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Audiobook Review – Down and Out in Bugtussle – Stephanie McAfee

bugtussleDown and Out in Bugtussle: The Mad Fat Road to Happiness
Author: Stephanie McAfee
Series: #3 in the Mad Fat Girl series
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Run Time: 9hrs 43 minutes

Review Copy Provided by Tantor Audio

Description:
When her dream life in Florida with her now-ex-fiancé goes south, so does Ace — she moves back home to Bugtussle, Mississippi, and into her late Gramma Jones’ little house. But even though her best friends, Lilly and Chloe, are thrilled that she’s returned home, not everything is smooth sailing. Ace wants her job back as art teacher at the high school, but the beautiful Cameron Becker has no plans to relinquish that position. Although Ace wants to run Miss Becker out of town, she accepts a job as a substitute teacher. On top of her job woes, Ace’s friends keep setting her up on blind dates when all she really wants is for people to stop meddling in her love life.

In her quest to find inner peace, Ace takes up gardening and discovers old love letters in her grandmother’s well-worn gardening book. With her faithful chiweenie, Buster Loo, by her side, Ace is determined to get to the bottom of her Gramma’s secret life, all while hoping her own doesn’t implode.

Review:
Ok, I’ll admit it – I primarily requested the audiobook because of the word Bugtussle in the title…it just made me giggle. Unfortunately for me that book didn’t live up to the humor that I was expecting. I don’t know if it was because I hadn’t read (or listened) to the previous 2 books in the series and didn’t know/previous read about the characters or what – but it just didn’t quite work for me. One of my first gripes was with the subtitle – the Mad Fat Road to Happiness – i honestly expected someone who was happy with their body and being big (although, you never find out how big Ace is), but through-out the book, there were many instances where there was almost an unhappiness with her life and her body – comments about clothes not fitting, how she looked in clothes etc. It didn’t exactly sound happy to me…

For me, Ace also just seemed fake – a lot of her humor felt forced and not natural. It just felt like there were supposed to be funny interactions between Ace and her friends, but it was just like listening to nails on a chalkboard. I will say that Ace and her interactions with Stacey Dewberry (substitute teacher stuck in the 80′s both clothing, make-up and car wise) – were probably the most entertaining and I liked Stacey the most as a character.

That being said, I didn’t mind Cassandra Campbells narration. I thought that she did a good job of distinguishing between the characters and making them all unique. But unfortunately, good narration couldn’t improve on my lack of enjoyment with the book. Overall, I gave Down and Out in Bugtussle 2 stars and likely won’t be checking out anything by the author in the future. I would recommend if people try the books, to maybe go with book 1 first, i don’t know if that would have improved my experience or not, but now its too late to find out.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2014 in Audiobook Review

 

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Review – Edie and the CEO – Mary Hughes

edie and the ceoEdie and the CEO
Author: Mary Hughes
Release Date: 4 February, 2013

Review Copy Provided by the Author

Description:
Edie Rowan is passionate about workers’ rights, wanting her Sixties protester grandparents to be proud of her. But championing the little guy gets her in trouble with sexy CEO Everett Kirk. Kirk is Mr. Ultra-Executive with his expensive hand-tailored suits and his eyes the steel blue of a finely tempered sword—but for the intriguing contradictions of his neat ponytail and square workman’s hands.

Edie’s latest disaster, a teambuilding exercise gone facepalm wrong, leads to a knockdown drag-out with rival manager Bethany “The B”—or add the “Itch”—Blondelle. The incident is the last straw for Kirk. He sends Edie to management camp and to her shock, announces he will drive her there himself. She wonders why he would want eighteen hours of enforced intimacy with her, even as she’s dazzled by his sparkling white smile and killer dimple.

Everett walks away from the confrontation with a headache. For years he has protected Edie from the fallout of her righteous crusading, but this may be the last time. A corporate backstabber is trying to eject Everett from his job. Even so, he’s looking forward to spending time on the drive with Edie, attracted to her sunny red curls, fiery personality and fine dark eyes.

Then a snowstorm forces them to seek shelter in an empty mountain cabin. Edie thinks she will take the lead in wilderness survival but Kirk proves more durable than his Italian loafers and silk sweater would suggest. The extended stay rubs them together in all sorts of ways, kindling emotional and physical flames. But when their corporate shells burn away, what secrets will be revealed?

Review:
Pretty much since I joined Goodreads in 2009, I have heard various friends talk about Mary Hughes books – they gush their love for her Biting Nixie series and say that it is completely insane. Yet, for some reason, I have been dragging my feet on reading them – maybe because I’m afraid they will be too hyped up and disappoint – I don’t know. Anyways, one of my friends contacted me and said that Mary was looking for reviewers for her newest contemporary romance and would I be interested – since I hadn’t heard much about it, I jumped at the opportunity (since ultimately, contemporary romances are for the most part my guilty pleasure).

Anyways, from the get-go, I was laughing out loud at Edie’s antics in the office – working with some of the people I do, I’m amazed that stuff like that hasn’t happened yet. She is the kind of manager that I would love to work for – dedicated to the mission and yet caring of her people at the same time – able to walk that fine line between hard work and over work (which is hard for many people to do, I know that I struggle with it).

And then there was Kirk, or Everett – since she referred to him as Kirk through-out most of the book, its hard for my brain to process and flip back/forth between the two (I also had images of Captain Kirk stuck in my head for most of the time that I was reading the book).

I could apparently continue to gush over this book, but I’ll save you guys from that – but I do recommend it and would give it 4 stars. It is also a relatively quick read at about 34k words (about 115ish pages – give or take).

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Book Review

 

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Review – My Bluegrass Baby – Molly Harper (@mollyharperauth)

My Bluegrass Baby
Author: Molly Harper

Review Copy provided by Pocket Star and Edelweiss

Description:
Sadie Hutchins loves her job at the Kentucky Tourism Commission. Not only could her co-workers double as the cast of Parks & Recreation, but she loves finding the unusual sites, hidden gems, and just-plain-odd tourist attractions of her home state. She’s a shoo-in for the director’s job when her boss retires at the end of the year…until hotshot Josh Vaughn shows up to challenge her for the position.

Josh is all sophisticated polish while Sadie’s country comfort, and the two have very different ideas of what makes a good campaign. So when their boss pits them against each other in a winner-takes-all contest, they’re both willing to fight dirty if it means getting what they want. But it turns out, what Josh and Sadie want could be each other—and Josh’s kisses are the best Kentucky attraction Sadie’s found yet!

Review
Three things, I had never considered prior to reading My Bluegrass Baby by the fantabulous Molly Harper – that I could claim programing my Tivo on my resume (I’m sure that parlays into something workplace related), the number of cartoon characters who run-around with no pants on (aka, the Pantless Pantheon) and Squirrel genitalia (as my friend Toni would say, its all about the nuts ; ) But when I reading Molly Harpers newest contemporary romance, all three of those things, plus many more were mentioned. There is just something quirky about the way she writes, that makes you feel right at home with the characters. I loved how she managed to work so many weird and wonderful facts about Kentucky in the book (but don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil the surprise for anyone, since you guys need to have a chance to read it). I do have to admit that I’m normally not a fan of workplace romance type books, it is just a trope that I normally don’t enjoy, but I think that Molly did a great job balancing the line between funny and the awkwardness that so often ensures in situations like that.

Anyways, i could probably amble on for hours about how much I enjoy Molly Harper’s work – but I won’t ;) All I can say is that if you haven’t read (or listened) to any of her stuff yet, then you really need to. If you are looking for lite funny PNR or entertaining contemporary romance, she has something for you. After reading this, she has pretty much sealed her spot on my auto-buy/auto-listen list. Now I can start stalking her for new work. Overall, a solid 4 stars. Oh yeah, and I totally have a new saying, I’ve been known to comment on my lack of a brain mouth barrier, but I think atrophied verbal filter sounds soo much better!! (Thanks Molly!)

Thanks to Pocket Star for approving my review request and Edelweiss for providing the opportunity.

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself – Alan Alda

Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself
Author/Narrator: Alan Alda
Run Time: 6 hours, 1 min

Book Description:
On the heels of his acclaimed memoir, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, beloved actor and bestselling author Alan Alda has written Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself, an insightful and funny look at some of the impossible questions he’s asked himself over the years: What do I value? What, exactly, is the good life? (And what does that even mean?)
Picking up where his bestselling memoir left off–having been saved by emergency surgery after nearly dying on a mountaintop in Chile–Alda finds himself not only glad to be alive but searching for a way to squeeze the most juice out of his new life. Looking for a sense of meaning that would make this extra time count, he listens in on things he’s heard himself saying in private and in public at critical points in his life–from the turbulence of the sixties, to his first Broadway show, to the birth of his children, to the ache of September 11, and beyond. Reflecting on the transitions in his life and in all our lives, he notices that “doorways are where the truth is told,” and wonders if there’s one thing–art, activism, family, money, fame–that could lead to a “life of meaning.”

Review:
I’ve always liked Alan Alda – I grew up watching MASH re-runs on TV, and to this day, it is a comfort show for me. 99.9% of the time, I have already seen the episode, but there is the odd-occasion where one that I don’t remember ever watching pops up. So when I was browsing the shelves at the library one day and came across this audiobook, I jumped on the chance to list. As with the Ellen DeGeneres one, it is narrated by the author, and after listening to it, I don’t know if I could have named anyone better suited to do it.

Each chapter in the book is based around one of the various speeches that he has been invited to give over the years – at college graduations; for various professional societies and the events in his life that have influenced what he talks about and how he came to give the speech. So in and of, itself there is a lot of personal memories. But it also has his known sardonic humor that many of us probably remember from his role as Hawkeye (I mean, who can forget him making gin in his tent…).

The production of the audiobook was good, although, the CD’s when I listened to them, you could tell that they were a bit older and there were a few jumps here and there – but it didn’t distracted me too much. I’m def. going to be checking out Alda’s other memoirs in the future. 3.5 stars.

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Review – Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs – Molly Harper

Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs
Author: Molly Harper
Series: #1 in the Jane Jameson series

Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
Run Time: 9 hours and 24 minutes.

Book Description:
Maybe it was the Shenanigans gift certificate that put her over the edge. When children’s librarian and self-professed nice girl Jane Jameson is fired by her beastly boss and handed twenty-five dollars in potato skins instead of a severance check, she goes on a bender that’s sure to become Half Moon Hollow legend. On her way home, she’s mistaken for a deer, shot, and left for dead. And thanks to the mysterious stranger she met while chugging neon-colored cocktails, she wakes up with a decidedly unladylike thirst for blood.

Jane is now the latest recipient of a gift basket from the Newly Undead Welcoming Committee, and her life-after-lifestyle is taking some getting used to. Her recently deceased favorite aunt is now her ghostly roommate. She has to fake breathing and endure daytime hours to avoid coming out of the coffin to her family. She’s forced to forgo her favorite down-home Southern cooking for bags of O negative. Her relationship with her sexy, mercurial vampire sire keeps running hot and cold. And if all that wasn’t enough, it looks like someone in Half Moon Hollow is trying to frame her for a series of vampire murders. What’s a nice undead girl to do?

Review
I’m going to preface this review by saying I came to Molly Harper’s writing later than many other people who have read her stuff. And, I read/listened to her Naked Werewolf series prior to listening to Jane Jamison which were her earlier works. So I think I went into Nice Girls with higher expectations because I had previous enjoyed her works. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it, I just didn’t love it like I was expecting to.

From the get-go you could tell that this was one of her earlier works and if you read later books, you can see how her writing style has improved (it is still the same quirky that I enjoy, but the Naked Werewolf books were a bit tighter writing, which made them flow better). However, I did enjoy Jane’s antics (because there really is no other way to describe them). Although, I did solve the mystery element fairly early on (or rather, I had a pretty solid idea of who is was, so the reveal didn’t add that much to the story for me). But I will be looking forward to checking in on Jane again in the future (and luckily for me, I have 5 other books in the series to read!)

Amanda Ronconi, the narrator, is probably one of my top 5 that I have discovered in the last year, along with Xe Sands. I know immediately picking up anything narrated by her, that she is going to hit on the quirky/humorous nature of the writing without too much difficulty. While her male voices, are occasionally, only so-so (but they grow on you), I love her female ones and feel that she had a good range to work with. I’ll be watching for more stuff narrated by her in the future.

Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs (Paperback)
Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs (Kindle)

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Review – Seriously…I’m Kidding – Ellen DeGeneres

Seriously…I’m Kidding
Author/Narrator: Ellen DeGeneres
Run Time: 3 hrs, 7 minutes

Book Description:
“Sometimes the greatest things are the most embarrassing.” Ellen Degeneres’ winning, upbeat candor has made her show one of the most popular, resilient and honored daytime shows on the air. (To date, it has won no fewer than 31 Emmys.) Seriously… I’m Kidding, Degeneres’ first book in eight years, brings us up to date about the life of a kindhearted woman who bowed out of American Idol because she didn’t want to be mean. Lively; hilarious; often sweetly poignant.

Review:
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a huge Ellen DeGeneres fan – I don’t know why, but I just don’t really like her. However, I did enjoy her narration of Dory in Finding Nemo…I mean, I walked around for days with “just keep swimming” stuck in my head…lol! However, when I was browsing the shelves at the library for a short-ish audiobook to fill in the time towards the end of a month, and I saw that this one was only 3 hours, I figured what the heck…why not.

I’ll also admit that authors for narrators typically don’t work for me because they don’t have the training that I feel they need in order to be successful. But I was proved wrong. Ellen’s narration had me in tears several times during this relatively short listen. I’m sure my co-workers were looking at me like I was insane because I was definitely laughing out loud.

One of the things that I really enjoyed about the book was how she took it from a listeners perspective and said listeners, instead of readers…she even devoted a chapter to random noises just for the audiobook people (and no I’m not kidding about that). Either way, I would recommend this for a quick, lite listening, if you need a bit of humor to get through the day. Overall, I’d give it 3 stars

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Review: The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove

The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove
The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove by Christopher Moore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

About the Book
I’ll have to admit that I enjoy Christopher Moore’s writing and ever since listening to Lamb a couple of years ago, I’ve been trying to find another book by him that was as funny. Unfortunately, with the exception of Fluke, none of his others have really lived up to it. Maybe it is the fact that this one and others were earlier in his writing career, I’m not sure. Granted it was funny, but not the laugh out loud kind of funny that I was expecting and I really had no problems putting it down and listening to something else. But it was good for a light read and i have no doubt I’ll continue to listen to his work in the future

About the Narration
This is the first time I’ve run into the name Oliver Wyman as a narrator and while he did a good job, I don’t think he was a stand-out narrator to me. All the voices were done well and I could easily distinguish between them, but I couldn’t get completely involved in the narration, which to me in the sign of someone I want to seek out in the future. While I won’t disregard his narration in the future, should I run into it, I don’t know if I will seek him out.

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Posted by on April 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Review: Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void
Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Review
I joking remarked that the sub-title for this book should be everything you ever wanted to know about peeing, pooping, puking and screwing in space, but were afraid to ask. But in all seriousness, there is at least one chapter if not more devoted to those major bodily functions, intertwined with the history of the space program, not only in the US, but also Russia and also a little bit about Japan. It also looks at what the future of the program might be, but since NASA has had huge budget cuts in the last few years, who rightly knows.

Audiobook Narration
Sandra Burr provided a lite, easy narration style that went well with how the book was written. I don’t know if I would have been able to keep a straight face during the reading aloud of this, but overall a really good job.

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Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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