a character I really found engaging. Of course, Anna is engaging as well, an effective strong female in a male dominated position.

The pieces of the puzzle get scattered until finally drawn together in a heart-pounding conclusion. I have to admit, however, to having correctly guessed the perp, although it made perfect sense unless it was going to be one of those barely mentioned names in an off-hand remark as sometimes happens. Not this one, but the trip up the Trace is worth the time and I was thoroughly entertained and will look for another—probably closer to the end of the series this time. I listened as a standalone and at Book 10 gleaned sufficient information to progress toward Book 19. Recommended. 

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Thrillers, Women Sleuths, Suspense
Publisher:  Recorded Books
ASIN: B0002QUWR8
Listening Length: 10 hrs., 57 mins.
Print Length: 348 pages
Narrator: Barbara Rosenblat
Publication Date: July 22, 2004
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Hunting Season [Amazon]

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 Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Nevada Barr - authorThe Author: Nevada [Barr] 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, Bitterweet 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 including:

– The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman

– The Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters

©020 V Williams V Williams

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