Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman – Audio Edition

Posted by on Oct 28, 2016 in 2016, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review | 2 comments

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman narrated by Cassandra Campbell
Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman narrated by Cassandra Campbell

Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Publication Date: 2012
Length: 11 hours, 14 nminutes
Read by: Cassandra Campbell
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money 10 years ago. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to 15 months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187-424 – one of the millions of women who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system.

From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules, where the uneasy relationship between prisoner and jailer is constantly and unpredictably recalibrated. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Orange is the New Black offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison, why it is we lock so many away, and what happens to them when they’re there.

My Thoughts:
I have had this boo in my ebook files since shortly after it was published but for some reason I hadn’t gotten around to reading it. I happened to see something about the audio edition being good and I had an audible credit that needed to be used so onto the iPod it went.

I don’t have any issues with the differences between the book and the TV show because A: I haven’t watched the show yet and B: Duh!

I thought the story was entertaining. Kerman clearly makes her point that maybe prison isn’t the best punishment for non-violent drug offenses but the meat of the story is the people and the things it took to get her through her sentence.

The cast of characters she created based on real people is varied and both heartbreaking and funny. I’m glad I finally got around to this book and now I can watch the show.

This was my first time listening to Cassandra Campbell narrate a book. I was unsure at first and was worried that her slow pace was going to keep me from listening to the book. After a few chapters, however she totally won me over. Her skill and voicing a wide variety of people of varying ages and accents was impressive. I will definitely be looking for other books she has narrated.

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

4 stars 4.5 for the narration

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An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson – Audio Edition

Posted by on Oct 7, 2016 in 2016, 4.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Craig Johnson | 0 comments

An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson - Audio Edition
An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson narrated by George Guidall

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Series: #12 in the Walt Longmire series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2016
Length: 7 hours, 50 minutes
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

In the 12th novel in the New York Times best-selling Longmire series, Walt, Henry, and Vic discover much more than they bargained for when they are called in to investigate a hit-and-run accident near Devils Tower involving a young motorcyclist.

In the midst of the largest motorcycle rally in the world, a young biker is run off the road and ends up in critical condition. When Sheriff Walt Longmire and his good friend, Henry Standing Bear, are called to Hulett, Wyoming – the nearest town to America’s first national monument, Devils Tower – to investigate, things start getting complicated. As competing biker gangs; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; a military-grade vehicle donated to the tiny local police force by a wealthy entrepreneur; and Lola, the real-life femme fatale and namesake for Henry’s ’59 Thunderbird (and, by extension, Walt’s granddaughter) come into play, it rapidly becomes clear that there is more to get to the bottom of at this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally than a bike accident. After all, in the words of Arthur Conan Doyle, whose Adventures of Sherlock Holmes the Bear won’t stop quoting, “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact”.

My Thoughts:
Clearly I love this series since I’m still eagerly anticipating the next book after reading the twelfth. I absolutely prefer the audio editions too. I’ve read some of the short stories in print but George Guidall’s narration is so excellent that print is always my second choice.

I had preordered this and when I finished my previous audiobook a couple of days before the release date I didn’t start another one. I wanted to be able to start this the day it was available.

Once again the action takes place away from Walt’s home town but with Henry, Dog, and later Vic on the scene there’s enough of the usual cast to make it enjoyable.

I loved that we finally got to meet the Lola who was the inspiration for the name of Henry’s car. It was also nice to get a bit more of Henry’s history.

While the mystery gets a little complicated there is plenty of humor along the way.

When I saw Craig Johnson at Powell’s he mentioned that the car chase in this one was the first he’d ever written.

As always with this series I highly recommend it and if audiobooks are your thing you should definitely try that route.

Rating
4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood – Audio Edition

Posted by on Sep 23, 2016 in 2016, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Kerry Greenwood | 2 comments

The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood narrated by Stephanie Daniel
The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood, Narrated by Stephanie Daniel

Genre: Crime Fiction
Series: #5 in the Phryne Fisher series
Publisher: Bolinda Audio
Publication Date: 1993 for the book, 2010 for this audio edition
Length: 6 hours, 19 minutes
Read by: Stephanie Daniel
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Phryne Fisher is doing one of her favorite things -dancing at the Green Mill (Melbourne’s premier dance hall) to the music of Tintagel Stone’s Jazzmakers, the band who taught St Vitus how to dance. And she’s wearing a sparkling lobelia-coloured georgette dress. Nothing can flap the unflappable Phryne – especially on a dance floor with so many delectable partners. Nothing except death, that is. The dance competition is trailing into its last hours when suddenly, in the middle of “Bye Bye Blackbird” a figure slumps to the ground. No shot was heard. Phryne, conscious of how narrowly the missile missed her own bare shoulder, back, and dress, investigates. This leads her into the dark smoky jazz clubs of Fitzroy, into the arms of eloquent strangers, and finally into the sky, as she follows a complicated family tragedy of the great War and the damaged men who came back from ANZAC cove. Phryne flies her Gypsy Moth Rigel into the Australian Alps, where she meets a hermit with a dog called Lucky and a wombat living under his bunk….and risks her life on the love between brothers.

My Thoughts:
Phryne Fisher is quite unconventional for a private investigator in 1920’s Australia and she’s just a whole lot of fun. She’s wealthy enough to not care what people think of her and to be particular about the cases she takes.

This one was fun. It begins with a dance marathon that ends in a murder. Phryne is soon on a double missing persons case. One of the men was her partner at the dance club and the other is his long missing brother.

I was glad to have Phryne need to do some flying again. Her solo flight to the Australian Alps was a great part of the book. The murder mystery is more of a side story because the majority of the book involves her search for a shell shocked former soldier who does not want to be found.

The books are fairly short and they are fun break between longer or heavier books. Australia in the 1920’s is an interesting time and place.

I really enjoy Stephanie Daniel’s narration. She’s easy to listen to and her voice characterizations are distinct and consistent. She’s even called upon to do some singing in this book.

One of these days I’m going to watch the television series.

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the narration

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Masked Ball at Broxley Manor by Rhys Bowen – Audio Edition

Posted by on Sep 13, 2016 in 2 stars, 2016, Audio, Rhys Bowen | 2 comments

Masked Ball at Broxley Manor
Masked Ball at Broxley Manor: A Royas Spyness Novella by Rhys Bowen narrated by Katherine Kellgren

Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Audio
Series: A novella prequel to the Royal Spyness series
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: 2014
Length: 1 hour, 14 minutes
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

A delectable prequel to the national best-selling Royal Spyness mysteries featuring Lady Georgiana Rannoch – 34th in line to the throne, and England’s poorest heiress. At the end of her first unsuccessful season out in society, Lady Georgiana has all but given up on attracting a suitable man – until she receives an invitation to a masked Halloween ball at Broxley Manor. Georgie is uncertain why she was invited, until she learns that the royal family intends to marry her off to a foreign prince, one reputed to be mad. When the prince, dressed as the devil, rescues her from an embarrassing situation at the ball, Georgie is surprised to find her unwanted suitor to be a dashing, charming man – especially when he pulls her aside and gives her the kiss of a lifetime. But as the time comes for the unmasking, Georgie’s rescuer vanishes and the party is thrown into chaos, making it clear that everything at Broxley Manor is not as it appears…

My Thoughts:
I have read the first book in the Royal Spyness series and listened to the second on audio. They’re fun light mysteries set in 1930’s London. This prequel was offered at one point for free through Audible so I downloaded it. I decided to give it a listen before I go on with the series.

It’s a prequel set several years before the first book and a short novella. It’s really not much more than an introduction to the main characters in the series. It doesn’t really add anything to the story for those who have read part of the series but the story itself is pleasant enough. It’s not really a mystery and it doesn’t really have the same feel as the full books in the series.

I was not a fan of the narration of this audio edition. I listened to Katherine Kellgren narrate the second book in this series and enjoyed the way she performed. In this novella however, I felt like she was yelling at me way too often. I don’t remember that from A Royal Pain so I’m not sure what was up. I fear I’ll be hypercritical of the narration in the next book in the series if I listen to it.

This novella is really not representative of either the series or the narrator so I’m glad I didn’t pay for it or spend a little more than an hour with it.

Rating
2 stars 2/5 for the book

2 stars 2/5 for the narration

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Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse – Audio Edition

Posted by on Aug 30, 2016 in 2016, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, PG Wodehouse | 2 comments

Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse narrated by Jonathan Cecil
Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse narrated by Jonathan Cecil

Format: Audio
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Publication Date: Originally 1934, this edition 2006
Length: 6 hours, 56 minutes
Read by: Jonathan Cecil
Source: purchased

The Book
From the Norton paperback edition:

“To dive into a Wodehouse novel is to swim in some of the most elegantly turned phrases in the English language.”—Ben Schott

Follow the adventures of Bertie Wooster and his gentleman’s gentleman, Jeeves, in this stunning new edition of one of the greatest comic novels in the English language. Bertie must deal with the Market Snodsbury Grammar School prize giving, the broken engagement of his cousin Angela, the wooing of Madeline Bassett by Gussie Fink-Nottle, and the resignation of Anatole, the genius chef. Will he prevail? Only with the aid of Jeeves!

My Thoughts
I was in the mood for something light and entertaining so I checked my audiobook files for the next Jeeves and Wooster book by P.G. Wodehouse.

This one was just what I needed. Bertie Wooster is a crackup. He’s so overly confident of his ability to help people and so ridiculously inept at it. This time around he’s determined that the ever capable Jeeves is off his game and that Bertie himself must handle things.

Of course, chaos ensues.

Books by Wodehouse are rarely laugh out loud funny but they are almost always grin and giggle a bit humor. Even the novels are rather episodic so they lend themselves to my driving around audiobook listening habits.

I did laugh out loud at the point where Bertie’s Aunt Dahlia sums up pretty accurately the progress of Bertie’s machinations to this point in the book.

“Attila,” she said at length. “That’s the name. Attila, the Hun.”

“Eh?”

” I was trying to think who you reminded me of. Somebody who went about strewing ruin and desolation and breaking up homes which, until he came along, had been happy and peaceful. Attila is the man. It’s amazing.” she said, drinking me in once more. “To look at you, one would think you were just an ordinary sort of amiable idiot — certifiable, perhaps, but quite harmless. Yet, in reality, you are worse a scourge than the Black Death.”

Once I listened to one of this series narrated by Jonathan Cecil I could never go back to reading the print editions. He is a delight to listen to and does a wonderful job of portraying the characters.

Wodehouse is wonderful. Jonathan Cecil narrating Wodehouse is absolutely delightful.

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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The Highwayman: A Longmire Story by Craig Johnson – Audio Edition

Posted by on Aug 26, 2016 in 2016, 4 stars, Audio, Book Review, Craig Johnson | 0 comments

The Highwayman: A Longmire Story by Craig Johnson narrated by George Guidall
The Highwayman: A Longmire Story by Craig Johnson narrated by George Guidall

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audio
Series: A novella related to the Walt Longmire series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2016
Length: 3 hours, 43 minutes
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

When Wyoming highway patrolman Rosey Wayman is transferred to the beautiful and imposing landscape of the Wind River Canyon, an area the troopers refer to as no-man’s-land because of the lack of radio communication, she starts receiving “officer needs assistance” calls. The problem? They’re coming from Bobby Womack, a legendary Arapaho patrolman who met a fiery death in the canyon almost a half-century ago. With an investigation that spans this world and the next, Sheriff Walt Longmire and Henry Standing Bear take on a case that pits them against a legend: The Highwayman”

My Thoughts:
The bad thing about being caught up in an ongoing series is that wait for the next book. With the next book in the Walt Longmire series due out in September I was happy to hear a few months ago that Craig Johnson was releasing a novella featuring characters from the series. I almost got the print edition from the library even though I prefer the audio editions of this series. Then I found out that an audio edition was coming and that sealed it for me. I could wait for that.

George Guidall does an outstanding job of narrating this series and it has been one of my favorite audio series for several years now.

I was just glad to have the chance to get a bit of a Longmire fix while waiting for the next book.

Walt and Henry Standing Bear are away from home so most of the usual supporting characters are not part of this story and it’s not attached to any of the ongoing storylines in the series. For that reason it works well as a standalone.

As has become normal, there is plenty of mysticism and slightly paranormal stuff in this ghost story but there is also plenty of Walt and Henry’s easy banter and friendship that is quite enjoyable.

It’s a little mystery, a little ghost story, a little suspense and as always just enough humor to break the tension.

Rating
4 stars 4/5 for the book

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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