Archive for the ‘books on CD’ Category

Code: a Virals Novel by Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs  ISBN 978-1595144126 (read by Cristin Milioti )

When many people see the name Kathy Reichs, they think of “Bones” an adult mystery/suspense series revolving around a forensic specialist, Temperance Brennan.  Tory Brennan is the niece of the Temperance and in every book there is a phone call to the esteemed scientist for help with scientific information and translation.

cover art for Code by Kathy and Brendan Reichs

cover art for Code by Kathy and Brendan Reichs

This was a book that I thought was great because I like the concept of mutations and shape-shifting and extra powers; however my teenage son was less than thrilled about … but it could have been the reader that he really didn’t like.  Also, though the teens acquire the heightened olfactory abilities of the wolf and speed — they actually don’t change.  Their eyes just turn color and really where is the cool factor of yellow eyes?

I like this series because Tory and her friends are just your average every day teens who are smart and live in isolation on this island off the coast of South Carolina.  Their families live on an island owned by the University and their families are all co-workers.  The kids take a ferry to school on the main-land and they need to go by boat anywhere they want to travel.  This series shows a group of youth with initiative and intelligence.  A group of teens that like each other and though they may not always agree, willing to work towards common goals.  They overcome hardships and issues and remain committed to the pack.

I would recommend these books to tweens and teens who like to read about the what might have beens.  The ideas of science and questions of solidarity are important recurring themes.

These books are great and may fall under the category of best read if you are sensitive to voices on audio…

From School Library Journal

Gr 7-9-Months ago, 14-year-old Tory and her friends accidentally acquired supernatural abilities while attempting to solve a decades-old cold-case murder. Now, the group has discovered a geocache, left behind by someone they know only as the “Gamemaster.” The Gamemaster leads the gang on a scavenger hunt peppered with puzzles, codes, and riddles. As the treasures they find become increasingly dangerous, Tory and her friends suspect that one geocache may be a ticking time bomb. The Virals must race against the clock to find it before it detonates and kills innocent people. While this sci-fi/mystery mash-up has some plot inconsistencies and implausible moments, it will appeal to fans of the first two books. The four Virals-Tory, Shelton, Ben, and Hi-are well defined in the course of the story. Though they are all intelligent and protective of one another, their actions are not always prudent or legally sound. The group’s “save the world” mentality thrusts them into plenty of perilous situations, and simply letting law enforcement handle the Gamemaster is never a real consideration. Still, the friends admirably stick together and will stop at nothing to protect the innocent.-Leigh Collazo, Ed Willkie Middle School, Fort Worth, TXα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger ISBN 978-0156029438 – Read by William Hope (Reader), Laurel Lefkow (Reader)


Have you ever listened to a book which was a little confusing in audio but thought that if read from a page would have made much more sense?  I do not know about anyone else but this book fell into that category for me.  I really enjoyed the book and the lovely twists and turns and back and forth; the idea of love that transcends time and place.  Maybe my confusion was something that every reader felt, but I believe that this is one book to be read.

cover art from The Time Traveler's Wife

cover art from The Time Traveler’s Wife

Each chapter opens with a time date and age of Henry and Clare.  The audio book has two readers – one reads Henry perspectives and the other reads Clare’s.  They are excellent readers and my complaint has nothing to do with the readers, but unless you have an eidetic memory, very few people as they are driving down the road can remember “Christmas Eve 1991 (Clare is 20, Henry is 28)”

Henry has a condition.  With no control or planning he will all of a sudden leap from this life into a scene from the past, usually a scene with great emotion.  He has seen the car crash where his mother died on any number of occasions, he goes back to when he meets Clare for the first time.  As he ages, the condition is worsening and he has less and less control.  He has found a doctor who is trying to help and found a friend who concocts drug combinations to try and help him stay in one place; but there comes a point when nothing helps.

Clare is a studio artist and Henry is a librarian in a special collection.  A fitting occupation for one who travels through time.

Henry takes nothing from one time to another and arrives naked. So he has had to adapt — find clothes quickly, be able to pick locks and has a loose moral code to allow himself to survive.  Though I may not agree with theft, I might think otherwise if I continually ended up in a strange place in winter with lots of snow on the ground.

This is first and foremost a love story.  Henry and Clare are truly an amazing couple.  Yet this is also a story of fantasy and the magical “what-if”.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys literature with a hint of romance and fantasy.  It is a very well written work with some great characters.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This highly original first novel won the largest advance San Francisco-based MacAdam/Cage had ever paid, and it was money well spent. Niffenegger has written a soaring love story illuminated by dozens of finely observed details and scenes, and one that skates nimbly around a huge conundrum at the heart of the book: Henry De Tamble, a rather dashing librarian at the famous Newberry Library in Chicago, finds himself unavoidably whisked around in time. He disappears from a scene in, say, 1998 to find himself suddenly, usually without his clothes, which mysteriously disappear in transit, at an entirely different place 10 years earlier-or later. During one of these migrations, he drops in on beautiful teenage Clare Abshire, an heiress in a large house on the nearby Michigan peninsula, and a lifelong passion is born. The problem is that while Henry’s age darts back and forth according to his location in time, Clare’s moves forward in the normal manner, so the pair are often out of sync. But such is the author’s tenderness with the characters, and the determinedly ungimmicky way in which she writes of their predicament […] that the book is much more love story than fantasy. It also has a splendidly drawn cast, from Henry’s violinist father […] to Clare’s odd family and a multitude of Chicago bohemian friends. […] It is a fair tribute to her skill and sensibility to say that the book leaves a reader with an impression of life’s riches and strangeness rather than of easy thrills.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich ISBN 978-0345542885

I appreciate Janet Evanovich’s humor and characters, they are fun and a great way to relax when the snow is falling far too much and winter is just surreal.  Is this intellectually stimulating?  No, but it wasn’t intended to be it is meant to be fun and happy and ridiculous at times.

In an interview given at one of the end of the audio books, Janet said that she plots out which characters are going to be the supporting roles in the book.  In “Takedown Twenty” — the supporting roles fall to Ranger and Grandma Mazur, in my opinion a great combination.

Stephanie has a file on “Uncle Sunny” — he is FTA for running someone over … twice.  Uncle Sunny is Morelli’s godfather and protected by the mighty Bella.  It seems that everyone wants to keep quiet about the whereabouts of her FTA.

Ranger is searching for someone who has killed the mother of his client and because of Stephanie’s many connections he calls her to help him track down the killer of old women.

Grandma Mazur turns out to be the key to all the investigations and in her usual quirky sense provides many chuckles.

Overall a pleasant read beside the wood stove on a winter day.

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The Third Victim by Lisa Gardner

cover art from The Third Victim

cover art from The Third Victim

I had heard Lisa Gardner speak at a conference and since was sounded so interesting in person, I felt I had to read her work.  So off to the InterLibrary Loan site and I requested “The Third Victim” on audiobook.

It opens in a small town in Oregon.  Rainie Connor (short for Lorraine) is one of two full time officers in Bakersville.  She has grown up there and was only away a few years when she went to college, but she returned a few years ago and lives in the home she grew up in.  She has just finished her lunch in a small diner when an emergency call comes in concerning the school.  Her boss calls her via radio and asks her to take lead and says he will meet her there.  As a single woman with no children, she has no immediate ties to the school and she does have a hard time trying to gain order in the parking lot and the surrounding area.  Keeping frantic people out of the school, investigating to see if the perpetrator is out of the building, to see about getting injured people out, and otherwise securing the crime scene.

As it turns out there were three victims: two students and a teacher.  The alleged suspect was the sheriff’s son.

Because of the small town jurisdiction the State Police were involved and because it was a school shooting an FBI serial crime expert was called in.  Most of the book seemed to be about the three parties and how they did and didn’t work together.

Another aspect of the book was how the small town dealt with such a blow.  Feelings were high and though the investigators felt that the youth didn’t do it all by himself, finding the one who helped was very hard work.

Rainie also had to deal with demons in her own past.  Her mother had been brutally murdered in her own home and her good-for-nothing boyfriend who many suspected as the possible murderer was not found.

This was a fine mystery with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing all the way through.


“A suspenseful, curl-up winter read, this thriller teems with crisp, realistic dialogue and engaging characters.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Riveting, hold-your-breath suspense.”
— Iris Johansen

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Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris (read by Johanna Parker)

cover art from Dead Ever After

cover art from Dead Ever After

The conclusion to the Sookie Stackhouse series was a very interesting.

I enjoyed listening to this book.

The maneuverings of the vampires.  The jealousy of Eric.  The confusion of Sam, brought back from the dead with special elfin magic.  Demons and pacts with the devil.  A death in town that is blamed on Sookie who through the bail hearings and investigation finds out who her friends are.  This story has so many twists and turns that it is hard to find out where exactly you are in the whole book.  You almost need a flow chart.  It wrapped up many of the characters quite nicely — leaving it so that we had a nice feeling of resolution and though we may not liked how things turned out, it made a certain amount of sense.

It holds a logic and sense of continuity that holds to the authors beliefs and follow the story line of the series.

It is hard for an author who has a successful series to hold firm to the thought that this is a good time to end.  I give Charlaine Harris credit for having the fortitude to do that now.


Editorial Reviews


“The Sookie Stackhouse series seamlessly mixes sensuality, violence, and humor.”—Boulder Weekly

“Harris’s creation offers a magical and mysterious twist on traditional vampire stories.”—Houston Chronicle

“What sucked me in? Definitely the books’ oddly charming, often funny mix of the mundane and the absurd. And the chills and thrills in boudoirs and various locales around the South aren’t too bad either.”—The Seattle Times


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The Art of the Start: the time-tested, battle-hardened guide for anyone starting anything by Guy Kawasaki read by Paul Boehmer

cover art from Art of the Start

cover art from Art of the Start

The draw back of listening to this on audiobook as opposed to reading it in print was that I didn’t do the exercises or write down ideas of things that I really thought were important … it is hard to do when driving 65 miles per hour down the highway!

But it is my hope to re-listen to this book soon so that ideas can percolate in my head and turn into action.

This breaks the project into many points.  If you are starting a business or a church group or a new hobby;  you need a plan.  All projects start with a dream.  I want to create a world changing app for the tablet.  I want to write a book.

Then bits and pieces need to come into place.

The dream needs to be made manifest in pieces — sometimes starting is the most difficult thing so break it into manageable chunks and slowly move forward.  Articulate the pieces and the more you share with trusted associates, the more you can figure out what will work.  Part of this process will be pitching to important individuals who can help you. Something that may also be part of this preliminary time is writing a plan of how to proceed and what you hope to gain.

If this is a company you will need to raise capital or if you want to write a book you will have to determine how much funding you need to move forward.  If you are starting a church group this may not be as important a goal.  However every new endeavor needs support if it is financial or emotional.  Do you have people who share your vision?

Every dream needs supporters.  Every project needs a brand so that when people see the image they know exactly what to expect.  Then you need to be a person of integrity who will stand by your dream and give that vision to the world in such an amazing way that your audience will think of you and your vision before all others.

This book is a great resource if you are starting to formulate a new dream or business.  My recommendation would be to read it in print or eformat for listening, though very well-done, was hard to capture all the wonderfully helpful points that he had to make … unless you have time to listen multiple times or have an eidetic memory.

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Middle School: How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill by James Patterson

Middle School, I survived

This is the first book in this series that I had read and/or listened to. I really don’t remember why I picked it up, but I think it had something to do with I was looking for something to listen to with the kids and we had just finished “Angels & Demons” and we needed something light and fluffy. This fit the bill perfectly.

Though I am sure we missed something by not starting the series at the beginning — it was fine. The main character was going to summer camp with his sister. His sister was going to the advanced academic side of the camp and he was going to the remedial camp section.

The camp was split into cabins and of course judging by the name of the book we find that our main character is in the ‘loser’ cabin and we see all kinds of bullying that occur and have occurred over the years at this camp. Many of the campers are repeat campers and know each other.

There are some great antics. Typical potty humor that all middle school students love and yet some really serious sections that make people think about motivations and what makes people tick. Plots of revenge for misdeeds, midnight adventures, and running away from camp.

I can see this is a great book for reluctant readers who may need encouragement to read or, like us, a great bit of light humor between harder, deeper books.

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Mr. Monk Goes the the Firehouse (Mr. Monk #1) by Lee Goldberg

Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse

I have watched a few of the TV shows and enjoyed them, this is the first time that I had actually listened to the book.  I found it rather amusing.

To be honest, I listened to this because of my experience with “The Heist” which he co-authored with Janet Evanovich.  I wanted to know whose voice was more prominent in that book.

Mr. Monk is an obsessive compulsive consultant to the police.  He was a homicide detective until his wife’s brutal murder that he was unable to solve and that threw him into a case of OCD that he was unable to go back to work and now has need of a personal assistant to help him through society’s demands.

The book is written in the voice of the assistant, Natalie, a widow with a pre-teen daughter.

I enjoyed listening to this book and have ordered the next one on InterLibrary Loan.  It deals with the complexities of friendship and the difficulties of murder investigations.  It has great insight into the life of a person with OCD and what ‘normal’ people would consider everyday activities like going up elevators and garbage disposal.

I do look forward to the next in the series.

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Farm City: the education of an urban farmer by Novella Carpenter (read by Karen White)

farm city

I really enjoyed the vegetable, bee, and poultry part of the book — the pig part I could have done without.

Ethically, I wondered about growing vegetables on someone else’s property without their permission but I decided that it made for an amusing story and I liked all the mishaps and adventure of getting compost and raised beds in the abandoned lot.  How her neighbors helped her by providing seeds or other supplies.  How her neighbors helped themselves to her harvest and how she was okay with that most of the time.  I liked her report on the experimentation with heirloom varieties and what worked for her locale.

I enjoyed the bee stories of her hives on her patio.  How her friend’s children came to help her extract the honey and the different tastes she harvested throughout the year.

I began to really wonder about her when she got chicks, but since my sister-in-law has chicks in her shower every spring I wasn’t TOO taken aback.  Her story of bashing the head of a possum in with a shovel was a little gross but since I have seen my father defend our chickens with a .22 I could understand the concept.

But I have had pigs — when we did we lived in a setting where the pen was some distance from our house and our neighbors houses and that was bearable.  I do not know how she could do this living in an upstairs apartment right next to many other families.  They are loud and stinky and hers seemed to like to run away.  Depending on their personality that could have been dangerous — even if they only wanted to rub against you and say hello.  They could step on your foot and you would know it if 300 hundred pounds of pig were on your toe.

I appreciate the fact that Novella wanted to learn how to process and preserve her pigs.  I think that is wonderful.  People do need to learn how their food is made and I do think we would appreciate our food and the animals that were sacrificed for our meals — however, I do not know if she does all her work credit by how she writes about the butchering of her pigs.  Yes, I acknowledge that when my plans do not go as I hoped I am not always the most charitable of people; however, she was trying to write about the spiritual significance of her pigs and she was quite vulgar and mean about it.  Could she have said, this is what I hoped for and it was unfortunate that the butcher didn’t agree with my sentiments?

Overall, I did like this book and thought her adventure in urban farming was worth listening to and I do recommend it for the audio book listener.  I may even look into another book of hers, but I might look at the table of contents before committing to the second book.

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The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg (read by Scott Brick)

The Heist

This is a complicated book to review for many reasons:

it is co-authored by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg.  I have listened to many of Janet’s books and heard very little of her voice in the book.  I have listened to one of Lee’s book and I get the impression that he did more of the writing.

I listened to it on audio book and Scott Brick does an okay job and by the end I thought he fit, but the first few tracks were hard to get into (and an acquaintance of mine just stopped listening to it for she said she almost fell asleep).  When you are expecting a person of the caliber of Lorelei King and get Scott … it wasn’t a thrilling beginning.

Kate O’Hare is an FBI agent who has made the last four years of her life a mission to catch Nicholas Fox, a con man extraordinaire.  She actually does succeed in catching him, when she hears that he escapes on his way to the court-house.  She prepares to follow him again when she is told by superiors to go on a vacation.

Ultimately this is a story of what happens when the fox and the chicken are forced to work together by people in authority.  Nick has access to people who the FBI wants and so Kate follows Nick around and together they hatch plans to catch bigger fish.

The characters are fun and there is a great tension between Kate and Nick which I can see in future books being a wonderful story aspect.  They are imaginative and classy.  The suave Nick and the rather to the point Kate are humorous foils to each other.

This is a great start to a new series; but do not open this book thinking this is another Janet Evanovich book.  This book has its own voice and is wonderfully entertaining but if you open it thinking Janet — you will be disappointed.

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