03 June 2019

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: Sound Recommendations

Audiobook reviews 2019I have two wall calendars in my house--one in the kitchen and one in my office--and I forgot to flip them over to June until late Sunday afternoon. Oops! I think I'm in denial; not because we're already almost halfway through the year but because I have some travel coming up this week and I feel as if I were totally unready.

This is not true, since I've carefully managed my work schedule and have most of my suitcase packed already. Still, I always think there's something I've forgotten. Fortunately, Mr. BFR has my back, and he's been running errands and doing everything I don't have time for.

I missed last Monday's review post because . . . well, I don't know why. Just one of those things. I've decided to divide my reviews into two posts this week. Today is all about what I listened to. Later in the week, you'll find my reviews of books I read in print (or digital).

Summer Listening

Audiobook review Drawing Home by Jamine BrennerDrawing Home by Jamie Brenner (Little, Brown; May 7): I really enjoyed this thoughtful summer read set in Sag Harbor. The premise is deceptively simple: A famous artist dies suddenly, leaving his estate to a twelve-year-old girl who shared his love of drawing. The artist's agent, the girl, and the girl's divorced parents all have different reactions to this totally unexpected windfall. What makes this book a little different is Brenner's sensitive depiction of young Penny's OCD and how her relationship with the cool kids at school changes once she is perceived as rich. Other story lines include the mother's mixed feelings about the inheritance and the agent's regrets for paths not taken. Although I pretty much figured out the course of the plot early on, that didn't stop me from thoroughly enjoying the story and rooting for the characters as they grew and changed over the course of a summer. Recommended for those who like some depth to their beach reading. The unabridged audiobook (Hachette Audio; 12 hr) was read by Karissa Vacker whose soft, expressive delivery well matched the tone and pace of the story. (digital and audiobook review copies provided by the publisher.

Audiobook reviews Summer of '69 by Elin HilderbrandSummer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown; June 18): What's a summer without Hilderbrand? I always love the way she brings Nantucket to life and the way she creates vivid characters and family drama. This summer's story takes place in 1969, is set in both Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, and is about four generations of a Boston family who spends every summer together on Nantucket. This year, just as things are changing in America, the family too is facing upheaval. Hilderbrand explores how the draft for Vietnam, Chappaquiddick, the civil rights movement, student demonstrations, the moon landing, and the women's movement begin to crumble the traditions and beliefs of the older generations. Although Hilderbrand herself wasn't born until halfway through that summer, she captured the mood of the era perfectly. I could especially relate to 13-year-old Jessie, who is learning some of the tough lessons of growing up at the same time she's just beginning to see the adults in her family for who they really are. Another don't miss summer read from Elin Hilderband. The unabridged audiobook (Hachette Audio; 12 hr, 6 min) is brilliantly read by Erin Bennett, who is *the* voice of Hilderbrand's books. She perfectly captures the characters personalities and emotional arcs. (digital and audiobook review copies provided by the publisher)

Continuing Series

audiobook review Queenslayer by Sebastien de Castell Queenslayer by Sebastien de Castell (Orbit; May 21): This is the fifth book in the Spellslinger series, which I've been describing as a fantasy with a Wild West feel. In this outing our outlaw hero, Kellen, unthinkingly and by mistake commits an act of treason, which is punishable by death. The young queen, however, takes a liking to him and grants him his life in return for his service. Meanwhile, Kellen gets caught up in a plot to overthrow the throne and must figure out whom to trust and which side to support. He also has some further dealings with his estranged family and is beginning to grow up. Lots of action, a few twists, and good humor kept me glued to my earbuds. The unabridged audiobook (Hachette Audio; 13 hr, 4 min) was read by Joe Jameson. I love Jameson's comedic timing and consistent characterizations. His performance of this series is brilliant. (audiobook in personal collection)

audiobook review A Royal Pain by Rhys BowenA Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen (Berkley; 2009): This is the second book in the Royal Spyness series, set in 1930s England, at a time when the noble families are trying to hold on to their estates in a changing society and falling economy. When the queen asks Lady Georgie if she'll house and entertain a young Bavarian princess, the only possible answer is yes. The problem, however, is that Georgie has little money and no domestic servants. With help from her friends and family, Georgie's pretty sure she can manage to host the innocent girl and her lady companion. What she hadn't counted on was a princess who wants to party hearty without regard to her reputation, a complaining chaperone, and few murders. A fun mystery with some clever nods to the real royal family. Put this series on your escape reading list. The unabridged auidobook (Audible Studios; 8 hr, 57 min) was read by Katherine Kellgren who creates a ton of believable accents and keeps the story moving. (audiobook in personal collection)


Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 6/3/19, 7:12 AM  

Glad you're enjoying the Hildebrand! It's a June BOTM pick.

bermudaonion 6/3/19, 7:55 AM  

Drawing Home sounds really good. Hilderbrand is hit or miss for me, so I don't always pick her books up but Summer of '69 sounds terrific!

Susie | Novel Visits 6/3/19, 8:53 AM  

I've been thinking that Summer of '69 might be a good one to listen to later this summer. Glad to hear it was good.

JoAnn 6/3/19, 9:28 AM  

I'm already looking forward to Hilderbrand's new novel!

shelleyrae @ book'd out 6/3/19, 11:23 AM  

Summer of 69 so7nds good.

Have a great trip Beth!

Kathy Martin 6/3/19, 1:48 PM  

I got hung up on the 3rd book in De Castiel's series. I just wasn't feeling it. I'll have to try again when I'm in the mood for some fantasy. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

Greg 6/3/19, 3:04 PM  

Drawing Home sounds like a nice read, and I like the sound of Queenslayer as well. That one's totally new to me although the author looks familiar- I must have seen their books around somewhere before. Also the Rhys Bowen looks fun. I read the Christmas one a few years ago.

pussreboots 6/3/19, 5:43 PM  

I think most of my calendars are still on May. I know the one in my bedroom still is. Oops. My week of reading and reviewing

Yvonne 6/3/19, 9:29 PM  

I avoided changing the calendar to June for a couple of days. I just can't believe how fast the year is going. I really want to read Summer of 69. That looks so good. Have a great week!

Vicki 6/5/19, 11:59 AM  

I can hardly wait to get to Summer of '69.

(Diane) bookchickdi 6/9/19, 3:37 PM  

I picked up Summer of '69 at Book Expo and I simply must start the Rhys Bowen series; so many of my friends adore it.

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