Books Hauls · TBR

Spring 2021 Short Audiobook Haul

Today I would like to share the most recent short stories that I’ve added to my Audible library. These titles are Audible Originals that were offered free with my subscription.




Book Reviews · Recommendations

Buried Deep by Margot Hunt

Buried Deep
By: Margot Hunt

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Published: December 2019
Published by: Audible Original
Format Read: Audio book, Audible
Genre: Mystery, Short Story

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis

In this pulse-pounding short thriller, Maggie Cabot refuses to sit by idly as police re-open an investigation into the mysterious death of a woman her husband used to know.

After two decades in a near-perfect marriage, Maggie and James Cabot are enjoying their first year as empty-nesters in their charming Florida suburb, until two detectives arrive at their front door and change their lives forever.

The remains of a young woman have been found at a campsite in the Florida Keys. Hannah Nilsson, only 21 at the time of her disappearance, was last seen on a camping trip with a group of friends—including James, who dated Hannah long before he and Maggie ever met. Shocked and heartbroken, everyone on the trip said they assumed Hannah had wandered off toward shore, intoxicated from a long night of partying, and drowned. But the discovery of her body 25 years later, half a mile away from the campsite and buried six feet deep, makes it clear that her death was not accidental.

As the police dig back into the case, Maggie begins her own investigation, desperate to piece together the truth and clear her husband’s name once and for all. 

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

Buried Deep is a short mystery available exclusively as an Audible Original. I was instantly drawn into the plot and was curious to find out the truth about what happened to Hannah Nilsson all those years ago.

I was surprised by the more contemporary tone to the narration by Therese Plummer. I think that this fit better with the length of the audio book, as it takes time to build up suspense.

I appreciate that the author compared how the justice system is portrayed on television and in movies, to that of real life. And I also liked how the story concluded in an unexpected way.

Other reviewers have compared this book to Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, however I have never read that book so that could have played into my five star rating. Needless to say I really enjoyed this audio book.

I would highly recommend Buried Deep by Margot Hunt to audio book lovers who are looking for a quick mystery.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

The Engagement Party By: Kimberly Freeman

The Engagement Party
By: Kimberly Freeman

23016080

Published: August 2014
Published by: Hachette Australia
Format Read: Kindle, eBook
Genre: Historical fiction, short story

Rating: 2.5/5

Synopsis

Flora Honeychurch-Black awakens on the day of her engagement party excited yet somehow unsettled. Throughout the day, despite the well-meaning attention of her friend Liberty and the distraction of the household’s many preparations for the night’s celebration, Flora’s unease grows. Her much-loved, erratic brother Sam unwittingly adds to the tension, behaving oddly and drawing mirth from her suave fiance Tony and derision from some of his sophisticated coterie of friends.
As the storm clouds gather outside and the engagement party begins, Flora realises that something is amiss. Where is Sam? What secret is he hiding? The answers may be more than Flora – and her new relationships and loyalties – can bear.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

1920’s Australia: Readers are introduced to Flora, a young woman on the day of her engagement party. However she is uneasy and fights with the thought that she might be making the wrong decision to marry her fiancé Tony. As the party is in progress, Flora realizes that her beloved brother Sam is missing from the festivities.

I thought this short story was a good introduction to Kimberly Freeman’s writing. I’m unsure how necessary this was but I did enjoy it and the characters we were briefly introduced to. However it left me wanting more.

This eBook also included a sample of another book by Kimberly Freeman, called Evergreen Falls. This is a dual time period historical fiction that follows Flora and Tony. So that would make The Engagement Party a prequal to this novel. I’m curious to know why that isn’t mentioned in this book title? To be honest. I found this to be annoying.

Would I recommend Kimberly Freeman’s The Engagement Party? Yes, but only to those who plan to continue on to read Evergreen Falls.

Additional Notes

Evergreen Falls
By: Kimberly Freeman

20806819

Synopsis

A long-forgotten secret, a scandalous attraction and a place where two women’s lives are changed forever – Evergreen Falls is the captivating new novel from Kimberley Freeman.

1926: Violet Armstrong is one of the few remaining members of staff working at the grand Evergreen Spa Hotel as it closes down over winter. Only a handful of guests are left, including the heir to a rich grazing family, his sister and her suave suitor. When a snowstorm moves in, the hotel is cut off and they are all trapped. No one could have predicted what would unfold. When the storm clears they must all keep the devastating secrets hidden.

2014: After years of putting her sick brother’s needs before her own, Lauren Beck leaves her home and takes a job at a Blue Mountains cafe, the first stage of the Evergreen Spa Hotel’s renovations. There she meets Tomas, the Danish architect who is overseeing the project, and an attraction begins to grow. In a wing of the old hotel, Lauren finds a series of passionate love letters dated back to 1926, alluding to an affair – and a shocking secret.

If she can unravel this long-ago mystery, will it make Lauren brave enough to take a risk and change everything in her own life?

Inspired by elements of her grandmother’s life, a rich and satisfying tale of intrigue, heartbreak and love from the author of the bestselling Lighthouse Bay and Wildflower Hill.

Source: Goodreads
Book Reviews · Recommendations

Murder-a-Go-Go’s by Holly West


Murder-a-Go-Go’s
Crime Fiction Inspired By the Music of The Go Go’s
Edited by: Holly West

To Be Published: March 25, 2019
Published by: Down and Out Books
Format Read: ARC, Netgalley, eBook
Genre: Mystery, Short Stories, Anthology
Rating: 3.5/5

I was sent a copy of Murder-a-Go-Go’s edited by Holly West, from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

The Go-Go’s made music on their own terms and gave voice to a generation caught between the bra-burning irreverence of the seventies and the me-first decadence of the eighties. Anthems like “We Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” and “Vacation” are an indelible part of our collective soundtrack, but more than that, they speak to the power and possibility of youth. Inspired by punk but not yoked to it, the Go-Go’s broke important musical ground by combining cheeky lyrics, clever hooks, and catchy melodies, perfectly capturing what it feels like to be young and female in the process.

But beyond the Go-Go’s effervescent sound and cheerful pop stylings, a darkness underlies many of their lyrics and melodies, hinting at the heartache and frustration inherent in growing up. In other words, plenty to inspire murder and mayhem.

Net proceeds from Murder-a-Go-Go’s benefit Planned Parenthood, a crucial provider of women’s affordable reproductive healthcare.

With a foreword by Go-Go’s co-founder Jane Wiedlin and original stories by twenty-five kick-ass authors, editor Holly West has put together an all-star crime fiction anthology inspired by one of the most iconic bands of the eighties and beyond. 

-NetGalley

My Thoughts

It was the concept of this anthology that caught my attention: a collection of stories inspired by songs from the 80s pop-punk band The Go-Gos. How clever! I was impressed to see that the forward was written by bandmate Jane Wiedlin, herself. 


The short stories cover a vast range of settings, characters and plotlines. Many of which have a common theme of revenge. The song titles allowed for the individual authors to explore their creativity. Even Jane Wiedlin couldn’t predict what each story would be about.


Murder-a-Go-Gos was an enjoyable reading experience, that introduced me to new authors, as well as songs by the band that I hadn’t heard before. Unfortunately, like with any anthology, there were some stories that missed the mark for me. There were a few that I felt didn’t fit in with the mystery/suspense theme. And there was one story; a dystopian, that I didn’t finish.


My personal favourite stories included the following:

  • Vacation by SW Lauden
  • This Town by Greg Herren
  • We Don’t Get Along by Diane Vallere 


I would recommend Murder-a-go-gos to those who enjoy mystery anthologies and to fans of the band The Go-Gos.



Book Reviews · Recommendations

An Amish Kitchen by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston & Kelly Long

An Amish Kitchen
By: Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston & Kelly Long
Narrated by: Heather Henderson

 

Published: December. 2012
Published by: Oasis Audio
Format Read: Audio Book, Library Book, Libby App.
Genre: Amish Fiction, Christian Fiction, Romance

Rating: 4/5
♥♥♥♥

 

Synopsis

The Amish kitchen is the heart of the home – and the ideal setting for stories of love and hope.  Fall in Paradise, Pennsylvania, always brings a brisk change in the weather. This season also ushers in unexpected visitors, new love, and renewed hope for three women. Fern has a green thumb for growing healing herbs, but longs for love to bloom in her life. Then the next-door neighbor’s oldest son, Abram, comes running into Fern’s kitchen seeking help for his little sister. The crisis soon leads to a promise of romance — until mistrust threatens to end their growing attraction. Nearby, Hannah runs her parents’ bed and breakfast, Paradise Inn — but her life feels nothing like Paradise. She longs for a man of integrity to enter her life, but never expected him to knock on the front door looking for a room. Will she be able trust Stephen with her future once she discovers his mysterious past? When a storm blows a tree onto Eve’s farmhouse, she has little choice but to temporarily move her family into her parents’ home. Outside of cooking together in the kitchen, Eve and her mother can’t agree on anything. But this may be just the recipe for hope in healing old wounds. Three Amish stories — each celebrating love, family, and faith — all taking place in a tight-knit community where the kitchen truly is the heart of the home.

My Thoughts

An Amish Kitchen is a collection of three stories that highlights the fact that the heart of a family home is found in the kitchen. This is a important point in many different cultures including the Amish and one I can definitely relate to.

The first story A Taste of Faith was interesting in that it followed a young woman who takes care of the minor medical needs of her community using herbs and natural remedies. Unfortunately I couldn’t quite warm up to the male lead.

The characters in the second story (A Spoonful of Love) were wonderful with detailed backgrounds. Romance was depicted more passionately than I expected for an Amish novel. This was a pleasant surprise and added some spice to the book.

The final story (A Recipe for Hope) focused on the importance of sharing family recipes and passing down the memories attached to each one.

I thought the narrator Heather Henderson did a great job throughout. She was enjoyable and engaging to listen to. This is the first Amish fiction I have listened to on audio, so it was nice to hear the correct pronunciations of certain words that I had previously read in other novels from this genre.

An Amish Kitchen was a wonderful collection of stories that I would highly recommend to fans of Amish romance novels and family tales.
Book Reviews · Recommendations

Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks

Uncommon Type: Some Stories
By: Tom Hanks

Published: October, 2017
Published By: Alfred A. Knopf
Format Read: Hardcover, Library Book
Genre: Short Stories, Fiction

Rating: 2.5/5
♥♥.5

Synopsis

A collection of seventeen wonderful short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor.

A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country’s civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game–and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN’s newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance, and a bit of real life. These are just some of the tales Tom Hanks tells in this first collection of his short stories. They are surprising, intelligent, heartwarming, and, for the millions and millions of Tom Hanks fans, an absolute must-have!

Featuring additional performances by Peter Gerety, Peter Scolari, Cecily Strong, Holland Taylor, and Wilmer Valderrama on “Stay With Us.”

My Thoughts

Uncommon Type is a collection of fictional stories that all have one thing in common; they mention typewriters in one way or another. Now the machines aren’t the main focus of the stories (with the exception of one), but they are weaved into the stories briefly to tie them together.

I admit that I picked up this book on a whim, out of curiosity, being a life long fan of Tom Hanks. Although I would also like to add that I didn’t begin it with the highest expectations, after reading the description. With a 2.5 star rating, it is safe to say that I definitely did not love this book.

I struggled to finish the first story, as it just didn’t interest me and I didn’t care for the characters. Thankfully the second would keep my attention more. However I found that a pattern formed, going from some interest to little as I continued reading.  There wasn’t a single short story that I would have given a rating over 3 stars.

My rating was based solely on my own personal interest in the content and not the ability of the author. Because in reality Tom Hanks isn’t a bad writer. Each story was authentic to Hank’s voice, his own interests and personality.

Unfortunately I think that I would have enjoyed an autobiography written by Tom Hanks, than this collection of short stories. However I would recommend it to others.

Books Hauls · Memes

Book Haul: December 2017 – February 2018

Do you ever think you published a post, but then look back and discover that you didn’t? Well that is what I thought happened with my book hauls from previous months. I must have only shared some of Charlie’s books we’ve acquired but not my own.

Anyway, here most of the books I’ve added to my collection over the past few months..

Borrowed From the Library..

40 Love by Madeleine Wickham
Seriously.. I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres


Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks

 

Library Book Sale

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Vow by Kim Carpenter
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Ya Ya’s in Bloom (Ya Ya’s #3) by Rebecca Wells

Kindle

Snowfall and Secrets (Omega Mu Alpha Brothers, #1) by Kimberly Loth

 

Linking up with Stacking the Shelves

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Plum Lovin’ (Stephanie Plum, #12.5) by Janet Evanovich

Plum Lovin’ (Stephanie Plum, #12.5)
By: Janet Evanovich

Published: January 2007
Published By: St. Martin’s Press
Format Read: Kindle for PC, eBook

Rating: 3 Stars
♥♥♥

 

Synopsis

Plum Lovin’ is a holiday novella that falls between the full length novels Twelve Sharp and Lean Mean Thirteen. Set just before Valentines Day, business is slow in the bonds industry and there is only one large bail skip on Stephanie Plum’s list. In order to capture the skip, she must first help her friend Diesel and play cupid along the way.

My Thoughts 

The in between novellas in the Stephanie Plum series, aren’t exactly crucial reading, although it would have helped me to better understand Diesel’s character if I had read Visions of Sugar Plums (Stephanie Plum #8.5) first. I knew that he was a character from another series by Janet Evanovich, but I have yet to read any of those books.

It had been a while since I have read this series, so it was nice to revisit my favourite characters once again. Although a short story, it had the same humor I’ve come to enjoy. However I didn’t feel like the Diesel’s hint of paranormal powers fit into the Stephanie Plum world.

Still I would recommend Plum Lovin’ to fans of Janet Evanovich and the Stephanie Plum books.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Down, Then Up: A Novella by Beth Labonte

Down, Then Up: A Novella
By Beth Labonte

Published: November, 2016
Published By: Kindle Edition
Format Read: Kindle
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Novella

Rating: 4/5
♥♥♥♥

Synopsis

Lauren has worked hard to leave her past behind her. However she never could forget the one who got away. Ten years later, while throwing her sister a bachelorette party in Las Vegas, she discovers that her old flame happens to be the cousin of the groom.

My Thoughts 

I have been a fan of Beth Labonte’s books since reading her 2011 release What Stays in Vegas. Her novella Down, Then Up brings her readers back to “Sin City” in another humorous story, that didn’t disappoint.

Lauren’s former boyfriend Jamie is every nerdy girl’s dream. The popular culture references, especially those of the sci-fi variety are so current and will appeal to a lot of readers. I especially enjoyed how the title of this novella: Down, Then Up and its cover picture tied into the story.

I would definitely recommend Beth Labonte to fans of humorous contemporary fiction and I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

Book Reviews · Read-a-thons · Recommendations

The Hangman (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #6.5) by Louise Penny


The Hangman (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #6.5)

By: Louise Penny

Published: 2010
Published by: Grass Roots Press

Format Read: Paperback
Genre: Mystery, Short Story, Series 

Rating: 3.5/5
♥♥♥.5

Synopsis

While out on a morning jog in the woods a man stumbles across the body of a man hung from a tree. What looked like a suicide is determined to be much more and Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is called to the small secluded town to investigate.

My Thoughts

The Hangman is part of a collection of short stories that is geared towards encouraging people to read. At under 100 pages, I picked this up for a read-a-thon and flew through it.

The Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series has been on my TBR for quite a while now, so I was pleasantly surprised when I came across this at my local library.

This was a fairly simple story, in the ‘locked room’ style. However instead of a ‘locked room’ it was set in a secluded town called Three Pines. The author included a detailed backstory for the suspects that fit well into its short length. Although I did enjoy it, I wish that there were more clues throughout instead of having the reader find out many facts when the truth is revealed. I am hopeful that the full length installments for the Armand Gamache series will allow for more of a build up.

I recommend The Hangman to mystery fans who are looking for a quick read.