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  • Her Mother's Daughter

  • By: Alice Fitzgerald
  • Narrated by: Caroline Lennon
  • Length: 8 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2

1980: Josephine flees her home in Ireland to start a new life in London - but can't leave her traumatic childhood behind. Seventeen years and two children later, her sister calls: their mother is dying and wants to see Josephine. It's a summons she can't refuse.... 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Past, but not forgotten.

  • By DubaiReader on 02-04-19

Past, but not forgotten.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-04-19

I have just listened to the closing passages of this book and I'm conflicted as to how to review it. There was a lot to commend, particularly the images of Ireland in the 1980s and of the life of an Irish girl, newly arrived to London. The narrative also works well, spoken from the perspective of Josephine, born and raised in Ireland, and her daughter, Clare, who seems mature beyond her years at times.
Unfortunately I was not a fan of the narrator, who had a very twee voice, suitable possibly for the child, but not for her angry mother. And inevitably, my feelings about the book are going to be affected by the ending, as that is currently uppermost in my mind - I just listened to a book that seemed to have two endings and I had just come to terms with the first, when I was presented with a second. I'm left wondering which is true.

It was tragic how the incident that Josephine ran from in Ireland, followed her through life and affected the way she interacted with her children. I really felt for them. Clare does an amazing job of protecting her younger brother, Thomas, from their mother's rages and dark moods. Michael, their father, was a great dad, but completely out of his depth.

As a debut novel this was a worthwhile read and I would certainly read this author again.

  • Devil's Kitchen

  • An Inspector Drake Prequel Novella
  • By: Stephen Puleston
  • Narrated by: Richard Elfyn
  • Length: 2 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 25

When two bodies are found sprawled at the bottom of the Devil's Kitchen in the mountains of Snowdonia, it's believed the man found dead killed his wife and then committed suicide. But something doesn't feel right to DI Ian Drake, and his gut instinct has never before let him down. Drake suspects at least one of the deaths could be suspicious, but who would kill such an ordinary couple, and why? This might be Drake's first murder inquiry, but his years as a detective have taught him one thing - every murder has a motive, and every killer leaves a trace.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Short murder mystery brilliantly written and narrated!

  • By Karen Ross on 12-11-18

Murder in the mountains.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-25-18

I listened to the audiobook of this novella and I have to say, the narration by Richard Elfyn, was excellent. So I was already in a receptive mood as I prepared to set out for a long drive.

I'm actually not quite sure what the purpose is of prequels. I've asked a few authors at Lit Fests and got varied responses, though it seems it's often the publisher's idea.
In this case, we are introduced to detective inspector Ian Drake, just after he has been promoted, and his side-kick, Ceren Waits. They are an interesting pair, as he's meticulously tidy and she's, well, a bit of a slob really. As I'd never read any of Stephen Puleston's books, I had no prior image of either character, which was possibly a good thing.

Two bodies are found on a Welsh mountain, husband and wife. The wife appears to have been murdered but it's not immediately apparent how the husband came to be sprawled close by.
It would have been easy to have gone with the obvious conclusion - that the husband murdered his wife and then committed suicide, but Drake's intuition suggests there's more to it. Being his first murder enquiry, he needs to be sure he gets it right and he persuades his superior to allow him a little more time to turn all the stones.

It did make me think about how easy it would have been for the incorrect conclusion to have been drawn and the case closed. How often must this happen??

This was an enjoyable listen, not too drawn out and fairly straight forward. I wasn't confused at the end as I have been by some books I've read recently. I'd probably give the first book in the series a try if it were to become available in audio - and especially if it's read by Richard Elfyn.

  • Unpredictable Webs

  • By: Darlene Quinn
  • Narrated by: Karin Allers
  • Length: 12 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 12

About to turn sixteen, Marnie Taylor is rebellious - fighting often with her mother, Ashleigh - and jealous of her more even-tempered and popular twin sister, Callie. Lonely, Marnie finds a compassionate listener in Brad, whom she meets online. Spinning a web of lies to throw her parents off, Marnie arranges an in-person meet-up with Brad. But she realizes too late that she has been targeted in a sinister scheme for ransom.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A little slow moving

  • By MELODY on 10-20-17

Irritating.

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-18-17

I finish this narrative with a sigh of relief, and while I hate leaving a negative review, my honest response to this audiobook was that it was hugely irritating to listen to on several fronts. Firstly, the narrator had a really annoying voice and was totally unable to do male voices, turning them into an awful screech. Secondly, the book itself was written in third person, but the characters kept announcing what they were thinking, which really didn't work for me. Either a book is in first person, or it isn't.

In brief, a large department store has taken over an old favourite and split the loyalties of the stores' shoppers. Viviana De Mornay has moved her up-market clothing brand from one store to the umbrella organisation, and she has both a closing sale and a grand opening.
Marnie Taylor, the kidnapped twin who we met in Twisted Webs, is now living with her true family, although she still has strong attachments to Erica, her 'mother' until she was eight. She suddenly has an identical twin and a younger sister, as well as a life of luxury, after being brought up in a trailer park. Her wealth, however, makes her a target for another kidnapping and the frightening issue of on-line grooming is tackled. The kidnapping itself is over dramatised, along with a lot of the aforementioned expression of thoughts by a large number of the characters involved.

Although this is the fourth book in the Webs series, I believe it is actually the second featuring this particular cast of characters and provides a sequel to book 2 in the series, Twisted Webs. I found the cast of thousands in Twisted Webs, very confusing, and had to create a 'family tree' to work out who was who and how everyone was interrelated. I would imagine this would be quite a problem if you were coming to this book without having read the prequel.

According to GoodReads, this book received the 2013 Beverly Hills Book Awards Best in Fiction and the International Readers' Favorite Gold Medal, and other readers have rated it highly. I would therefore suggest that before deciding against this book, based on my review, prospective readers take a look at other reviews and make their own judgments.

I promised to listen to this audiobook and leave an unbiased review, this I have done. Thanks to the publishers, the author and the narrator, for my audiobook copy. Also thanks to Audiobook Boom who provides the contact between authors/narrators, and readers.

  • Brick

  • By: Conrad Jones
  • Narrated by: Diana Croft
  • Length: 9 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6

When a teenager is the victim of an unprovoked attack while walking his dog, a murder investigation begins. A cruel twist of fate makes his innocent family the targets of a vicious campaign of terror. As the detectives of Liverpool's Major Investigation Team try to contain the violence, several key members of an organized crime family begin to topple, causing shockwaves across the planet.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Gang warfare and violence.

  • By DubaiReader on 08-08-17

Gang warfare and violence.

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-08-17

I volunteered to listen to the audio version of this book, expecting a thriller, but not expecting the level of violence that it contains. In fairness to the author, the violence was up-front and in-your-face right from the beginning and under all normal circumstances I would have closed the book there and then. However, I tend to complete audiobooks more often than the written word, so I persevered.

An unfortunate teenage boy from a peaceful, if poor family, becomes embroiled in a gang situation where life is cheap and revenge is all. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time and mouthed off a bit too much. As a result, he and his family become targets of a ruthless mob and find themselves fleeing for their lives.
My friends read 'body-count' books and we joke about the number of bodies eliminated by the author during the course of the book - well, I have to say I lost count with Brick, there certainly weren't many left to bring to justice by the end.

If you're looking for dark and brooding with an ominous presence, then this may be for you; if it's a frantic page-turner you're after, then, no, I didn't find that with this book, it didn't grab me and I'm sorry to say, even the ending was a bit flat.
Notable comment for the narrator, Diana Croft, who nailed the Northern accents.

  • Weeping Under This Same Moon

  • By: Jana Laiz
  • Narrated by: Zoe Laiz, Caroline Huang McLaughlin
  • Length: 6 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 3

Weeping Under This Same Moon is based on a true story of two teenage girls from different cultures, whose paths intertwine, dramatically altering the course of their lives. In this testament to the power of love and the spirit of volunteerism, Mei and Hannah come together in celebration of culture and language, food and friendship, and the ultimate rescue of both young women from their own despair.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • They want us to leave yet they make us pay to do

  • By DubaiReader on 07-11-17

They want us to leave yet they make us pay to do

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-11-17

Weeping Under the Same Moon was originally published in 2008, but has recently been released as an Audible audiobook. I was lucky enough to receive a copy for review from Audiobook Boom and enthusiastically give it five stars, both for the narrative and the narration.

Two narrators read the story: one plays the teenage refugee, Mei, who must flee from Vietnam at a time when anyone of Chinese descent was being persecuted, the other plays Hannah, an American teenage misfit and loner, with eating problems.


Based on the true story of two teenagers, the book follows Mai's departure form her beloved home, along with her fourteen year old brother and little sister. From then on she must assume responsibility for both, although she is barely more than a child herself. The crossing is frightening, with very little to eat or drink and no toilet facilities. The little boat is at the mercy of the sea and many are sea-sick. Mai's best friend had attempted the crossing before her and had drowned herself rather than be subjected to rape, so Mai is full of trepidation. When they finally reach Malaysia their problems are not over - rather than a comfortable bed and welcoming arms, they find themselves sharing a room with another family, locked in a refugee camp.

Meanwhile, Hannah, who I believe is actually the author, Jana Laiz, is struggling in school. She has become socially isolated because she refuses to conform and smoke dope with her friends. She has resorted to extreme dieting to feel better about herself and although she writes and takes photographs, she declines to share them for fear of ridicule. I fear she represents many children who are picked on and bullied in schools across the West.
When she hears about the Vietnamese Boat People she is motivated to help and contacts an organisation involved with repatriation. She is put in contact with a group of families who have recently arrived; they speak little English and she speaks no Vietnamese, but she doggedly perseveres and is able to help them in so many ways.

Several things struck me about this book:
Firstly, what a wonderful motivational story this would be for struggling, isolated teens. How volunteering could actually help the volunteer as much as the recipients.
Secondly, how differently refugees were received then, around the end of the 1970s. Many of these people were homed into the West and integrated into society - unlike in another book I recently read about today's refugees (Paradise Denied by Zekarias Kebraeb), where so many were repatriated to face a hostile welcome on their return.

The issue of refugees is very topical and books such as Weeping Under This Same Moon and Paradise Denied, should be required reading in schools.
I was sorry when this book ended, I felt as if its characters were my friends.

Also read:
Paradise Denied by Zekarias Kebraeb (5 stars)
The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee (5 stars)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Volcano Island

  • By: William Graham
  • Narrated by: Mary Allwright
  • Length: 1 hr and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 11

Ten-year-old Rolf Arneson from Minnesota visits Iceland. During his stay he meets an Icelandic girl named Frida who introduces him to a world of magic, folklore, glaciers and erupting volcanoes. Learn how they work together to save a small town about to be destroyed by a volcanic eruption.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • .Magic at Magma Mountain

  • By Amy on 06-08-17

Icelandic adventure.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-09-17

William Graham is a keen travel blogger and it's great that he shares his experiences with young readers in his children's literature. This book is set in Iceland and I discovered to my surprise, that it was the first book I'd read about that country.

Rolf and Frieda are both ten; Rolf is a slightly alienated American boy and Frieda is an Icelandic girl, struggling through the recent death of her mother. Their parents are friends and arrange for Rolf to spend some of his summer vacation in Iceland. In spite of initial reservations, the two children find they have a lot in common and Frieda enjoys showing him around and sharing some of the local folklore.

The book was an interesting combination of travelogue and local myths, with a bit of an adventure thrown in. Sadly, most youngsters seem to want to read fantasy these days, but for a child looking for something a bit different, this would be an excellent choice.

I was listening to the audiobook version, well narrated by Mary Allwright, and obtained through Audiobook Boom in exchange for an honest review.
Recommended age 5 to 10 years.

  • The Edge of Nowhere

  • A Tale of Tragedy, Love, Murder, and Survival
  • By: C.H. Armstrong
  • Narrated by: Beth A. McIntosh
  • Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25

The year is 1992 and Victoria Hastings Harrison Greene - reviled matriarch of a sprawling family - is dying. After surviving the Oklahoma Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, Victoria refuses to leave this earth before revealing the secrets she's carried for decades. Hers is a tale of tragedy, love, murder, and above all, the conviction to never stop fighting.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • You'll be thinking of this long after you're done

  • By K. Richardson on 05-28-16

Get this in audio if you possibly can.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-24-17

When I requested a free audiobook of The Edge of Nowhere from Boom!, I had no idea that I would be walking round the house with my lap top (having failed to download it onto my Kindle Fire), looking for housework to do, so I could continue to listen.
I was completely gripped by this amazing woman from Oklahoma who had survived the Dust Bowl and The Depression and still managed to raise fourteen children.

I had obviously heard of The Depression that lasted through most of the thirties, but I was not aware of The Dust Bowl, which coincided with this time of shortages and unemployment, and turned areas of America and Canada into virtual wastelands, exacerbating the poverty and starvation.

The author's grandmother lived through these catastrophes, so she decided to research the period and combine history with family narratives to produce an astounding book that really manages to highlight what it took to survive these awful times.
Although it reads as pretty much a catalogue of disasters, beginning when Victoria is just 8 years old, the heroine is so unbelievably strong that she always finds a way to carry on whatever. I shared in her joys and my tears welled through her losses, and now I miss her as if I've lost a friend.

I should also make mention of the narrator, Beth A. McIntosh, whose Oklahoma accent gave the story even more authenticity. If you get the opportunity to listen to the audio version, I would highly recommend it.

"I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

  • Slave, Book 1

  • By: Laura Frances
  • Narrated by: Stacey Glemboski
  • Length: 7 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 74
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 69
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 69

There is no sun. There is no moon. There is only gray - the smog belched from coal-fueled factories. The Workers silently shuffle to their assigned posts. The Outcasts watch from the alley walls. On every corner, a Watcher stands stone-faced, a rifle in hand. This is the only life that exists. Beyond the mountains is a dream. But dreams are foolish in a place like this. Hannah has spent 19 years dodging Watchers and doing as she is told. When she wakes to the valley exploding in revolution, Hannah is forced onto a dangerous path, where nothing is what she believed.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not quite there....

  • By Robin on 10-12-17

3.5 stars

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-17-17

I was thrilled to win a free copy of this as an audiobook, even though it was a little outside my normal comfort zone.
Although I quite often read Young Adult novels, I usually tend to shy away from Science Fiction and Dystopian.

The young heroine, Hannah, is trained to obey orders without question and never to look a Watcher in the eye. Her parents are dead and she lives alone in a Unit, with only her elderly neighbours, Norma and Albert, for company.
Norma always assures her that there's more than one side to any story, but Hannah is angry and remains unconvinced.

When revolution turns her life upside down, Hannah is a reluctant heroine, but she also learns what her friend Norma had meant and that not all Watchers are the evil men they appeared to be. In fact, they were as much slaves as her.

The ending let the book down a bit, a bit too convenient., but I can't say too much for fear of spoilers. Some interesting explanations regarding the identity of the Slaves and plenty of opening for the next book in the series.

What struck me, as I was listening to the narrator describing the lives of these workers, who lived only to serve the Council and who were constantly observed by the Watchers, was how much like North Korea this sounded. And as events unfolded, there seemed to be more and more similarities.

The narration by Stacey Glemboski was clear and atmospheric, just sometimes, a bit too breathless in the less exciting passages. She didn't fall into the trap of periodically lowering her voice, which can make audios so frustrating to listen to in background noise.

Although this was a free review copy of the audiobook, my review is completely unbiased.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful