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Friday, July 21, 2017

#Audiobook #Review: 3 out of 5 stars for Burntown by Jennifer McMahon @jennifermcmahon @PRHAudio

TITLE: Burntown
NARRATOR: Abby Crayden
PUBLISHER: Random House Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: April 25, 2017
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 10 hrs and 28 mins
GENRE: Thriller, Mystery
Ashford, Vermont, might look like your typical sleepy New England college town, but to the shadowy residents who live among the remains of its abandoned mills and factories, it's known as "Burntown".

Eva Sandeski, known as "Necco" on the street, has been a part of this underworld for years, ever since the night her father, Miles, drowned in a flood that left her and her mother, Lily, homeless. A respected professor, Miles was also an inventor of fantastic machines, including one so secret that the plans were said to have been stolen from Thomas Edison's workshop. According to Lily, it's this machine that got Miles murdered.

Necco has always written off this claim as the fevered imaginings of a woman consumed by grief. But when Lily dies under mysterious circumstances and Necco's boyfriend is murdered, she's convinced her mother was telling the truth. Now, on the run from the man called "Snake Eyes", Necco must rely on other Burntown outsiders to survive.

There are the "fire eaters", mystical women living off the grid in a campsite on the river's edge, practicing a kind of soothsaying inspired by powerful herbs called "the devil's snuff"; there's Theo, a high school senior who is scrambling to repay the money she owes a dangerous man; and then there's Pru, the cafeteria lady with a secret life.

As the lives of these misfits intersect, and as the killer from the Sandeski family's past draws ever closer, a story of edge-of-your-seat suspense begins to unfurl, with classic Jennifer McMahon twists and surprises.

MY REVIEW:

I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook for voluntary review consideration.

If you are looking for something that’s really different, this is the one for you! Burntown is a wondrously strange mix of mystery and supernatural that will keep you entertained.

The story is centred around the Sandeski family. We first go back in time to 1975, when Miles Sandeski (age 10) witnesses a man in a rubber chicken mask creep up on his mother who is lying on a lawn chair. The man in disguise bends down to say something to Miles’ mom, Elizabeth, and she laughs. The man then slits her throat and Miles, who is pretending to be Robin Hood and is hiding in the bushes, launches an arrow at the man and strikes him in the back. Miles’ father, Martin, is later arrested after police discover the mask and knife in his vehicle and he commits suicide while in police custody. Miles is then raised by Martin’s sister, Holly. His father left him a letter, telling him where to find the plans for Thomas Edison’s secret invention which had been acquired by Martin’s father who worked for Edison. The device was intended to be used to communicate with the dead.

Miles becomes best friends with his aunt’s neighbor, Lily, and their friendship blossoms into love when they get older and they marry. They have two children, Errol and Eva.

Miles decides to build Edison’s invention, and he uses the machine to make contact with his mother, who tells him the name of her killer. Many years pass before the machine is turned on again, and Elizabeth warns the Sandeski family that they are in danger. Miles and Errol are killed in a flood, and Lily and Eva escape. They live on the streets, in hiding. Lily dies, and the police rule her death a suicide but Eva is suspicious. Then Eva’s boyfriend is killed, and Eva is afraid that she is the next target.

McMahon provides an eclectic mix of characters, from fire-breathers to a woman named Pru (loved her!) whose ambition is to be the largest fat lady that ever was in the circus and who has built an entire circus in her living room, and a girl named Theo who falls in love with a drug dealer who has seduced her into believing their lesbian relationship is something special but really she and is two-timing her with a guy and is only using her. I enjoyed this character-driven story, and I will definitely read more of McMahon’s work!

Narrator Abby Craydon is new to me, and I thought she was great. I found her voice very pleasant to listen to, and I especially loved the voice she gave to Pru. Here is a sample of the narration:




MY RATING:
3 stars!! It was good, and I enjoyed it. Thanks again to Random House Audio for the opportunity to review this audiobook!

This book qualifies as:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Can't-Wait Wednesday: First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy @AlexandraSirowy @simonteen

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tessa @ Wishful Endings to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released as well. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. Find out more here.


Here is this week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection:

PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE: July 25, 2017
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 448 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Mystery
ISBN: 9781481478427
It started for pranks, fun, and forever memories.

A secret society – for the four of us.

The rules: Never lie. Never tell. Love each other.

We made the pledge and danced under the blood moon on the meteorite in the orchard. In the spot we found the dead girl five years earlier. And discovered the ancient drawings way before that.

Nothing could break the four of us apart – I thought.

But then, others wanted in. Our seaside town had secrets. History.

We wanted revenge.

We broke the rules. We lied. We told. We loved each other too much, not enough, and in ways we weren’t supposed to.

Our invention ratcheted out of control.

What started as a secret society, ended as justice. Revenge. Death. Rebellion.

This one sounds weird and creepy!


What are you waiting on? Please leave a comment in the section below. If you participate in this meme, please leave a link so I can visit your blog!

Monday, July 17, 2017

High Summer Read-a-Thon: Starting Line #HSreadathon @truebookaddict


The High Summer Read-a-Thon has begun!


I'm Reading:


Broken Angels
(Katie Maguire, Book #2)
by Graham Masterton

Burntown
by Jennifer McMahon
[on my iPod]


Final Girls
by Riley Sager
[on my iPod]


Next Up:


Beyond Exile
by J.L. Bourne
(Day by Day Armageddon, Book #2)



Into the Water
by Paula Hawkins
[on my iPod]



My picks for Michelle's Christmas in July Readathon will be:


by Fiona Harper


by Debbie Macomber
[on my iPod]


I will post my updates on Twitter using the #HSreadathon hashtag, and then do a wrap-up post at the end of the read-a-thon on my blog.

Thanks again to Michelle at Seasons of Reading for hosting!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

I'm still reading: 

Something from the library. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, and I was in the mood for a good mystery! I was away on a road trip last week, so I didn't have any time to really dig into this.


TITLE: Broken Angels
SERIES: Katie Maguire, Book #2
AUTHOR: Graham Masterton
PUBLISHER: Head of Zeus
PUBLICATION DATE: April 10, 2014 (first published 2012)
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 368 pages
GENRE: Mystery, Thriller
ISBN: 9781781852187
Someone is brutally killing Catholic priests. Revenge, or something more sinister Irelands first female detective must get to the truth in the second Katie Maguire mystery. One cold spring morning in County Cork, two fishermen find a bundle of rags floating in the Blackwater River. It is the bloated body of Father Heaney. His hands and feet are bound, and his neck bears the marks of garrotting wire. Worse still, he has been castrated. When a second priest is found murdered, his body bruised and beaten and the same savage wound hidden beneath his soutane, Detective Inspector Katie Maguire finds evidence of a sinister cover-up at St. Josephs Orphanage. But the Catholic diocese still wields considerable power here, and the Garda are under pressure to close the case. Katie has to work alone if she is to catch the killer in timebut first she must shatter a wall of silence that for decades has hidden a terrible secreta secret that is beyond belief.


I'm listening to:

Something from my review pile.

TITLE: Final Girls
AUTHOR: Riley Sager
NARRATORS: Erin Bennett and Hillary Huber
PUBLISHER: Penguin Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: July 11, 2017
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 12 hrs and 24 mins
GENRE: Thriller, Mystery
Ten years ago college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie-scale massacre. In an instant she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to - a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout's knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them and, with that, one another. Despite the media's attempts, they never meet.
Now Quincy is doing well - maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won't even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy's doorstep. Blowing through Quincy's life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa's death come to light, Quincy's life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam's truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started 10 years ago is finished.

I just finished:

TITLE: Burntown
NARRATOR: Abby Crayden
PUBLISHER: Random House Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: April 25, 2017
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 10 hrs and 28 mins
GENRE: Thriller, Mystery
Ashford, Vermont, might look like your typical sleepy New England college town, but to the shadowy residents who live among the remains of its abandoned mills and factories, it's known as "Burntown".

Eva Sandeski, known as "Necco" on the street, has been a part of this underworld for years, ever since the night her father, Miles, drowned in a flood that left her and her mother, Lily, homeless. A respected professor, Miles was also an inventor of fantastic machines, including one so secret that the plans were said to have been stolen from Thomas Edison's workshop. According to Lily, it's this machine that got Miles murdered.

Necco has always written off this claim as the fevered imaginings of a woman consumed by grief. But when Lily dies under mysterious circumstances and Necco's boyfriend is murdered, she's convinced her mother was telling the truth. Now, on the run from the man called "Snake Eyes", Necco must rely on other Burntown outsiders to survive.

There are the "fire eaters", mystical women living off the grid in a campsite on the river's edge, practicing a kind of soothsaying inspired by powerful herbs called "the devil's snuff"; there's Theo, a high school senior who is scrambling to repay the money she owes a dangerous man; and then there's Pru, the cafeteria lady with a secret life.

As the lives of these misfits intersect, and as the killer from the Sandeski family's past draws ever closer, a story of edge-of-your-seat suspense begins to unfurl, with classic Jennifer McMahon twists and surprises.

What are you reading? Have you read any of these books and, if so, what did you think? Please let me know in the comments and, if you are also participating in this meme, leave me a link to your blog post so that I can stop by!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Stacking The Shelves and Sunday Post


This meme is hosted by Tynga over at Team Tynga's Reviews, which she describes as follows:

"Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!"




Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme


The weather here is gorgeous, and I am planning to do this for the rest of the day:






Have you all been taking advantage of the FREE audiobooks that SYNC has been offering? I love this program! Each week during the summer, there is a new pair of audiobooks up for grabs and you need to download them before the new pair is up which takes place every Thursday at 7:00 AM EST. The pairing consists of a newer YA book with a classic or non-fiction title, and it's based on a weekly theme. The books are suitable for ages 13+.

Here are the Week 12 FREE audiobooks, which you can download HERE. You have to download them by 7:00 AM EST on July 20th. Once you have downloaded them, the audiobooks are yours to keep forever and listen at your leisure.


Here is information about Week 12's theme:

During Week 12 of AudiobookSYNC’s season, our pair of free audiobooks includes a nonfiction exploration of flavor and a teen novel in which food also plays a significant role.

Mark Schatzker’s THE DORITO EFFECT: THE SURPRISING NEW TRUTH ABOUT FOOD AND FLAVOR, from Dreamscape Audio, is filled with revelations, produced by many sciences, that inform us about the experience of our sense of taste. Narrated by Chris Patton, who earned an Earphones Award for his performance here, THE DORITO EFFECT explores the natural and manufactured chemicals that impart flavors; how our physiology influences our sensing taste; and how trends in agriculture and marketing influence what might be available for us to taste.

Deirdre Riordan Hall’s teen novel SUGAR, from Brilliance Audio, takes its title from the main character’s nickname. At 17, Mercy is overweight, and her obese mother is abusive. Narrator Tara Sands brings each of the multiethnic cast members, with their widely differing personalities, alive so that listeners feel Sugar’s despair, hopes, efforts, and endurance against her load of burdens. Listeners from the Northeast will be pleasantly surprised to discover a character of Polish-Puerto Rican heritage, a common combination in some neighborhoods that rarely appears in contemporary teen fiction. On the other hand, the bullying that is also realistically depicted in this novel will seem familiar to almost every listener.

This week’s pair of free audiobooks offers a lot of food for thought, although listeners may rethink their options about a good snack to choose after hearing them.

Sugar
by Dierdre Riordan Hall


The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor
by Mark Schatzker


I bought these audiobooks at Audible's $4.95 sale this week:


14
by Peter Clines


Rooms
by James L. Rubart


Recap: Last Week On The Blog

Sunday: Stacking the Shelves and Sunday Post


Friday: Audiobook Review: 3 out of 5 stars for Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy

Saturday: The 10th Canadian Book Challenge: Wrap-up Post


What books have you added to your shelves this week? If you are also participating in either of these memes, please leave me the link to your blog post in the comments so that I can come and drool over all your goodies!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The 10th Canadian Book Challenge: Wrap-up Post @BookMineSet


This is my Wrap-up Post for The 10th Canadian Book Challenge hosted by hosted by John at The Book Mine Set.

I never complete this one. I definitely don't read enough Canadian authors!

FINISHED: 5/13 BOOKS

That was fun, John! Thanks for hosting :)

Friday, July 14, 2017

#Audiobook #Review: 3 out of 5 stars for Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy @mailemeloy @PRHAudio

TITLE: Do Not Become Alarmed
AUTHOR: Maile Meloy
NARRATOR: Maile Meloy
PUBLISHER: Penguin Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: June 6, 2017
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 8 hrs and 58 mins
GENRE: Thriller, Mystery
The sun is shining, the sea is blue, the children have disappeared.

When Liv and Nora decide to take their husbands and children on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The adults are lulled by the ship's comfort and ease. The four children--ages six to eleven--love the nonstop buffet and their newfound independence. But when they all go ashore for an adventure in Central America, a series of minor misfortunes and miscalculations leads the families farther from the safety of the ship. One minute the children are there, and the next they're gone.

The disintegration of the world the families knew--told from the perspectives of both the adults and the children--is both riveting and revealing. The parents, accustomed to security and control, turn on each other and blame themselves, while the seemingly helpless children discover resources they never knew they possessed.

Do Not Become Alarmed is a story about the protective force of innocence and the limits of parental power, and an insightful look at privileged illusions of safety. Celebrated for her spare and moving fiction, Maile Meloy has written a gripping novel about how quickly what we count on can fall away, and the way a crisis shifts our perceptions of what matters most.

MY REVIEW:

I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook for voluntary review consideration.

Liv invites her cousin, Nora, and her family to join theirs on a two-week cruise from California down the coast to Panama and back. Liv and her husband, Benjamin, have two kids: Sebastian (age 8) and Penny (age 11). Nora and her husband, Raymond, also have two kids: June (age 6) and Markus (age 11). The families go with another couple from Argentina, also with two kids, to an on-shore excursion in Central America. The author refers to the country being the Switzerland of Central America, so I presume it is Costa Rica. The men decide to go golfing, while the ladies and children go with a local guide on a ziplining tour. The guide’s vehicle breaks down, and they decide to walk to the beach while they wait for help. The guide offers drinks to the ladies, and he takes Nora into the jungle to “look for birds” leaving the other two ladies in charge of all the children. Yup, you guessed it! Disaster strikes. While Nora is getting her rocks off in the jungle with the guide, the other ladies fall asleep in the hot sun and the children disappear. Everyone blames everyone else. Liv is angry with Nora for going off with the tour guide, and Nora is angry with Liv for falling asleep when she should have been watching the children! Liv says that she thought the Argentinian lady was keeping an eye on them, and Liv feels that the children wouldn’t have disappeared if Benjamin had been there. The men can hardly believe that the children have gone missing on mom’s watch, and there are bad feelings all around. It’s bad enough that the children have gone missing, but it becomes especially dire because Sebastian relies on an insulin pump which he wasn’t wearing before he went missing.

I liked the story, but I had a hard time connecting with the moms in this story! As a mom myself, I cannot fathom how a mom could fall asleep on a beach in a foreign country while no one is minding the children! Or, in Nora’s case, off in the jungle cheating on her husband while the children are swimming in crocodile-infested waters! I’m surprised that there weren’t more serious consequences, to the children and to the marriages. I think the parts of the story that I enjoyed the most were the sections narrated by the children so that we could see what was going on with them.

The book is narrated by the author, and I hate to say this but I wasn’t a fan of the narration. It was just okay for me. I found some of the vocalizations to be irritating, and her narration overall was a bit monotone. Here’s a sample of the narration:




MY RATING:
3 stars!! It was good, and I enjoyed it. Thanks again to Penguin Random House Audio for the opportunity to review this audiobook!

This book qualifies as:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

#Audiobook #Review: 5 out of 5 stars for One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost @Jeaniene_Frost @BlackstoneAudio @taviagilbert

SERIES: Night Huntress, Book #2
AUTHOR: Jeaniene Frost
NARRATORS: Tavia Gilbert
PUBLISHER: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
PUBLICATION DATE: October 20, 2010
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 9 hrs and 47 mins
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
You can run from the grave, but you can't hide. Half-vampire Cat Crawfield is now Special Agent Cat Crawfield, working for the government to rid the world of the rogue undead. She's still using everything Bones, her sexy and dangerous ex, taught her. But when Cat is targeted for assassination, the only man who can help her is the vampire she left behind.

Being around him awakens all her emotions, from the adrenaline kick of slaying vamps side by side to the reckless passion that consumed them. But a price on her head—wanted: dead or half-alive—means her survival depends on teaming up with Bones. And no matter how hard she tries to keep things professional between them, she'll find that desire lasts forever and that Bones won't let her get away again.

Jeaniene Frost, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, lives with her husband and their very spoiled dog in Florida. Although not a vampire herself, she confesses to having pale skin, wearing a lot of black, and sleeping in late whenever possible. And while she can't see ghosts, she loves to walk through old cemeteries. She also loves poetry and animals, but fears children and hates to cook.

Love in vein: listen to another Night Huntress novel.
MY REVIEW:

I thought that Frost couldn’t top the first book in the series, Halfway to the Grave, but I was wrong! The second installment in the Night Huntress series is just as good!

The story takes place approximately four years after things ended in Halfway to the Grave. Cat has been working for the Department of Homeland Security in Virginia, and she and Bones have remained apart. At the wedding of Cat’s best friend Denise, she is reunited with Bones who just happens to be a friend of Denise’s new husband!

I was just thrilled with how things went in the story! Not only did Cat and Bones reunite, but they will now be working together. I really love Cat’s team who always has her back, including Tate, Juan, Cooper, and Dave. Don is even growing on me, but I am still annoyed with Cat’s mother! Bones had the perfect comeback for her:

“You know what your problem is, Justina? You're in desperate need of a good shag."

I think Juan is my favourite character after Cat and Bones. He’s a slick dude and always makes me laugh. Here’s an example:

“Juan gave Bones the most admiring look he’d bestowed on him yet. “You talked her into going without panties all these years? Madre de Dios, now that’s impressive. I could learn a great deal from you, amigo.”

Frost really amped up the passion in this one! There is a scintillating scene, and my earbuds felt like they were smoking! I am just loving this series and can’t wait to read the next one, At Grave’s End.

I’ve said it before, but I have to say it again: Narrator Tavia Gilbert is absolutely perfect for this series! She captures the essence of both Cat and Bones, and I just love hearing her vocalization for Juan which always makes me laugh. I hope she continues to narrate the rest of the series! Here's a sample of the narration:



MY RATING:

5 stars!! It was really good, and you should put it in your TBR if you enjoy Paranormal Romances or Urban Fantasy!

This book qualifies as:
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