Thursday, January 29, 2015

Disconnected by Jennifer Weiner

Title: Disconnected
Author: Jennifer Weiner
Read by:  Jess Weixler
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Length: Approximately 1 hour (1 CD)
Source:  Review Copy from Simon & Schuster – Thanks!

Jennifer Weiner is one of my favorite authors.  I love her strong heroines.  I was intrigued to listen to this short story of Weiner’s...  This story can be a stand-alone or a companion to Weiner’s latest novel, All Fall Down.

After waking up in the hospital from a nearly fatal overdose, Shannon Will goes to rehab for the sixth, and she vows last time. To start life over, she trades in her old phone for a new one with a new number.  The only number from her past life that she keeps is her parents’ phone number.  When she starts to get mysterious texts from an unknown number, she starts to realize that starting over may be harder than she thought.

I loved the suspense of this short story; it took it in a completely different direction than I thought it would go.  I’m still thinking about the ending.  It was a great audiobook to listen to.  It kept me riveted on my drive to work.

Overall, if you are looking for a great suspense read, I highly recommend this short story.

Baby It’s Cold Outside by Jennifer Probst, Emma Chase, Kristen Proby, Melody Anne, and Kate Meader

Title: Baby It’s Cold Outside
Jennifer Probst, Emma Chase, Kristen Proby, Melody Anne, and Kate Meader
Read by: 
Deacon Lee, Madeleine Maby, Rebekkah Ross and Sebastian York
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Length: Approximately 12 hours
Source:  Digital Review Copy from Simon & Schuster – Thanks!

Baby It’s Cold Outside is a series of five short stories that are set in winter, but are anything but cold.  The stories are very steamy romance stories that were all interesting to listen to.  I’ll admit though that the real stand out story for me was “It's A Wonderful Tangled Christmas Carol” by Emma Chase.  Drew is a married to the love of his life and has a wonderful son.  He decides he needs to work late on Christmas Eve and not spend time with his family in order to win a big client.  He is visited by three ghosts who show him otherwise.  I really enjoyed this take on A Christmas Carol, and particularly liked Drew’s jaded point of view.  I laughed out loud a few times while listening to this story.  The audiobook narrators were great for the entire book, but this story in particular. 

I will admit though to being slightly prudish and there was a bit too much . . . steaminess in this book for me to comfortably listen to at times. Overall this book was a good mix of wintry romances.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant is the third novel in the Divergent Trilogy, or should I say series now that a new book, Four, has been released.  I read the first two novels, Divergent and Insurgent last summer and literally couldn’t put them down.  I found them to be an exciting tale of a dystopian future with a great female hero and an interesting mystery of how exactly the different factions of the society in future Chicago were created.

Allegiant attempts to explain this mystery with Tris, Four, and friends becoming part of a new group, the Allegiant, that wants to return society to the old way of life that includes the factions.  This group escapes beyond the City walls and finds out what is in the world beyond.  Tris finds herself once again called upon to save the day.

Honestly, I had a hard time getting into this novel and unlike the previous two, I could easily put it down and didn’t feel the need to pick it up and finish it.  Part of the problem to me was the dual narration.  Tris and Four both narrated this novel; Tris was the sole narrator in the first two novels.  I didn’t see the point of the dual narration as the two were in the same place for most of the novel and didn’t have a distinctive voice.  I often had to flip back to the beginning of the chapter to remind myself who the narrator of this particular chapter was.  I also thought the mystery of the factions was a bit of a letdown and that there was no clear story for this one.  The sacrifice at the end didn’t seem reasonable or that it was really needed.  I didn’t feel like Tris had a clear goal or direction in this book.

Overall, Allegiant was a poor ending for the Divergent Trilogy with a shift in format and no clear direction on the action.  I felt like the first book was a great idea, but that the background for the idea had never been thought of until afterwards.

Book Source:  A Birthday Present from my Husband

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Angels Walking by Karen Kingsbury

Title: Angels Walking
Author: Karen Kingsbury
Read by: Kirby Heyborne and January Lavoy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Length: Approximately 12 hours (9 CDs)
Source: Simon & Schuster Audio Review Copy – Thank-you!

Angels Walking is the first in a new series of books by Karen Kingsbury.  In heaven, angels have become concerned that an important child will not be born unless Tyler Ames and his only love Sami Dawson are put back on the path to each other.  Two angels are sent to earth to help to clear their path.  Tyler Ames was an all-star little league baseball player.  He had everything going for him, but chose to go straight to the minor leagues instead of college leaving behind his family and love Sami Dawson.  A series of bad choices has estranged Tyler from both his family and Sami. After unfortunate accident, Tyler is left with nothing and with the help of angels he is able to find a new job as maintenance man at a nursing home.  There he meets and befriends a wonderful old woman, Virginia Hutcheson.  Meanwhile Sami has a successful career and powerful perfect boyfriend, but finds that something is missing in her life. Will they both be able to find what they need in life and each other?

I’ll admit that I was turned off by the beginning of this book.  I thought the intro with the angels was very pretentious and heavy handed.  The way the angels described the important child was that he was almost the Christ child, which actually offended me.   Luckily I stuck with it as ironically once the story returned to earth and the angels only made random appearances to put our protagonist on the right path, it became a much stronger story.  I really enjoyed Tyler and Sami’s journey.  I was particularly touched with Tyler’s relationship with Virginia.  It was wonderful.

The audiobook had two narrators, Kirby Heyborne for the chapters told from Tyler’s point of view, and January Lavoy for the chapters told from Sami’s point of view.  I liked this type of narration and thought they did a wonderful job.

Overall, a good story about how life doesn’t always go as one expects, but that love and relationships are what matters.