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review 2018-06-13 01:55
Today Will Be Different
Today Will Be Different - Maria Semple,Kathleen Wilhoite

 

 

After having enjoyed Where'd You Go, Bernadette, I was excited to find another book by Maria Semple--and especially once I realized she had gotten Kathleen Wilhoite again, to narrate the audiobook.  The two books appear to exist in the same universe, as the central character's son goes to The Galen School, just as Bee does in Bernadette.  

 

Eleanor Flood used to be at the helm of an animated show called Looper Wash.  But that was years ago.  She and her hand-surgeon husband Joe Wallace had traded New York City for Seattle ten years before, based on the premise that Seattle was supposed to be the least religious city in the U.S.  They had a deal that they'd move back to NYC in ten years, switch again ten years after that, and keep alternating for the duration.  But Joe is well ensconced in his position as hand surgeon to the Seattle Sea Hawks, and the topic hasn't been broached in quite a while.

 

So, Eleanor decides that "today will be different," but her plans are interrupted when she gets a call from The Galen School letting her know that her son Timby is complaining that he doesn't feel well.  Eleanor is convinced he's faking sick because the same thing has happened a couple of other times recently, so she takes him straight to the pediatrician.  The visit reveals that the motive for being "sick" is conflict with a classmate, and the doctor prescribes "Mommy time."  An impromptu visit to Joe's office leads to the revelation that Joe had told his staff that the family was "on vacation" that week--which raises the question of what he's been doing while pretending to go to work every day.

 

So things take an odd turn as Eleanor attempts to figure out what's going on.  No, she can't just call her husband and have conversation, because then there'd be no plot!  Meanwhile, she and Timby have lunch with a former co-worker from her Looper Wash days, and he produces something she hasn't thought about in years: a hand-made illustrated book she made many years back, The Flood Girls.  What?!?!  Eleanor never told Timby she had a sister.  "I don't have a sister!"  Well, we'll see about that.

 

There were times when I found Eleanor exasperating, but she never completely lost me, and I enjoyed the payoff.  Kathleen Wilhoite again brings another dimension to the story with her narration.  I do wish someone had coached her on pronouncing "Clowes" and "Groening," though.  As in Bernadette, there is a scene where Wilhoite gets to showcase her beautiful singing voice.  In this case, she sings "Morning Has Broken."  Although I thought it was a pleasant enough song when the Cat Stevens version was popular in the 1970s, Wilhoite did something magical to it.  I almost teared up.  (Must see if library has her CD!)

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review 2018-01-26 21:29
Dead End by M. R. Forbes
Dead End: Ghosts & Magic, Book 4 - M. R. Forbes,Soundbooth Theater,Jeff Hays,Quirky Algorithms

Note: As this is Book 4 in the series, you really need to enjoy the previous books to get what’s at stake in this story.

Whew! Such a mix of feelings over this book. It was a great, wild ride but I am sad to say it looks like this is the end of the series. First, it was awesome to see Dani back in the mix. She is so good for Conor and just a great character herself. I love her snark and quick comebacks and her absolute certainty once she’s made a decision. There’s some unfinished business between her and Conor and that might break them apart. I was on the edge of my seat for part of the story waiting to see how things would be resolved between them.

Frank, the trogre, continues to be the heart of this little adventure group. Amos is a jerk with a noble cause (protect Dani). Prythi is also back and her cyber skills are put to the test. Then there is Ash, Karatona’s son. He’s a young dragon that owes his life to Conor.

On the other side, we have Samedi. He’s gathered so much power from tricking and cheating Conor. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Conor and his team try to stay one step ahead of Samedi… and sometimes failing. The woe! But Conor and crew rally each and every time. Even though there are zombies.

Death also enters the fray. Yep, that Death. Conor has to figure out what side he’s really playing for. There were so many ways for all to have been lost for our heroes. I was caught up for the entire story! I especially liked Forbes’s take on the Morrigan in this tale, even if the trio create a serious headache for Conor.

The ending was a deliciously tense bit! Conor has been dying for years from cancer but I really didn’t know how things would fall out for him. I also feared for his companions. Even throughout the action, there’s bits of humor tucked in everywhere. Ash and pixies and all of Amos’s comments! Snort laugh! The final ending was very fitting. Perhaps we will see Conor again some day but if this is all we get, it’s been a worthy series. 5/5 stars.

I received a free copy of this audiobook.

Narration:  Jeff Hays has done this series justice! He has a great, rough voice for Conor. I also love his voice for Amos, who is sarcastic or dissatisfied or making lewd comments all the time. All his female voices are feminine (he does a great job with them) and I loved having Dani back. He went the extra mile with the ultra-creepy voice for Samedi. There’s quite the range of emotions in this book, especially for Conor and Hays did a great job performing those emotions. 5/5 stars.

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review 2017-09-27 13:30
Transformed: POTUS: A Quirky Romantic Thriller - Suzanne Falter,Jack Harvey

Transformed POTUS by Suzanne Falter
Charley is getting married to Electra and he can't believe he is so lucky to have found her.
They are in Las Vegas and he works as a protector for the President.
She is a new agent and knows how to drive the car defensively. She works at the farm in VA so it's a bit difficult for them to get together.
President is just a kid and lives with his mother at the White House. The biscuit is crucial. It holds codes that deal with nuclear things.
Charley has to also find girls for the president after they are interrogated...
Story is also following Electra as she gambles and wins big...
Lots of secrets and they come at you from all angles as people know one another from their previous lifes. Everything and ten some of things you can just about imagine: mafia, drugs, prostitutes, trans gender relations, homosexual relations...It's all so believable also.
Received this review copy from the author and this is my honest review.

 

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review 2016-11-06 22:07
Britt-Marie Was Here
Britt-Marie Was Here: A Novel - Fredrik Backman
ISBN: 9781501142536
Publisher: Atria 
Publication Date: 5/3/2016 
Format: Other
My Rating:  4.5 Stars 

 

From the extraordinary author and Swedish storyteller, Fredrik Backman, with his award-winning debut, A Man Called Ove, delivers another zany character, BRITT-MARIE WAS HERE — A heartwarming, witty celebration of second chances, unlikely friendships, and the power of one person to make the world a better place. 

Britt-Marie is age 63. Amusingly unconventional and idiosyncratic. Some may say eccentric. She does not like a mess. Her husband Kent said she was aggressive-passive. Known as nag-bag. All she ever wanted was a balcony. She wanted a husband who did not walk on the parquet floors with his golf shoes. If he could only put his shirt in the laundry basket and would say occasionally he liked the food.

She likes an organized cutlery drawer. Clean windows. Newly mopped floors. Her favorite “go to” must have cleaning tool of choice “bicarbonate of soda.” It wipes always all the flaws. Clean and new. Kent said she was “socially incompetent.” They were past their sell by date. She had enough. There were limits. She was leaving.

 



Britt-Marie likes things clean. An obsession. A need for order. Would be nice to be appreciated. Be noticed. She was critical, hard to please, judgmental, excessively particular about details. Easily disgusted. She is flawed, zany, funny, and possesses a great heart. Her compulsive tendencies are explained by her tragic past and history of being neglected and diminished by those around her.

Leaving her husband, she starts a new. She finds herself in Borg, a tiny, economically depressed “community built along a road.” Most of the town has been shut down, most of the residents have left, and the ragtag bunch remaining includes orphaned children, a criminal, a former star of the local football team (now blind), and the proprietor of the only business in town—who's in a wheelchair, and most likely an alcoholic. Plus her relationship with a rat (hilarious).

As a caretaker, her new job is a perfect fit!. She cleans and cleans. The defunct recreational Center in the fictional European town of Borg. With an array of interesting off-beat characters including two young children—Vega and Omar.

But behind the passive-aggressive, socially awkward misfit, is a woman who has more imagination, bigger dreams, and a warmer heart than anyone around her realizes. Love can be found in the most unexpected of places. A place of belonging.

Equally witty and poignant; Hilarious, insightful and moving, an inspiring story about truth, second chances, and rediscovery. Best of all, another important life lesson.

 


On a personal note, Britt-Marie is so much like my dad. At age 85, he is still a cleaning machine. Never get in the way of his cleaning. Heaven forbid you should come to the door after the floors have been freshly vacuumed. You will not be allowed to enter. Never interfere with his schedule.

I listened to the audiobook and Joan Walker's performance was amazing! A perfect entertaining Britt-Marie.

Highly recommend Backman’s latest novella, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer The small book with a Big powerful important message and loads of heart! Top Novella of 2016.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

The Man Behind ‘A Man Called Ove,’ Sweden’s Latest Hit Novel

 

NY Times Oct 29, 2016 

 

 

About the Author

Fredrik Backman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here, as well as a novella, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer. His books are being published around the world in more than thirty-five languages. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.

 

Fredrik Backman: Staying Grounded

Q&A with Fredrik Backman, courtesy of Shelf Awareness

You used to drive a forklift. How did that evolve into writing books that are loved around the world?

 

I don't know. It's still a mystery to everyone who knows me. I always viewed writing as a hobby, not a career choice, and, to be honest, I still do. My dad keeps telling my wife she needs to "treat the money as if Fredrik won the lottery, because this probably won't last!" I think he's got a point. I think I'll eventually go back to having a real job, and I don't really think I'll be any less happy than I am now.

 

Read More  

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/06/17/Britt-Marie-Was-Here
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review 2016-10-19 17:16
Book Review - Melody Bittersweet and The Girls' Ghostbusting Agency
Melody Bittersweet and The Girls' Ghostbusting Agency - Kitty French
This book initially caught my attention with its fabulous front cover.

I’m so pleased I decided to give it a try, as it was such fun to read. This light-hearted story was just what I needed to sort me out after the tissue consuming monster of a tear-jerker I read just before it. Plus, it gets extra happy points for mentioning Robert Downey Jr. who I've absolutely adored since I was about 13.

Melody Bittersweet and The Girls' Ghostbusting Agency is witty, full of quirky characters, ghostly shenanigans and a bit of cheeky romance thrown in too. I could happily live inside this book.
 
 
 
Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1703010351
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