Another Piece of My Heart by Jane Green – Audiobook Review

Another Piece of My Heart by Jane Green, narrated by Jane Green
Published in audio by Macmillan Audio, published in print by TK

Synopsis:

Andi has always wanted a family, to be a mother. When she finally gets married at thirty-seven, she is delighted that her husband Ethan already has children she can love – although she does hope to have one of her own as well. Ethan’s younger daughter, Sophia, is a dream, and Andi can love her as if she was her own. His older daughter, Emily, on the other hand, sees Andi as an interloper come to steal her father, and wants nothing to do with her. In the wake of her parents’ divorce and her father’s remarriage to a woman she hates, Emily has become a holy terror. She breaks curfew, drinks, and does drugs. Unfortunately, she also has her father wrapped around her little finger, so no consequences ever stick to her.

The real crisis for the family comes one night when Emily ends up arrested for underage drinking, and Andi discovers that she is pregnant. It is unlikely Andi will ever have children at this point, so it seems that this might just be the answer she is looking for. Of course, with Emily, nothing is ever easy.

Thoughts on the story:

The entire first section of Another Piece of My Heart is in third person, from Andi’s point of view. Something odd happens in the second section, though. More characters begin to get a voice, including Emily, whose story is told in first person. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book before where a first person narrative was introduced 1/3 of the way into the book, and I must say it confused me, as I thought that Andi was the main character. Eventually, though, it works, because as the story progresses it was equally important that the reader understand Emily’s thought process, and leaving her in third person like everyone else might have made that difficult, subsumed her as a more minor character.

Another Piece of My Heart is incredibly engaging, particularly as Green begins to show the tension between Andi and Emily from both women’s perspectives. Emily continues to come off as a spoiled, petulant brat, but that is less obnoxious as the reader delves deeper into her psyche and understands better just how and why she is so damaged. I do think that it needed better editing, however. Another Piece of My Heart weighs in at 400 pages or almost 14 hours of audio, and it would have only improved the book to have cut out about 50 pages. In addition, Green’s British background showed through from time to time, as her thoroughly American characters occasionally spouted Britishisms that you certainly wouldn’t expect to hear from Californians

Thoughts on the audio production:

It really, really did not work for me to have Green narrate. As authors narrating their own books go, she is not bad, she expressed emotion well, and clearly had a good feel for Another Piece of My Heart, as she wrote it. However, and this is a big however, the book is set in California with an all-American cast. Green is British. It threw me for a loop to have a British accent coming out of the mouths of these Californian characters, it simply didn’t work. It also drew attention to the aforementioned Britisisms in the text. I’m actually not sure I would have noticed them, had I been reading, but hearing them in a British voice caught my attention immediately.

Overall:

If you’re going to check this out, I would probably recommend print.

Another Piece of My Heart  is the SheKnows Book Club pick for April. If you’ve read it, join us for a discussion on Jane Green’s Facebook page from 8-9 pm Eastern on Thursday, April 26th.

Buy this book from:
Powells: Audio/Print*
Indiebound: Audio/Print*

I’m launching a brand-new meme every Friday! I encourage you to review any audiobooks you review on Fridays and include the link here. If you have reviewed an audiobook earlier in the week, please feel free to link that review as well. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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Save Me by Lisa Scottoline – Audiobook Review

Save Me by Lisa Scottoline, narrated by Cynthia Nixon
Published in audio by Macmillan Audio, published in print by St. Martin’s Griffin, both imprints of Macmillan

Synopsis:

In an attempt to protect her bullied daughter, Rose McKenna volunteers as a school lunch mom. After witnessing an emotional attack on Melly, her shy 3rd grader, Rose is attempting to reason with Melly’s tormentors when an explosion rocks the lunch room. Suddenly  Rose must decide whether to save the three girls in front of her, or whether to go off in search of Melly, who she is reasonably sure is hiding in the handicapped bathroom adjacent to the kitchen, where the explosion seems to have come from. Rose’s decision at this crucial point first finds her hailed as a hero, but soon reports come in of another injury, and Rose becomes the most demonized woman in her small town. How can she balance assuaging her guilt, protecting her family, and avoiding being sued?

Thoughts on the story:

Scottoline doesn’t pull any punches with Save Me. The story opens with Rose as lunch mom, and the ensuing explosion. The horror of the fire and of attempting to rescue your child are immediate. It is quite an opening, throwing the reader straight into the midst of Rose’s now-chaotic life. It is really pretty brutal for awhile, Rose is continually beaten down by the feeling that she could and should have done more, she is mobbed by reporters, and often talked down to by her own husband. In some ways. the turn Save Me  eventually takes is a relief, a break from the gut-wrenching guilt, pain, and misery that has come to characterize Rose’s life. At the same time, however, the end of Save Me seems to become almost another book entirely, as Rose delves into the surprising cause of the fire.

Thoughts on the audio production:

In all honesty, I was a bit terrified at the idea of listening to Cynthia Nixon for 8 hours. Don’t get me wrong, I like her and have nothing against her voice, but I had visions (auditory hallucinations?) of not being able to hear anything but Sex and the City‘s Miranda for the entire book. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Nixon really is a capable narrator. My only real problem with her performance was her voice for Melly, which sounded masculine and a bit gravelly instead of young. The audio also highlighted for me a couple of textual annoyances that I would likely not have noticed if I had been reading the book. One was the constant mention of the klieg lights, whenever the reporters hovered around Rose, and the other was the fact that Rose seemed to be completely and annoyingly incapable of keeping her cell phone charged.

Overall:

I think many readers will find Save Me highly enjoyable in either print or audio.

Save Me is the SheKnows Book Club pick for March. If you’ve read it, join us for a discussion on Lisa Scottoline’s Facebook page from 8-9 pm Eastern on Thursday, March 29th.

 

 

Buy this book from:
Powells: Audio/Print*
Indiebound: Audio/Print*

I’m launching a brand-new meme every Friday! I encourage you to review any audiobooks you review on Fridays and include the link here. If you have reviewed an audiobook earlier in the week, please feel free to link that review as well. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos – Audiobook Review

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos, narrated by Jack Gantos
Published in audio by Macmillan Audio, published in print by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux (BYR), both imprints of Macmillan

Synopsis:

Growing up can be difficult, especially when you live in an exceedingly quirky town called Norvelt that was originally founded by Eleanor Roosevelt that consists mostly of elderly people. It is even harder when you’re Jack Gantos and you’re grounded for the summer thanks to conflicting directions from your mom who loves Norvelt and your father who hates it. It looks like it might be a boring summer for Jack, until he is apprenticed to the town’s arthritic obit writer and medical examiner. Suddenly, being grounded has never been so interesting.

Thoughts on the story:

Quirkiness abounds! Gantos seems to have a great love for the absurd, but at times while listening, I felt that the goal was absurdity for its own sake, which I did not find particularly endearing. In fact, I was nearly halfway into Dead End in Norvelt before I determined that I would, indeed, continue through to the end and not simply abandon the book. Eventually, though, the town of Norvelt and its inhabitants grew on me and, by the end, I was even a bit sad that the book had ended.

One interesting thing about Dead End in Norvelt is the way it blends events from Gantos’s own life with those that occurred only in his imagination. I often wondered exactly where that line was.

Thoughts on the audio production:

Like the story, Gantos’s narration took some time to grow on me. He came across initially as a somewhat less funny David Sedaris. In general, though, I do think he was the best person to tell his own story, as he was able to perfectly give voice to some of the oddness contained therein.

Overall:

Although I am not overly enthusiastic about Dead End in Norvelt, I do think it is worth picking up if the synopsis interests you, or if you are in the mood for a quirky listen.

Buy this book from:
Powells: Audio/Print*
Indiebound: Audio/Print*

I’m launching a brand-new meme every Friday! I encourage you to review any audiobooks you review on Fridays and include the link here. If you have reviewed an audiobook earlier in the week, please feel free to link that review as well. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.

Source: .
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny – Audiobook Spotlight

A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny, narrated by Ralph Cosham
Published in audio by Macmillan Audio, published in print by Minotaur Books, both imprints of Macmillan

In the fall of 2009, I discovered the amazing crime fiction blog, Jen’s Book Thoughts. If you don’t know Jen’s blog and you ever read (or listen to) crime fiction, you must hie yourself over there immediately, er, as soon as you finish reading this post. One of Jen’s recent posts in particular caught my eye, her effusive review of Louise Penny’s The Brutal Telling. She sold me on it, and a few months later I read the first book in Penny’s Inspector Gamache series, Still Life and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Unfortunately, those were the days before I had FictFact to manage my series intake, and I managed to more or less forget about the Gamache series for some time, until this latest book, A Trick of the Light was released. Suddenly I find myself in possession of the most recent audiobook, after hearing over and over again from Jen and other bloggers I trust how fantastic the audiobooks are, but at the same time being told that I really should read at least the two previous books before getting to this one. Here’s a description of A Trick of the Light I found on Indiebound:

“Hearts are broken,” Lillian Dyson carefully underlined in a book. “Sweet relationships are dead.”
But now Lillian herself is dead. Found among the bleeding hearts and lilacs of Clara Morrow’s garden in Three Pines, shattering the celebrations of Clara’s solo show at the famed Musée in Montreal. Chief Inspector Gamache, the head of homicide at the Sûreté du Québec, is called to the tiny Quebec village and there he finds the art world gathered, and with it a world of shading and nuance, a world of shadow and light.  Where nothing is as it seems.  Behind every smile there lurks a sneer. Inside every sweet relationship there hides a broken heart.  And even when facts are slowly exposed, it is no longer clear to Gamache and his team if what they’ve found is the truth, or simply a trick of the light.

If you suddenly see an influx of Louise Penny reviews on this blog, you’ll know why. It is me, desperately trying to catch up so I can listen to A Trick of the Light. If you’re curious, you can listen to a clip and see why I’m so looking forward to it.

Buy this book from:
Powells: Audio/Print*
Indiebound: Audio/Print*

I’m launching a brand-new meme every Friday! I encourage you to review any audiobooks you review on Fridays and include the link here. If you have reviewed an audiobook earlier in the week, please feel free to link that review as well. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2011