I have eight great audiobooks available for a giveaway, courtesy of Penguin Audio. I have descriptions from Goodreads of each book below. If you would like to win one of the audiobooks, please leave a comment describing which audiobook is your top pick and why it sounds interesting.
As part of your comment, you must include an email address. If I can't find a way to contact you I will draw another winner.
For an additional entry, blog about this giveaway or post it on your sidebar. Provide a link to this post in your comment.
I will be using random.org (or a Monte Carlo simulation in excel) to pick the winners from the comments.
This contest is only open to US and Canadian residents (Sorry!).
No P.O. Boxes.
The deadline for entry is midnight on Friday May 10th.
Please make sure to check the third week of May to see if you are a winner. I send emails to the winner, but lately I've been put in their "junk mail" folder instead of their inbox.
The first person they killed was a highway patrolman. The second was a woman during a robbery. Then, hell, why not keep on going? As their crime spree cuts a swath through rural Minnesota, some of it captured on the killers’ cell phones and sent to a local television station, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator Virgil Flowers joins the growing army of cops trying to run them down. But even he doesn’t realize what’s about to happen next.
A DARK STORM IS ON THE HORIZON…Return to Christine Feehan’s “steamy and dreamy” (Publishers Weekly) world of her New York Times bestselling Carpathian novels as roiling passions collide in a perfect storm of dangerous desire that only a precious few can hope to outrun…
Awakening after all this time in a world of absolute darkness and oppressive heat, Dax wonders in how many ways the world above must have changed. But it is how he has changed that fills him with dread and loathing. Buried alive for hundreds of years in a volcano in the Carpathian Mountains, Dax fears that he has become the full-fledged abomination that every Carpathian male fears, a victim of the insidious evil that has crept relentlessly into his mind and body over the centuries.
But there are some things that never change.
His name is Mitro, the vampire Dax had hunted all these long centuries. Second in command to the prince of the Carpathian people he is the epitome of everything malevolent, and perpetrator of one of the most shocking killing sprees known to man—and beast. Even his friends and family weren’t safe from Mitro’s bloodlust. Neither was Mitro’s lifemate, Arabejila, an extraordinary woman with extraordinary gifts.
But now that Dax has re-emerged, so too has Mitro. The ultimate battle between good and evil has been re-engaged. Between Dax and Mitro, a violent game has begun—one that has marked Riley Parker, the last descendent of Arabejila, as the reward.
Stone Barrington finds intrigue abroad in the sensational new thriller by the New York Times–bestselling author. Stone Barrington is no stranger to schemes and deceptions of all stripes—as an attorney for the premier white-shoe law firm Woodman & Weld, he’s seen more than his share. But when he travels to Europe under highly unusual circumstances, Stone finds himself at the center of a mystery that is, even by his standards, most peculiar. Two unexpected invitations may be the first clues in an intricate puzzle Stone must unravel to learn the truth . . . a puzzle that will lead him deep into the rarefied world of European ultra-wealth and privilege, where billionaires rub elbows with spooks, insider knowledge is traded at a high premium, and murder is never too high a price to pay for a desired end. It soon becomes clear that beneath the bright lights of Europe lurks a shadowy underworld . . . and its only rule is deadly ambition.
Collateral Damage by Stuart Woods
But what initially appears to be a clear-cut case soon becomes increasingly complex—and dangerous. For in the secretive world of government intelligence, national interests all too often conflict with power grabs and turf wars, and extreme wealth allows even the most pursued rivals to slip through the cracks. As Stone and Holly follow the trail from London’s posh embassy district to Manhattan’s Upper East Side, they learn just how well the most cunning plans can be disguised . . . and how far some people will go to wreak vengeance.
Severe Clear by Stuart Woods
But the grand occasion has also attracted a dangerous criminal group with sinister plans. The hunt to find them leads Stone into a complex web of deceit and misdirection, in a world where the intrigues of government intelligence collide with the clandestine machinations of the upper crust. As he draws nearer to his quarry, he realizes that the stakes are higher than anybody could ever imagine . . . and that the enemies he’s seeking might just be hiding in plain sight.
Dear Chandler, Dear Scarlett by Mick Huckabee
Dear Chandler, Dear Scarlett touches on the time¬less topics of faith, love, family, overcoming adversity, and staying true to your values in the face of failure and temptation. For instance, Huckabee tells how being forced to pick up pecans from the trees in his yard taught him the value of hard work. (“We were told that if we wanted to eat that night and sleep in a bed instead of in the yard, we’d pick up the pecans.”) Years later he learned the real meaning of love after watching a friend care for his dying wife who could no longer recognize him. (“He loved her not because he enjoyed it or found pleasure in it, but because he had promised that he would never leave her until death parted them. And here he was, keeping that promise, faithful to the end.”)
Like his bestseller A Simple Christmas, Dear Chan¬dler, Dear Scarlett isn’t about politics. It’s a deeply personal, heartfelt, inspirational book that can be enjoyed by anyone. As Huckabee writes: “Although my advice comes from my personal experience and I’m writing with my grandkids in mind, I hope any parent, grandparent, child, or grandchild can take away some¬thing valuable from these letters. I’ll try not to be too obnoxious, but don’t worry, if you ever sit next to me on a plane, I’ll still be happy to show you all the photos of Chandler and Scarlett I have on my phone.”
Poseidon’s Arrow by Clive Cussler
It is the greatest advance in American defense technology in decades—an attack submarine capable of incredible underwater speeds. Nothing else in any other nation’s naval arsenal even comes close. There is only one problem: A key element of the prototype is missing—and the man who developed it is dead.
At the same time, ships have started vanishing mid-ocean, usually never to be found again, but when they are, sometimes bodies are found aboard . . . burned to a crisp. What is going on? And what does it have to do with an Italian submarine that itself disappeared in 1943, lost at sea? Or was she?
Friday, April 26, 2013
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
The only thing I didn’t like about the novel was Vivian’s lost child at the end. I felt that was sprung on the reader last minute and didn’t seem true to the character of Vivian. After her troubled times in the system, I could not understand why Vivian would give her child up for adoption, even though she was a young widow. She had her adopted parents to help her out and was a very capable young woman. For other readers of the novel, what was your sense on this development of the novel?
I loved the character development and plot of the novel. I thought the juxtaposition of the two stories and how things can be so similar between the past and present was brilliant. I highly recommend this novel.
Book Source: Review Copy from William Morrow. Thank-you!!
Friday, April 12, 2013
Author: Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly
Read by: Lorelei King
Publisher: MacMillan Audio
Length: Approximately 8.5 hours (7 CDs)
Source: Kewaunee Public Library
The Husband List is not your typical Janet Evanovich novel. It is not set in the modern day with a sassy detective named Stephanie Plum caught in a love triangle. It is set in 1894 Gilded Age New York with a sassy heiress, Caroline Maxwell and a love triangle between the Irish-American man of her dreams Jack Culhane and the English Lord Bremerton.
The Maxwell family is one of the premier American families during the Gilded Age on level with the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers. Caroline’s mother has her sights set on getting Caroline married into English nobility. Lord Bremerton is the heir to a Dukedom, and in need of funds that he can get from marrying a rich heiress. As Mrs. Maxwell orchestrates a match between Caroline and Lord Bremerton, Caroline longs for the freedom to marry for love, explore the world, or even to explore her intellectual pursuits. As she begins to develop feelings for her brother’s handsome friend, Jack Culhane, she also meets Lord Bremerton and realizes that he is a cold, calculating man with a dark secret. Will Caroline fulfill her family obligations, or will she be able to find her own happy ending?
This book was the April pick for the FLICKS Book and Movie club. Sadly we were supposed to discuss it last night, but the meeting was cancelled due to freezing rain. I listened to this book on audiobook as that is where I seem to do the majority of my reading these days. It was read by my favorite audiobook narrator, Lorelei King. As usual, King did a superb job as a narrator for this novel. She has unique, fantastic voices for each of the characters, complete with accents. The witty writing and excellent narration lead to a few laugh out loud moments on my trips to and from work.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I love this time period in general and the characters were all fantastic, especially Caroline and Jack. The dialogue and witty play between the two as their feelings for each other grew was wonderful. Bremerton and Mrs. Maxwell were a bit one dimensional, but that added to their humor.
If you are a fan of Downton Abbey and wonder about the life that Cora could have possibly lived, The Husband List is your answer.
The India Fan is a typical Victoria Holt novel. It is a romantic suspense novel with Gothic undertones set during the Victorian era. While the novel starts off in England, there are trips to exotic locals such as India (and France – can I call that exotic?). Drusilla Delany is the rector’s daughter, plain, practical, and smart. She found herself drawn to the Framling Family, the local aristocrats. Lady Harriet believes that Drusilla is a good influence on her beautiful, bold, and reckless daughter, Lavinia Framling. Drusilla finds herself more interested in the handsome heir, Fabian Framling. Fabian kidnapped her when she was a baby and kept her for his own for two weeks. Since then, they both have felt drawn to each other as they have grown up.
The India Fan does not have one main mystery as other Holt novels do. The intrigue in this novel basically dealt with two items. Lavinia herself leads a reckless life that is self-absorbed and full of men. She gets into various scrapes and Drusilla has to help her lead her way through them. The other main mystery is the India Fan itself. The Framlings have a spinster Aunt Lucille that lives in a wing of their family estate. Drusilla steals a beautiful peacock fan from the wing under Fabian’s orders during a childhood game. Lucille tells Drusilla that she is now cursed with bad luck as she has been an owner of the fan. Lucille tells Drusilla her tragic love story. Drusilla does not believe in the curse, but as she grows older and has a string of bad luck, she starts to wonder. After she accompanies Lavinia to India, the India Fan takes on an entirely new and sinister connotation.
Drusilla has three different love interests in the India Fan, but there is one dark and brooding love interest overall. It was interesting to see how she was not the flashy woman that all of the men were after, but the woman that would be their intellectual equal and helpmate.
The only problem I had with this novel was that it had slightly racist undertones. Basically the way the English people think about and treat the native Indian people is not so nice. Is it accurate to the time, yes. It is a bit jarring now in our time of political correctness, yes. It did not impede my enjoyment of the novel overall, but I thought I would mention it.
Overall, I enjoyed The India Fan and thought it was a great story. It rekindled my interest in Victoria Holt novels. I hope that Sourcebooks publishes more of them. I would love to not only reread my favorites, but also track down the handful that I have not read!
Book Source: Sourcebooks Review Copy – Thank-you!
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Author: Karen Kingsbury
Read by: January LaVoy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Length: Approximately 9 hours (8 CDs)
Source: Simon & Schuster Review Copy – Thank-you!
Fifteen year old Ellie is about to have her entire world turned upside down. Her parents have been fighting, and it turns out her mother is pregnant with another man’s child. Her father makes the abrupt decision to move himself and Ellie from Savannah to San Diego. Ellie is devastated to leave her best friend, Nolan. Together they write a letter about how they feel about each other and bury it under a tree with a promise to meet and retrieve it in 11 years. It is their one “chance” to be together.
Ellie moves away and Nolan and Ellie’s worst fears come to pass. With no way to communicate with each other, their lives move on, but they never forget each other. Eleven years pass, will Ellie and Nolan be able to find each other? What will happen to Ellie’s parents? I don’t want to get into too much detail and ruin the plot!
I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook. January LaVoy was an excellent narrator and had a distinct voice for all of the characters. I found myself happy to drive to and from work just so I would have a chance to listen to more of it. To me, The Chance is a Christian fairy tale novel. The book is not preachy, but does have characters that are living out their faith or that have fallen off the path and are a seeking a way back on. All of the storylines are tied up quite happily with much forgiveness and waiting for true love involved. It is not so much the way the world is, but the way we would like the world to be, like a fairy tale.
I really wanted to know how the storylines would end for all of the characters. I think the main strength of the novel is the well written characters including Ellie’s parents. They started off as one-dimensional characters, but after learning more of their stories, they both had great character growth and development.
Overall, if you are looking for a story that will sweep you off your feet and get you away from the troubles of the real world, I highly recommend this novel.
Friday, April 5, 2013
Meg May is a twenty-one year old scientist, firmly rooted in the rational world. Her mother is her complete opposite, a loving woman that is passionate about cooking; she has told Meg all sorts of fantastical tales throughout her life about her birth and childhood. Valerie, Meg’s mother, has told her how she met her father, a French chef, when she was just sixteen, but that he then died from a tragic pastry accident. Meg came out a “little undone” so her mother left her on the window sill in the sun to rise. As much as Meg wants to know the truth about her childhood, she can’t get her mother to move beyond the tales.
Meg finds out that her mother is sick, and not only sick, but dying. Meg leaves school to take care of her mother and also to search for the truth about her childhood. Her boyfriend, the rational Mark, is not a fan of her mother, but the cute, but exasperating gardener, Ewan, seems to know exactly how to make her mother feel better. Meg soon finds that looking for the truth is like opening Pandora’s Box. You may find what you are seeking, but it is not always wanted you wanted to find.
I LOVED this book. I liked the hint of romance, the mystery of Meg’s past, but most of all, I loved the relationship between Meg and her mother. Meg started off the novel truly exasperated by her mother, but by the novel’s end, she has grown to understand and appreciate her mother for who she was. It was a great story of personal growth and understanding that I think we all have about our mothers as we grow older. While the novel was sad as Meg had to confront that her mother was dying, it also had many light hearted moments that made me laugh out loud. One such moment is when she thinks this about her boyfriend, “I sometimes think that Mark should wear a spandex leotard, a mask, and a cape with an enormous R printed on the back. Rationality Man to the rescue, applying logic in the midst of chaos.”
The novel was beautifully written by author Maria Goodin, a new British author. Some of my favorite lines included:
“I try to imagine a world without you in it. A world where I have no one to call when I can’t remember the recipe for chicken soup; where no one bakes my favorite chocolate cake on my birthday; where no one rings me on a cold winter’s morning just to check if I have warm socks on. . . A world where no one says, ‘Do you remember when. . . ?’ or ‘When you were little. . . ‘
“What happens when you don’t know the truth but you can’t believe the lies, when you can’t find a way – through fact or fiction – to give meaning to your own existence? Without a narrative for your own life, do you ever really exist at all?”
“On Christmas Day, snowflakes made of sugar drift down from the sky, and in spring the cows grazing in the meadows produce banana milkshakes. There are little bridges made of gingerbread and picket fences made of pastry. . . “
Overall, I highly recommend this unique and wonderful novel. I loved it and I think my book club would really enjoy it as well. It has a reader’s guide in the back that would be good for book clubs. I always think of good books as books that I think about long after I have finished reading them. I finished this book Tuesday night and I’ve been thinking about it since then. A good book can also reduce me to tears, which From the Kitchen of Half Truth did as well.
Book Source: Review Copy from Sourcebooks – Thanks!
Monday, April 1, 2013
I was more than a little excited to receive this novel for Christmas from my best friend Jenn. I quickly flipped it open, only to discover that Gabaldon’s story was last. I then proceeded to read it, and then start the book from page 1, and read the story again at the end.
There are too many great stories in this book and not enough time to give them all a proper review. I can say thought that the stories were awesome and gave me many new writers to add to my “to read” list. The stories ranged from ill-fated love in space, to stories that were more enchanted fairy tale. I loved each one for its uniqueness. I had never read any of Jim Butcher’s Dresden file books, but he had a fantastic story in this collection. Consider me signed up to check out his books!
Sadly, one of the weaker stories in the collection was actually Gabaldon’s story. It felt like it was a chapter from An Echo in the Bone. If I was going into this story and had no idea who these characters were and the background behind it, I would have been very, very confused. Even being a fan, I finished the story slightly confused and like with all Gabaldon books, wanting more!! The story did answer my question of what happened to Roger’s father, but I want to know what happened to Roger! Hopefully we’ll get more clarification in Gabaldon’s next novel.
Overall, this book is excellent. I am a lover of short stories, romance, and fantasy so this book was right up my alley. If you like your stories to be on the unexpected side are a fan of Gabaldon, Martin, Butcher or shows such as Game of Thrones, or Once Upon a Time, this book is for you!
Book Source: This was a Christmas gift from my best friend Jenn
Growing up is only half the battle as once Brunin reaches the age to start thinking about his inheritance as the heir of Whittington and Alberbury castles, he finds them broiled in a dispute. His youth was spent during the endless wars of King Stephen and Empress Matilda fighting for the English thrown. As he reaches maturity, Matilda’s son Henry has taken the thrown as Henry II. As both Brunin’s father and Lord Joscelin supported Henry, this is considered a positive. Unfortunately other forces believe that they should be the lords of Whittington and Ludlow and are willing to take it by force. Love and treachery are definitely the major themes of this novel.
I loved Brunin the sensitive, but skilled fighter. The striking picture on the front of this novel helped as well. I also loved Hawise. She was not a typical maiden of the time, but was strong willed and willing to go head to head with Brunin. Joscelin was a kind, compassionate, and powerful lord and I also loved his fierce lady, Sybilla. The villains were also fierce, some were written so compassionately, I felt sorry for them. I can’t say more and ruin the plot!
Chadwick has a gift and is a superb historical fiction writer. Her characters and scenes come alive and I think of them long after I have finished one of her books. She uses vast historical research as well as reenactments to write her novels. I believe that is why one feels that you are there in the time and place. Chadwick’s novels are more than a good read, they are an experience.
Shadows and Strongholds is the prequel to her novel, Lords of the White Castle which is the “story of medieval outlaw Fulke Fitzwarin and his endeavors to have his family lands restored.” I really want to read this and looked it up on amazon. Unfortunately it is not currently in print in the U.S. I hope that Sourcebooks publishes it soon – I really want to know the rest of the story of Brunin and Hawise.
Overall, Shadows and Strongholds is another superb novel by Elizabeth Chadwick. I’ve read a lot of good books lately, but this book reigns supreme over them all. I’ve been watching Game of Thrones a lot lately. If you are a fan of Game of Thrones, I would highly recommend Shadows and Strongholds or any Elizabeth Chadwick novel. History is just as riveting as fiction, although there are less white walkers and dragons.
Source: A review copy from Sourcebooks – Thanks!
Charlotte Wylde married a much older gentleman, Henry Wylde, at eighteen. While he was a friend of her father, he proved to be a terrible husband that was more interested in using Charlotte’s inheritance to purchase antiques than in Charlotte herself. Needless to say, Charlotte is not as unhappy as she should be at her husband’s demise.
Charlotte and her trusty maid Lucy are shocked to discover that Charlotte has been left with no money. The servants soon leave and Henry’s nephew Alec meets Charlotte for the first time. Henry was eccentric and never bothered to tell any of his family that he had married. Alec is determined to help Charlotte and to discover the mystery of who killed his Uncle. As the two are thrown together, they discover there is a spark between them. A spark that is threatened by the fact that Charlotte is the prime suspect in her husband’s murder.
I also loved the side love story that was happening below stairs between Charlotte’s maid, Lucy, and Alec’s footman, Ethan. Ethan is instantly smitten with Lucy, but Lucy is afraid to throw herself away on a philanderer. Their love grows and it is very sweet.
Overall, I loved this romance. Wonderful characters and a great mystery for a plot drove this novel to a satisfying conclusion. I definitely need to read more Jane Ashford!
Source: A review copy from Sourcebooks – Thanks!
Overall, Lady Eve’s Indiscretion was another winning romance from Grace Burrowes. It was a perfect light read to read in winter and February, the month of romance.
Source: A review copy from Sourcebooks – Thanks!