FAITHFUL by Alice Hoffman (Audiobook)

faithful
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


From the New York Times bestselling author of The Marriage of Opposites and The Dovekeepers comes a soul-searching story about a young woman struggling to redefine herself and the power of love, family, and fate.

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.

What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion — from dark suffering to true happiness — a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls — including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.


FAITHFUL is a sad yet hopeful coming of age story about a young woman dealing with grief and survivor’s guilt. After a tragic car accident, Shelby Richmond is able to walk away, but her best friend isn’t so lucky. Was there someone watching over her that night? Shelby is a troubled soul stuck in limbo when mysterious postcards start to arrive. The sender is anonymous and the messages are quite simple, but it’s just enough to nudge her forward, even a tiny bit.

I love Alice Hoffman’s prose, and the writing in this book is as beautiful as her others. Shelby’s character was difficult and not always easy to like, but deep down I knew she was good, partly due to her passion for rescuing misfit dogs! This is a story of healing, definitely pulled at my heartstrings. I had to grab the tissues a few times. FAITHFUL had a different “feel” to it than Hoffman’s other books I’ve read, though I still enjoyed it.


Audiobook • 8 hrs, 27 mins • Amber Tamblyn, Narrator

Amber Tamblyn narrated the audiobook, and this is the first time I’ve listened to a book read by her. I think she did fine with Shelby’s voice. Overall, nothing too emotional, which fit with Shelby’s apathetic disposition. If you prefer narrations with lots of inflection and drama, this wouldn’t be a good fit.


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

HER NIGHTLY EMBRACE by Adi Tantimedh (Audiobook)

hernightlyembrace
Series: Ravi PI, #1
Publisher: Atria/Leopoldo & Co
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★½


The first in a trilogy of whip-smart novels—currently in development as a TV series set to star Sendhil Ramamurthy (NBC’s Heroes and Heroes Reborn)—about a destructive private investigator and his eccentric coworkers, who handle cases so high-profile that they never make the headlines.

Ravi Chandra Singh is the last guy you’d expect to become a private detective. A failed religious scholar, he now works for Golden Sentinels, an upmarket London private investigations agency. His colleagues are a band of gleefully amoral and brilliant screw-ups: Ken and Clive, a pair of brutal ex-cops who are also a gay couple; Mark Chapman, a burned-out stoner hiding a great mind; Marcie Holder, a cheerful former publicist; Benjamin Lee, a techie prankster from South London; David Okri, an ambitious lawyer from a well-connected Nigerian immigrant family; and Olivia Wong, an upper-class Hong Kong financial analyst hiding her true skills as one of the most dangerous hackers in the world—all under the watchful eye of Roger Golden, wheeler-dealer extraordinaire, and his mysterious office manager, Cheryl Hughes.

Thrust into a world where the rich, famous, and powerful hire him to solve their problems and wash their dirty laundry, Ravi finds himself in over his head with increasingly gonzo and complex cases – and the recent visions that he’s been having of Hindu gods aren’t helping. As Ravi struggles to stay ahead of danger, he wonders if the things he’s seeing are a delusion – or if he might, in fact, be an unrecognized shaman of the modern world…


I heard a lot of buzz about this book, so I decided to give it a listen on audio. HER NIGHTLY EMBRACE is the first in a series that follows the investigations of Ravi Chandra Singh, P.I.

I enjoyed Ravi’s character. He’s smart, witty, flawed, and conflicted. He can see visions of Hindu Gods, or are they really there? They even tweet about him to each other. Ravi was once a religious scholar, but left his studies to become a teacher, a career that didn’t last long. Eventually he landed a job with an exclusive detective agency called Golden Sentinels.

This book is set up differently than I expected. Instead of having one central plot, the book is a collection of stories covering a different case Golden Sentinels is investigating. I think it worked pretty well. I do wish the secondary characters had been fleshed out a little more, which was probably harder to do jumping from story to story.

One note of caution: there is a lot of bad language in this book. A lot! After a while it became jarring and distracting. Swearing is fine when it’s called for, but this was a bit over the top for me.


Audiobook • 7 hrs, 30 mins • Sendhil Ramamurthy, Narrator

As the blurb says, this book is “currently in development as a TV series set to star Sendhil Ramamurthy,” so it makes sense that he would narrate the audiobook! Loved his performance as Ravi, and also did brilliantly with the other characters’ accents and mannerisms. I will definitely keep an eye out for HER NIGHTLY EMBRACE to come to the small screen.


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

THE TAXIDERMIST’S DAUGHTER by Kate Mosse (Audiobook)

The Taxidermist's Daughter
THE TAXIDERMIST’S DAUGHTER by Kate Mosse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jackdaws, magpies, crows, and more, I love birds from the Corvidae family, and they were the perfect Gothic inspiration for Kate Mosse’s gruesome historical novel, THE TAXIDERMIST’S DAUGHTER. This dark mystery centers around Connie, the daughter of a taxidermist – she, too, is one – and her quest to solve the mystery of a young woman’s murder. The story hooked me right away with its Poe-esque atmosphere. Chilling! The mystery itself was puzzling, twisty, and complex. Taxidermy give me the creeps, as did this book, so really it was a fitting backdrop to the story. Nice blend of murder mystery and old fashioned Gothic.


Audiobook • 10 hrs, 20 mins • Michelle Ford, Narrator

Parts of this book I listened to on audio, borrowed from the library. I enjoyed Michelle Ford’s performance. One thing that stood out was her ability to inflect a subtle feeling of dread into her voice, which was perfect for the subject matter of the book. She definitely enhanced the eerie Gothic feeling of the story!


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