June Is Audiobook Month (JIAM) Blog Tour #loveaudiobooks @Audiobook_Comm

Greetings! Welcome to my stop on the June Is Audiobook Month (JIAM) Blog Tour, organized by the Audio Publishers Association. Click HERE for a list of all participating blogs!

I started listening to audiobooks about 4½ years ago, and it was my blog buddy Felicia (The Geeky Blogger) who got me hooked on the format. I was hesitant at first, but then realized that audiobooks would let me read and do necessary non-reading things at the same time. Win-win! Yard work isn’t so bad when I can listen to a great book.

I’m an eclectic reader – or listener, as the case may be – so I’ve chosen a recommendation from a few of my favorite fiction genres. The samples below are linked to Audiobook.com.


PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER

YOU by Caroline Kepnes
Narrator: Santino Fontana
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Why? YOU was a well written novel, unique, suspenseful, and full of pop culture references – I’ll forever associate YOU with IKEA – however, the BIG reason I enjoyed this book so much was the audio performance by Santino Fontana. His narration was brilliant, probably my all-time favorite on audiobook. Joe’s character was a total and complete sociopath, but dang it, Santino Fontana made me sympathize with Joe, even *gasp* love him in a crazy sort of way. He WAS Joe. Amazing… and chilling! Bonus: You can get a second helping of Joe in the sequel, HIDDEN BODIES.

WOMEN’S FICTION

THE SOUND OF GLASS by Karen White
Narrators: Therese Plummer, Susan Bennett
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Why? This was the first book I read by Karen White, and I was wowed! THE SOUND OF GLASS is a remarkable, character-driven story of mystery, family secrets, loss, second chances, and letting go. Narrators Therese Plummer and Susan Bennett did a wonderful job capturing the characters’ personalities, including stubborn Merritt, sugary sweet Loralee, and stoic Edith. This Southern family drama makes a perfect summer read.

MYSTERY

HE’S GONE by Deb Caletti
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
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Why? HE’S GONE is an intriguing blend of suspense and women’s fiction, with a puzzling mystery and emotional backstory to keep readers hooked. The story moves back and forth between the main character, Dani Keller, searching for clues to her missing husband’s whereabouts, and Dani’s introspective look at her life and what’s brought her to this point in time. Cassandra Campbell is one of my favorite narrators, and she was perfect as Dani Keller’s voice, capturing her personality and predicament very well.

HISTORICAL FICTION

MY NOTORIOUS LIFE by Kate Manning
Narrator: Terry Donnelly
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Why? The audiobook of Kate Manning’s MY NOTORIOUS LIFE was amazing. The notorious life in question is that of Axie Muldoon, a poor orphan who became a wealthy female physician and midwife in 19th century New York City. Axie’s character was inspired by the real life story of Madame Restell, a controversial family planning provider in the 1800s. This epic tale was brilliantly narrated by Terry Donnelly, who I believe was channeling Axie as she read her memoirs. Ms. Donnelly’s performance truly captured Axie’s passion and courage.

GOTHIC FICTION

JANE STEELE by Lyndsay Faye
Narrator: Susie Riddell
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Why? Like me, the character Jane Steele is a huge fan of JANE EYRE, and in many ways her life mirrors that of her favorite character. Only, Miss Steele is a wee bit of a sociopath, but in the best way possible! When she sees an injustice, she handles it in her own vigilante way. Retellings of classics can be tricky, but this one was clever and captivating, and I loved it. Narrator Susie Riddell’s performance made this an entertaining listen. The book was full of many characters with different accents, and she brought each of the players to life. I enjoyed every minute.

LITERARY FICTION

THE COLOR PURPLE by Alice Walker
Narrator: Alice Walker
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Why? What can I say about THE COLOR PURPLE? Wow. It’s the ultimate story of survival, even when everything in life is stacked against you. When Celie tells her sister Nettie to write, and Nettie responds “Nothing but death can keep me from it!” well, that’s when the tears start flowing. I’ve loved this book for 25 years, and just recently did I get a chance to listen to it on audio. It’s narrated by the author herself, Alice Walker, and her voice was perfect for Celie. I enjoyed it so much, and I think everyone should give this book a read or listen. Powerful!


Thanks so much for stopping by today! Have you listened to any of these audiobooks or narrators? What did you think? Any recommendations for me?

Before you go, please check out my social links below, and remember to visit the other JIAM Blog Tour participants throughout the month. Happy listening!

Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Bloglovin


THE VICTORIAN CITY: EVERYDAY LIFE IN DICKENS’ LONDON by Judith Flanders (Audiobook)


Publisher: Tantor Audio
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


The 19th century was a time of unprecedented change, and nowhere was this more apparent than London. In only a few decades, the capital grew from a compact Regency town into a sprawling metropolis of six-and-a-half million inhabitants, the largest city the world had ever seen. Technology – railways, street-lighting, and sewers – transformed both the city and the experience of city living, as London expanded in every direction.

Now, Judith Flanders, one of Britain’s foremost social historians, explores the world portrayed so vividly in Dickens’ novels, showing life on the streets of London in colorful, fascinating detail. From the moment Charles Dickens, the century’s best-loved English novelist and London’s greatest observer, arrived in the city in 1822, he obsessively walked its streets, recording its pleasures, curiosities, and cruelties.

Now, with him, Flanders leads us through the markets, transport systems, sewers, rivers, slums, alleys, cemeteries, gin palaces, chop-houses, and entertainment emporia of Dickens’ London, to reveal the Victorian capital in all its variety, vibrancy, and squalor.


THE VICTORIAN CITY is a meticulously researched and very detailed book about London life during the time Charles Dickens walked its streets. The focus is mainly on the mechanics of daily life, and it gives an in depth look at everything, from how the streets were paved to the little amount of water each family had to take care of all their needs. This book puts you there, surrounded by the constant movement and bothersome noise.

The author blends in snippets from Dickens’ work to show where his inspirations came from. In truth I haven’t read much Dickens, maybe just A Christmas Carol years ago, but I love historical fiction set in the Victorian times, so I was interested in learning more. The book could be a bit dry at times, but also eye-opening. Made me appreciate living in modern times even more.


Audiobook • 16 hrs, 5 mins • Corrie James, Narrator

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Corrie James, and I thought that she was a good fit for this book. Even though this is nonfiction, she was able to add inflection and flair in the reading, especially with the voices of the different Londoners.


Disclosure: I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

THE GOOD AT HEART by Ursula Werner (Audiobook)


Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★


Based on the author’s discoveries about her great-grandfather, this stunning debut novel takes place over three days when World War II comes to the doorstep of an ordinary German family living in an idyllic rural village near the Swiss border.

When World War II breaks out, Edith and Oskar Eberhardt move their family – their daughter, Marina; son-in-law, Franz; and granddaughters – out of Berlin and into a small house in the quiet town of Blumental, near Switzerland. A member of Hitler’s cabinet, Oskar is gone most of the time, and Franz begins fighting in the war, so the women of the house are left to their quiet lives in the picturesque village.

But life in Blumental isn’t as idyllic as it appears. An egotistical Nazi captain terrorizes the citizens he’s assigned to protect. Neighbors spy on each other. Some mysteriously disappear. Marina has a lover who also has close ties to her family and the government. Thinking none of them share her hatred of the Reich, she joins a Protestant priest smuggling Jewish refugees over the nearby Swiss border. The latest “package” is two Polish girls who’ve lost the rest of their family, and against her better judgment, Marina finds she must hide them in the Eberhardts’ cellar. Everything is set to go smoothly until Oskar comes home with the news that the Führer will be visiting the area for a concert, and he will be making a house call on the Eberhardts.

Based on the author’s discoveries about her great-grandfather, this extraordinary debut, full of love, tragedy, and suspense, is a sensitive portrait of a family torn between doing their duty for their country and doing what’s right for their country, and especially for those they love.


I love historical fiction set during World War II, and this one was a bit different since it focused on a German family whose patriarch is a member of Hitler’s cabinet. Oskar Eberhardt has moved his family – wife, daughter, and granddaughters – to a small village close to the Swiss border called Blumental. Here they’ll be protected from most of the horrors of the war, or so it seems. Within the town, there are people who support the Führer or seem apathetic, and those who oppose the Nazis and will fight back however they’re able, which of course puts their lives in danger. Oskar’s daughter Marina is part of the secret resistance.

While I liked the story involving the rescue of two Jewish girls, overall I just wasn’t riveted. The plot moved along slowly, and I was expecting more suspense or drama considering the subject matter. I was pleased and surprised at the bittersweet ending though. “Good at Heart” was a fitting title, taken from an entry in Anne Frank’s diary.


Audiobook • 9 hrs, 44 mins • Gibson Frazier, Narrator

I like Gibson Frazier’s voice. He performed the narration for GOOD AT HEART in a straightforward way without a lot of emotion, which I suppose fit with the book. A little more inflection might have made the story more exciting.


Disclosure: I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.