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Debbie

Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.

Toney, Alabama | Member Since 2013

168
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 258 reviews
  • 259 ratings
  • 643 titles in library
  • 44 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
36

  • Velva Jean Learns to Drive

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Jennifer Niven
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (326)
    Performance
    (227)
    Story
    (223)

    Set in Appalachia in the years before World War II, Velva Jean Learns to Drive is a poignant story of a spirited young girl growing up in the gold-mining and moonshining South. Before she dies, Velva Jean's mother urges her to "live out there in the great wide world." Velva Jean dreams of becoming a big-time singer in Nashville until she falls in love with Harley Bright, a handsome juvenile delinquent turned revival preacher.

    Susan says: "If Jenna Lamia reads it, I'll listen to it!"
    "Singin', Preachin', and Livin' in the South"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the best of the best of southern fiction, set before WWII, at a time in our history when women weren't supposed to have dreams of their own. The narration MAKES this audio book . . . the story is there, poignant and sweet . . . Velva Jean is still a kid when she loses her mama . . . and her daddy can't stop his wandering for nothing . . . Some people may think that the book makes light of Christianity, but not me . . . it pretty much tells it like it is here in the south . . . God is real, but not all His followers ARE FOR REAL. Guess it's pretty much like that all over. All the things that happen in the mountains during the depression, how a moonshiner's son, turned preacher steals Velva Jean's heart, and then her dreams . . . well, it makes for such a rich and varied tale of greed, pride, selfishness, wisdom and love . . . you sure don't wanna miss it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bird in Hand

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Christina Baker Kline
    • Narrated By Alison Larkin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (20)

    It was an accident. It was dark, it was raining, Alison had only had two drinks. And the other car ran the stop sign. But Alison finds herself trapped under the crushing weight of grief and guilt, feeling increasingly estranged from her husband, Charlie, who has his own burdens. He's in a job he doesn't love so that Alison can stay at home with the kids (and why isn't she more grateful for that?); he has a house in the suburbs and a long commute to and from the city.

    Heather says: "Too slow and frustrating"
    "Wordy, Contemplative, Sad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Hard to believe this is from the same author as Orphan Train . . . Although I listened to the entire audio book, I kept waiting for the "Aha" moment, which never came . . . the narration was excellent, which helped . . . the entire story unfolds like sessions in a marriage therapists office with each of the four individuals working through . . . or not . . . their childhoods, their marriages and their own feelings . . . what I really HATE is that no one ever takes any responsibility for their own choices and what those choices do to children. It is, it seems, all about "being okay with yourself". Having said that, this author IS a good writer, the issues that both these couples encounter are everything that happens to modern marriages. All the feelings, behaviors, sadness, betrayal are spot on. However, the lack of any resolution, any COMMITMENT to go beyond all the psycho babble is just a waste of a book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Thousand Pieces of Gold

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Ruthanne Lum McCunn
    • Narrated By Emily Zeller
    Overall
    (84)
    Performance
    (74)
    Story
    (76)

    Lalu Nathoy's father called his thirteen-year-old daughter his treasure, his "thousand pieces of gold," yet when famine strikes northern China in 1871, he is forced to sell her. Polly, as Lalu is later called, is sold to a brothel, sold again to a slave merchant bound for America, auctioned to a saloonkeeper, and offered as a prize in a poker game. This biographical novel is the extraordinary story of one woman's fight for independence and dignity in the American West.

    Susie says: "A Women's Studies Classic"
    "From China to San Francisco to Idaho TRUE GRIT"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Excellent historical fiction based on the life of a young Chinese woman sold into slavery by her own father. This story of Lalu Nathoy, later renamed Polly, who was sold to bandits, then sold to a madam, and sent to America is a true story. Poor decisions made by her father and broken promises never forgotten by Lalu, nevertheless did not break her spirit. And she continued to fight for her own freedom in a new and confusing land. She found love and security with Charlie Bemis at a time in American history that the Chinese people were not valued (late 1800s, early 1900s) or given the right to own property. And her gentle, healing care became known throughout the entire region as she was sought out by neighbors and townspeople when they were ill. I would love to visit central Idaho and the Salmon River where she and Charlie made their home. It's a National Historic Landmark now where Polly Bemis is honored as a pioneer among American women.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Rose Garden

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By Susanna Kearsley
    • Narrated By Nicola Barber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1820)
    Performance
    (1584)
    Story
    (1613)

    Acclaimed author Susanna Kearsley's previous works have won the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Award, and finaled for both the UK Romantic Novel of the Year and the RITA awards.

    Eva Ward is a modern woman thrown back three centuries to 1715 - only to find that might be exactly where she belongs. There, she finds true love with Daniel Butler, but the discord surrounding Hanoverian King George plunges the lovers into a world of intrigue, treason, and romance.

    Angel Claire says: "Amazing story."
    "Intriguing and Enchanting Voyage to the 1700s"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Going back three centuries to 1715, Eva Ward finds herself in on the Cornish Coast of England and a world of smugglers and treason. As Eva moves back and forth between current times and 1715, we learn amazing tidbits that tie together the two eras and the families that resides at Trelowarth mansion, then and now. As Eva studies the history of the 1700s, she learns that one of the two handsome brothers die fighting in the rebellion . . . can she change history? The Rose Garden is a romantic story, though not over the top . . . and exceptionally clean . . . and the interwoven tales of the families in current day and of three centuries ago are equally magical and intriguing. Great listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Speaks the Nightbird

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3178)
    Performance
    (2834)
    Story
    (2819)

    The Carolinas, 1699: The citizens of Fount Royal believe a witch has cursed their town with inexplicable tragedies -- and they demand that beautiful widow Rachel Howarth be tried and executed for witchcraft. Presiding over the trial is traveling magistrate Issac Woodward, aided by his astute young clerk, Matthew Corbett. Believing in Rachel's innocence, Matthew will soon confront the true evil at work in Fount Royal....

    aaron says: "Dark, Twisted Period Piece with GREAT Characters!"
    "Too Long, Too Nasty . . . Could've Been GREAT"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The overall premise of Speaks the Nightbird and the underlying story is a good one, but it was ruined for me by 1) the obsessive need for adding unnecessary deviant sexual content AND 2) it was way too long. It could have been told in less time and been a better story. I am a big fan of historical fiction. This one ran off the tracks with distracting side stories. The mystery of what was happening in the town and tale of the witch being held in the jail for execution could have been and should have been told much more tastefully. The narration was first rate.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hold Tight

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Harlan Coben
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1625)
    Performance
    (776)
    Story
    (769)

    Tia and Mike Baye never imagined they'd become the type of overprotective parents who spy on their kids. But their 16-year-old son, Adam, has been unusually distant lately, and after the suicide of his classmate, Spencer Hill they can't help but worry. They install a sophisticated spy program on Adam's computer, and within days they are jolted by a message from an unknown correspondent addressed to their son: "Just stay quiet and all safe."

    Meanwhile, Betsy Hill is struck by a photo that appears to have been taken on the night of her son's death...and he wasn't alone.

    Ed says: "Will hold your interest till the end"
    "Parents' Nightmare . . . Couldn't Stop Listening"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Overprotective Parent. Guilty. Sure as heck glad that I didn't read or listen to this book when we were raising our kids . . . BUT this is an excellent thriller, with twists and turns that were unexpected . . . truth is, I couldn't STOP listening. Narration was top notch. And it turns out things are never what they seem . . .Harlan Coben does it again . . . don't miss this one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • An Unforgivable Secret: Amish Secrets, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By J.E.B. Spredemann
    • Narrated By Lisa Larsen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (31)

    Hannah has a good life. A beautiful home, a loving husband, and a wonderful Amish community are only a few of her daily blessings. But she has carried a heavy burden for years: a secret that no one must know. When tragedy strikes, her secret threatens to be revealed, jeopardizing everything she's ever loved. Will Hannah be able to face her greatest fear and find God's purpose for her life?

    Cindi says: "Forgiveness, is it possible?"
    "Truth, Forgiveness, Blessings . . . Faith"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've long had admiration for the Amish, who after I had grown up, settled in our area in Kentucky, gaining the respect of their neighbors. We often stop and buy baskets and other handmade goods from them when we travel back home, and marvel at their craftsmanship. We have always thought of them as brothers and sisters in Christ. This book touched my heart in ways unimaginable. I have often wondered how these humble, hard working people can exist untouched, and unblemished alongside their "English" neighbors, in a world that is so corrupt and full of temptation. As we have driven past their simple houses, with no electric lines going to or from their homes, and no cars parked in their drive ways, I've contemplated it. For you can see their black buggies at Wal-mart sometimes, they must venture out into the "English" world . . . to be in it but not "of" it. Just as all Christians must . . . but the rest of us, at least we THINK we have put on a little armor . . . This book, An Unforgivable Secret, gives us all a deeper look into Amish life . . . and for me, a greater hope that His mercy penetrates deep into all who would call themselves His servants.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hornswoggled

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Donis Casey
    • Narrated By Pam Ward
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    It's the spring of 1913, and love is in bloom for Alice Tucker. Alice's new beau, Walter Kelley, is handsome and wealthy. Everyone in Boynton, Oklahoma, likes him, except Alice's mother, Alafair. She sees that Walter has a weakness for the ladies - and they for him. Moreover, Walter's late wife, Louise, was murdered. and the murderer has not been caught. Walter had an alibi, so the sheriff has cleared him of the crime, but Alafair is not so sure that he wasn't involved in some way.

    Sara says: "Alafair Does It Again--or does she?"
    "1913 Small Town Oklahoma . . . Murder Part 2"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Alafair Tucker can sniff our a murder . . . both literally and figuratively . . . I could listen all day long to the country sayings (as I'm a country gal myself) . . . and when Alice, one of Alafair's older daughter's falls for the young widowed barber, whose wife had just been murdered and thrown into the river . . . well, my mother's instincts were on high alert, just like Alafair's. This is a great story on many levels, a murder mystery, an historical tale of rural Oklahoma in the early 1900s, and a funny, touching story of small town and family. I find myself identifying with Afafair's emotions as a mother more and more as this series continues. Can't wait for the next book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Tudor Secret: The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By C. W. Gortner
    • Narrated By Steve West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (219)
    Performance
    (181)
    Story
    (183)

    The summer of 1553 is a time of danger and deceit. Brendan Prescott, an orphan, has been reared in the household of the powerful Dudley family. Brought to court, Prescott finds himself sent on an illicit mission to the king’s brilliant but enigmatic sister, Princess Elizabeth. But Brendan is soon compelled to work as a double agent by Elizabeth’s protector, William Cecil, who promises in exchange to help him unravel the secret of his own mysterious past.

    joan says: "English History"
    "Fun Listen Full of Historical Tidbits"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Although this is fiction, much of it is historically correct, and I found myself mesmerized by the manners and ways of the English Tudors. Politics have been corrupt from the beginning of time . . . and yet, a thread of the good and honorable also persisted. The conflict between Protestants and Catholics during this period in history is particularly interesting to me, and that this would be such a point of contention regarding who sat on the throne of England is surprising. The narration is just right, carrying the listener away to a distant time and land of knights, kings, and queens . . . and dungeons with evil doers lurking around every corner. . . an almost fairy tale existence . . . I am looking forward to listening to the second in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Blaine Harden
    • Narrated By Blaine Harden
    Overall
    (695)
    Performance
    (617)
    Story
    (622)

    North Korea is isolated and hungry, bankrupt and belligerent. It is also armed with nuclear weapons. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people are being held in its political prison camps, which have existed twice as long as Stalin’s Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. Very few born and raised in these camps have escaped - but Shin Dong-hyuk did.

    Amanda says: "Worthwhile, but difficult on many levels."
    "A Listen for First Worlders"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My husband and I listened to this book together and a road trip. He, a retired soldier, me, a retired CFO. We are parents of five, grandparents of seven. Middle class, penny pinchers, not extravagant. Family oriented, Christians. Our oldest son is a soldier. He's been stationed in South Korea twice. He's been to Iraq and Afghanistan. Our youngest son was also a soldier, deployed to Iraq. We adopted our youngest daughter from a Romanian orphanage. My point? Our family, compared to many, has experienced varied lifestyles, seen suffering in other countries and cultures, been exposed to wars, loved, accepted and even adopted one who was "thrown away". BUT . . . the story in Escape from Camp 14 is different than any our family has heard, seen or experienced. In Iraq and Afghanistan, countries ravaged by terrorism and war, mothers still cling to hope and grasp their children in their arms. Families still cling together until the moment of death. In Romania, even during and before the revolution, although many mothers abandoned their children to orphanages, it was almost always due to not having the resources to care for them at home. The family structure was still strong, Christianity although underground, flourished. Listening to Escape from Camp 14 was absolutely chilling. If anyone has a doubt about what pure evil is, they need to listen. It is little wonder that Shin lied repeatedly to Blaine Harden when telling his story. My heart rose and fell as I listened, I hoped, then immediately felt sad as I continued to listen as Shin again failed in his new surroundings. A child who had never had any expectations shown to him, no nurturing, no warmth . . . but instead is taught from birth to manipulate. It is frightening. You have to listen to the ENTIRE story. The end is absolutely WORTH THE WAIT. Thank you, Blaine Harden for one of the most harrowing, most redeeming, stories I have ever heard.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Moonfixer

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By CC Tillery, Caitlyn Hunter, Christy Tillery French
    • Narrated By Carol Herman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    In the dawning years of the 20th century, Bessie Daniels leaves her home town of Hot Springs and travels east over the mountains to live with her new husband Fletcher Elliott in the Broad River section of North Carolina. In 1906, they purchase 400 acres of the old Zachariah Solomon Plantation which includes a small house with a shack beside it, a branch of Cedar Creek and a row of dilapidated slave cabins... And ghosts.

    Debbie says: "Southern Mountain Folk . . . Just Like Family"
    "Southern Mountain Folk . . . Just Like Family"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I could listen to the stories of these Appalachian folk all day long . . . it's just like going home to the hollers of Kentucky where I grew up on the Nolin River, making molasses with my daddy and grandpa and watching the old mule go round in circles as the cane was pulled in the grinder to mash out the juice to make the sorghum. The story of the little boy feeding in the sugar cane nearly ripped my heart out . . . yet these are the things that happen on family farms . . . joy and tragedy . . . Bessie and Fletch after their marriage is a deeply moving, often funny story, and just as good as the first in the series . . . Bessie remembers all that her Cherokee great grandmother taught her and continues using her healing powers, gathering herbs and caring for all her neighbors who are ill or injured . . . and mourning with them when her cures are just not enough . . . She also has her gift of "knowing" and "seeing" things sometimes . . . and sweet, unassuming Fletch has learned to accept it, when Bessie insists they must go to one in need . . . I wish that the third in the series was on audio, but so far, it isn't. Listening to these books is a real treat!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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