Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright – Audio Edition

Posted by on Jul 14, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Audio, Book Review | 0 comments

Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright narrated by Gabra ZackmanGet Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright narrated by Gabra Zackman

Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Publication Date: 2017
Length: 7 hours 43 minutes
Narrated by: Gabra Zackman
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

A witty, irreverent tour of history’s worst plagues – from the Antonine Plague, to leprosy, to polio – and a celebration of the heroes who fought them.

In 1518, in a small town in Alsace, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn’t stop. She danced until she was carried away six days later, and soon 34 more villagers joined her. Then more. In a month more than 400 people had been stricken by the mysterious dancing plague. In late-19th-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose Club in his gracious townhome – a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis for which there was then no cure. And in turn-of-the-century New York, an Irish cook caused two lethal outbreaks of typhoid fever, a case that transformed her into the notorious Typhoid Mary.

Throughout time, humans have been terrified and fascinated by the diseases history and circumstance have dropped on them. Some of their responses to those outbreaks are almost too strange to believe in hindsight. Get Well Soon delivers the gruesome, morbid details of some of the worst plagues we’ve suffered as a species, as well as stories of the heroic figures who selflessly fought to ease the suffering of their fellow man. With her signature mix of in-depth research and storytelling, and not a little dark humor, Jennifer Wright explores history’s most gripping and deadly outbreaks, and ultimately looks at the surprising ways they’ve shaped history and humanity for almost as long as anyone can remember.

My Thoughts:
I heard about this one from some friends on Twitter who were enjoying the audio edition. I had an audible credit available so I bought it.

I enjoyed learning about well known and not so well known diseases and plagues and meidcal care throughout history.

This book is full of interesting facts and tidbits. There’s also quite a bit of sarcasm and humor. The author makes a lot of jokes. Some of them aren’t as funny but I did giggle quite a bit while listening to this.

The narration by Gabra Zackman mostly good. I don’t know whether it was the production or the narrator herself but there was a quirk with this audiobook that was distracting. Almost every sentence sounded as if the playback speed was increased for the first few words. It was noticeable enough that I kept checking my ipod to see if the playback speed setting was changing. I even downloaded the book a second time to see if there was a problem with that but it didn’t make any difference. It was a minor irritation and not enough to make me stop listening.

I do recommend this book but if you choose to read it I recommend that print format.

 

Rating
4 stars 4/5 for the book

3 stars 3/5 for the narration (or maybe the production)

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Imitation in Death by J.D. Robb – Audio Edition

Posted by on Jun 23, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, JD Robb | 0 comments

Imitation in Death by J.D. Robb narrated by Susan EricksenImitation in Death by J.D. Robb narrated by Susan Ericksen

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Series: #17 in the In Death series
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: 2003
Length: 14 hours, 14 minutes
Narrated by: Susan Ericksen
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

Summer, 2059. A man wearing a cape and a top hat approaches a prostitute on a dark, New York City street. Minutes later, the woman is dead. Left at the scene is a letter addressed to Lieutenant Eve Dallas, inviting her to play his game and unveil his identity. He signs it, ‘Jack.’

Now Dallas is in pursuit of a murderer who knows as much about the history of serial killers as she does. He has studied the most notorious and the most vicious slayings in modern times. But he also wants to make his own mark. He has chosen his victim: Eve Dallas. And all Eve knows is that he plans to mimic the most infamous murderers of all — starting with Jack the Ripper…

My Thoughts:
This series has long been a guilty pleasure of mine. The mix of police procedural, romance and just slightly in the future science fiction elements is a lot of fun.

When I read the previous book in the series it was the first one I’d listened to instead of reading. I will not go back to print for this series. Susan Ericksen is an excellent narrator. Her accents and voice characterizations for the regular characters match perfectly with what my brain created when I read the print editions.

The mystery in this one was interesting and the investigation kept me guessing.

My favorite supporting character in this series is Eve’s aide Peabody. She cracks me up. In this book she’s nervously studying and preparing for her detective’s exam. The utterly predictable outcome had me a little teary with joy.

 

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

4 stars 4/5 for the narration

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Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith – Audio Edition

Posted by on May 5, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Alexander McCall Smith, Audio, Book Review | 0 comments

Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith narrated by Lisette LecatPrecious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith

Genre: Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Series: #17 in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2014
Length: 9 hours, 49 minutes
Narrated by: Lisette Lecat
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Changes are afoot at the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, where Mma Makutsi, who has recently been promoted to co-director, has been encouraging Mma Ramotswe to update to more modern office practices. However, an unusual case will require both of them to turn their attention firmly to the past. A young Canadian woman who spent her early childhood in Botswana requests the agency’s help in recovering important pieces of her life there. With only a faded photograph—and, of course, some good old-fashioned detective skills—to guide them, Precious and Grace set out to locate the house that the woman used to live in and the caretaker who looked after her many years ago. But when the journey takes an unexpected turn, they are forced to consider whether some lost things may be better off unfound.

Busy as she is with this challenging investigation, Mma Ramotswe can always be relied on to come to the aid of her friends—who seem to have a special knack for landing in hot water. Mr. Polopetsi, an occasional assistant at the agency, has made an ill-advised business decision that may lead to serious trouble. And next door at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, Fanwell, the junior mechanic, has become helplessly attached to a stray dog who proves to be a bigger responsibility than he can handle. With Mma Makutsi by her side, Mma Ramotswe dispenses help and sympathy with the graciousness and warmth for which she is so well known, and everyone is led to surprising insights into the healing power of compassion, forgiveness, and new beginnings.

My Thoughts:
I’m still enjoying this series seventeen books in. I’ve never read the print editions because Lisette Lecat’s narration is a lot of the reason I like this series

These are sometimes classified as mysteries but despite the fact that the main character is a detective the mystery part of the book is rather light. I consider the series light general fiction.

They are about relationships, friendships, and a love story about the country of Botswana. Precious Ramotswe is the kind of woman I’d like to meet for tea and an afternoon of chatting. She loves her husband, she’s fiercely protective of her friends and she’s immensely proud of her home country of Botswana.

This time around the case involves a Canadian woman who lived in Botswana as a girl and would like to find her childhood nanny. As usual the outcome is not as straightforward as originally expected. There is also the stray dog and a business opportunity that could be troublesome.

I just enjoy listening to these books as I’m driving. It’s good entertainment and Lisette Lecat is wonderful. The voices she does for the characters are wonderful and I’m glad I don’t have to figure out how to pronounce some of the names.

 

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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This Time Together by Carol Burnett – Audio Edition

Posted by on Mar 31, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review | 0 comments

This Time Together by Carol Burnett narrated by the authorThis Time Together: Laughter and Reflection by Carol Burnett narrated by the author

Genre: Memoir
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Random House Audio
Publication Date: 2010
Length: 5 hours, 40 minutes
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

Carol Burnett is one of the most beloved and revered actresses and performers in America. The Carol Burnett Show was seen each week by millions of adoring fans and won twenty-five Emmys in its remarkable eleven-year run. Now, in This Time Together, Carol really lets her hair down and tells one funny or touching or memorable story after another–reading it feels like sitting down with an old friend who has wonderful tales to tell.

In engaging anecdotes, Carol discusses her remarkable friendships with stars such as Jimmy Stewart, Lucille Ball, Cary Grant, and Julie Andrews; the background behind famous scenes, like the moment she swept down the stairs in her curtain-rod dress in the legendary “Went With the Wind” skit; and things that would happen only to Carol–the prank with Julie Andrews that went wrong in front of the First Lady; the famous Tarzan Yell that saved her during a mugging; and the time she faked a wooden leg to get served in a famous ice cream emporium. This poignant look back allows us to cry with the actress during her sorrows, rejoice in her successes, and finally, always, to laugh.

My Thoughts:
This is a short but thoroughly enjoyable audiobook. I requested it the day that a friend of mine recommended it. I’m so glad I did.

I grew up watching the Carol Burnett show and have always enjoyed her work. It was nice to spend some time with her again. There’s no way anyone else could have narrated this.

This is a series of anecdotes from her life. Some are funny, some heartbreakingly sad. They are all enjoyable. If you enjoyed Carol Burnett’s show I encourage you to get your hands on this audiobook,

 

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

4 stars 4/5 for the narration

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Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher – Audio Edition

Posted by on Mar 24, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review | 0 comments

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher narrated by the authorWishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher narrated by the author

Genre: Autobiography, Humor
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: 2009
Length: 3 hours, 6 minutes
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

Finally, after four hit novels, Carrie Fisher comes clean (well, sort of) with the crazy truth that is her life in her first-ever memoir. In Wishful Drinking, adapted from her one-woman stage show, Fisher reveals what it was really like to grow up a product of “Hollywood in-breeding,” come of age on the set of a little movie called Star Wars, and become a cultural icon and bestselling action figure at the age of nineteen.

Intimate, hilarious, and sobering, Wishful Drinking is Fisher, looking at her life as she best remembers it (what do you expect after electroshock therapy?). It’s an incredible tale: the child of Hollywood royalty — Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher — homewrecked by Elizabeth Taylor, marrying (then divorcing, then dating) Paul Simon, having her likeness merchandized on everything from Princess Leia shampoo to PEZ dispensers, learning the father of her daughter forgot to tell her he was gay, and ultimately waking up one morning and finding a friend dead beside her in bed.

My Thoughts:
This is a short quick audiobook. I requested it shortly after Carrie Fisher died along with eleventy seven other people. I was glad to finally listen to it. It’s good to hear her voice again.

She wrote the book as a way of sharing the stories she told in her stage show in another format. I’ve never seen the show but my library has a DVD that I might get at some point.

Fisher is up front about her struggles with bipolar disorder, drug abuse and relationship troubles. It’s hard to imagine a book about these subjects being funny but it is. It’s not all laugh out loud though because she’s talking about difficult things.

It was a shame she died at a relatively young age. This book was a nice way to spend some time with her and feel like I was sitting down with her listening to her stories of her life.

There was no way anyone but Carrie Fisher could have narrated this. Her humor and self-deprecation come through clearly. She gets a little loud occasionally but I think that’s holdovers from telling these stories in front of a live audience.

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

4 stars 4/5 for the narration

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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley – Audio Edition

Posted by on Mar 17, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review | 0 comments

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan BradleyThe Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley narrated by Jayne Entwistle

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Series: Flavia de Luce #1
Publisher: Random House Audio
Publication Date: 2009
Length: 9 hours, 53 minutes
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”

My Thoughts:
I hesitated reading this when it first came out. I don’t tend to do well with overly precocious children in books. There are exceptions however so when I heard from several friends that the audio edition was good I decided it was a good use for an Audible credit that I needed to use.

Flavia is definitely precocious but darn, she’s funny. She has a chemistry lab where she toys with poisons and occasionally tests them on her sisters.

Life is rather dull at Buckshaw but the morning Flavia finds a dying man in the cucumber patch changed things quite a bit. Flavia immediately begins her own investigation into the identity of the man and how he died. When the police arrest her father it only adds some urgency to the investigation she’s already started.

Flavia has a great attitude about life and I enjoyed many of her comments and observations.

Wrapped up in the music, I threw myself into an overstuffed chair and let my legs dangle over the arm, the position in which Nature intended music to be listened to, and for the first time in days I felt the muscles in my neck relaxing.

Whenever I’m out-of-doors and find myself wanting to have a first-rate think, I fling myself down on my back, throw my arms and legs out so that I look like an asterisk, and gaze at the sky.

Jayne Entwistle does a great job of voicing Flavia. The story is told from her point of view so an author who sounded too old would not have worked at all.

I enjoyed this but I’m not sure I’ll continue with the series.

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

4 stars 4/5 for the narration

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