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Tamara B.

  • 16
  • reviews
  • 53
  • helpful votes
  • 403
  • ratings
  • Bring Me Back

  • A Novel
  • By: B. A. Paris
  • Narrated by: Kevin Hely, Cathleen McCarron
  • Length: 7 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,709
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,593
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 1,588

Finn and Layla are young, in love, and on vacation. They’re driving along the highway when Finn decides to stop at a service station to use the restroom. He hops out of the car, locks the doors behind him, and goes inside. When he returns Layla is gone - never to be seen again. That is the story Finn told to the police. But it is not the whole story. 

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Is something happening here?

  • By Cassandra on 06-27-18

While I did not hate this book, I did not love it

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

Reviewed: 08-06-18

Oh gosh...where to begin? While I did not hate this book, I did not love it either. My maw maw always told me that if I had nothing nice to say, just to keep my thoughts to myself, and that is what I am going to do with this review…..to a certain point.

The writing itself was good; the problem I had is with the actual story. It started out strong and I was excited to keep on, but as the story progressed, certain things just annoyed me and seem too far-fetched and unbelievable. But, but, it is fiction you are probably saying….Well yes, that is true, but some things just need to seem believable for me to buy into what you are selling.

My thoughts as I finished Bring Me Back:
· The story was not as suspenseful as I would have wanted it to be.
· What did I just read?
· Finn - (the main character) needed anger management classes – big, intimidating looking men need to tone it down when angry…..they tend to scare the general population.
· Finn needed a good pair of eyeglasses, because seriously, he must have been blind not to see what was right in front of him.
· Where was the ‘stunning climax’?

Because life for me is crazy at the moment, I purchased the audio version of this book even though the publisher was kind enough to provide me with an ARC. The narrators, Kevin Hely and Cathleen McCarron, were what kept this book from entering the dreaded DNF pile in the darkest corner of my room. Mr. Hely plays the biggest part of this performance with Ms. McCarron playing a smaller role, but each one did an amazing job with what they had to work with. Kudos to them!

I am giving this story a 2 star rating and the audio performance 4 stars.

  • Rainy Day Friends

  • A Novel
  • By: Jill Shalvis
  • Narrated by: Karen White
  • Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 156
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 144
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 145

Six months after Lanie Jacobs’ husband’s death, it’s hard to imagine anything could deepen her sense of pain and loss. But then Lanie discovers she isn’t the only one grieving his sudden passing. A serial adulterer, he left behind several other women. Rocked by the infidelity, Lanie is left to grapple with searing questions. Desperate to make a fresh start, Lanie impulsively takes a job at the family-run Capriotti Winery. With no real family of her own, she’s bewildered by how quickly the Capriottis all take her under their wing and make her feel like she belongs.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A feel good read

  • By Nadine Bookaholic on 06-21-18

A heartfelt and funny novel that warmed my heart

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

Reviewed: 08-06-18

Rainy Day Friends is a heartfelt and funny novel that warmed my heart with its story of friendship, love, and family. The story flowed so naturally, never feeling rushed or slow - just perfectly paced. Right from the very first page, I was instantly captivated and my interest never dulled.

I simply loved the Capriotti family, but the characters that stole the show were Mark’s absolutely darling twin daughters, Samantha and Sierra. They were just to stinking cute!

Rainy Day Friends is the second book in the Wildstone series and it can be read as a stand-alone without being completely clueless. This was my first experience with reading Ms. Shalvis’ books, but I loved this one so much, I am going to read the first book in this amazing series very soon.

Although I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for review, in the interest of time, I purchased the audio version so that I could ‘read’ in a timely manner. Karen White narrates this book, and she did an amazing job with all the characters – each one sounding unique. Her voice really brought the story to life.

Rainy Day Friends is the perfect lazy day read, and is definitely one you need to add to your reading list. Grab your wine, some cupcakes, have some tissues ready, and be prepared to spend all day in Wildstone!

  • The Woman in the Window

  • A Novel
  • By: A. J. Finn
  • Narrated by: Ann Marie Lee
  • Length: 13 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 21,614
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 19,871
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 19,815

Anna Fox lives alone - a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times...and spying on her neighbors. Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, mother, their teenaged son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn't, her world begins to crumble. And its shocking secrets are laid bare.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • An excruciating listen.

  • By Debra on 01-12-18

This cleverly crafted thriller kept me intrigued a

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

Reviewed: 01-04-18

Which character – as performed by Ann Marie Lee – was your favorite?

While there are some secondary characters in this story, the main character, Anna, was my favorite. Ms. Lee really brought her character to life.

Any additional comments?

The Woman in the Window truly surprised me with just how fantastic it was. I must admit, I was beyond perplexed at the beginning, because all I was really learning was how truly messed up Anna’s mind was (and who could blame her). In fact, several times I was thinking, where the heck is the author going with this story. Then BOOM!.......that magical moment every reader craves hit me and I was hooked. This cleverly crafted thriller kept me intrigued and captivated throughout and I could not put it down. As I was reading, I thought I knew where this story was going, but boy was I wrong! Anna is a complex and interesting character and it was an intense journey trying to understand what was going on inside her mind and listening to her thoughts.

Mr. Finn has an amazing talent for weaving a thrilling, on the edge of your seat, nail biting story that will have you hanging on for dear life. This is one author that is going to rock the literary world and I’m excited to read more from him!

The narrator, Ann Marie Lee, did an amazing job reading this novel. She brought the main character, Anna, to life and I felt as though I was in Anna's mind throughout the story.

15 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Heavy Weather

  • Carolina Coast Stories, Book 2
  • By: Normandie Fischer
  • Narrated by: Laura Jennings
  • Length: 11 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26

Annie Mac's estranged husband vows that nothing will stop him from getting his baby girl. Not Annie Mac and certainly not that boy of hers. Only four blocks away, Hannah Morgan lives in comfort with her husband and dog, making pottery and waiting for her best friend to come home. When she discovers the two children cowering in the bushes and their mama left for dead, it doesn't take her long to rally the sleepy town of Beaufort, NC, and to set her coterie of do-gooders to some extra-strength do-gooding.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Heavy Weather delivers

  • By S. Srock on 03-07-17

A richly captivating story that touched my heart

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

Reviewed: 06-18-17

If you could sum up Heavy Weather in three words, what would they be?

Captivating, compelling and well-written

Any additional comments?

Annie Mac’s life has never been easy, but she has tried to make the best of it. When her husband, Roy, beats her to almost death, the small town of Beaufort pulls together to help and protect Annie Mac and her two adorable children.

Heavy Weather is a very compelling story in which emotions run rampant and the tensions are high. It is a story of pain – both physically and mentally, a story of love, a story of healing and most of all a story of keeping faith when doing so seems utterly impossible. The characters are well-developed and are ones I was able to easily connect with which made this book impossible to stop listening to – needing to know what would happen next.

Normandie Fischer has crafted a richly captivating story that is filled with drama, suspense and Christian values. The story was well-written and flowed practically effortlessly. Ms. Fischer did a marvelous job creating characters that I cared about and she also did an outstanding job at portraying domestic abuse in a raw and honest way that brought tears to my eyes.

Laura Jennings narrates Heavy Weather and I think she did a fantastic job portraying the characters and setting the tone for this amazing story. Each of the characters voices was distinct and the pacing was just right. With her pleasant voice and her ability to incorporate all the right emotions made this a truly wonderful listening experience that is worth the credit.

If you are looking for a clean, well-written, touching and believable story with characters you will love and some that you will despise, look no further than Heavy Weather. This story touched my heart and is one that I would not hesitate to recommend.


  • The Alice Network

  • A Novel
  • By: Kate Quinn
  • Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
  • Length: 15 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25,991
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23,981
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23,875

In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • We are standing on the shoulders of giants...

  • By Marie on 02-25-18

Outstanding and mesmerizing

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

Reviewed: 06-12-17

If you could sum up The Alice Network in three words, what would they be?

Outstanding, mesmerizing and amazing

What does Saskia Maarleveld bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Saskia Maarleveld, did an AMAZING job with the characters and their accents. The character’s personalities and the story itself truly came to life with Maarleveld’s performance and took this already great story to another level of grandness that was unsurpassed.

Any additional comments?

Outstanding and mesmerizing are the two words that first came to mind as I finished The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. This story is wonderfully written with deep, rich and complex characters. With great details along with solid writing, Ms. Quinn expertly brought this amazing story to life. This story kept me deeply engrossed with thrilling suspense, intriguing espionage and heartbreaking moments. I’m normally not a fan of historical fiction of this time period (specifically WWI and WW2), but I could not put this book down for a second.

Overall, this was an amazing story that truly is a must read for any fan of historical fiction and one that I would highly recommend.

12 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • The Good Spy Dies Twice

  • The Bullseye Series, Book 1
  • By: Mark H. Hosack
  • Narrated by: Mark Hosack
  • Length: 10 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 59
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 55

Jake Boxer, investigative journalist and host of the conspiratorial news show Bullseye, is in serious trouble. Not only is his soundman murdered by Russian intelligence agents while reporting on a secretive New World Order, but his network cancels his show, leaving Jake humiliated and spiraling into a deep dark depression.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • mind-blowing twists and turns in this thriller

  • By AudioBook Reviewer on 02-08-17

An absolutely thrilling story

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

Reviewed: 05-08-17

Any additional comments?

In this first installment of the Bullseye series, we are introduced to Jake Boxer, an investigative journalist and host for a very controversial news show called Bullseye. When his soundman and best friend is found murdered while on an investigation concerning a secret group, Bullseye gets cancelled. Bullseye was Jake's livelihood, so without any clear direction and his dream job nixed, he spirals into a deep depression. Fast forward a few years, and we find Jake newly married and on his honeymoon with the love of his life. This honeymoon does not go as planned though as the events from the past collide with the present and Jake must find who is behind the secretive group and a killer.

The Good Spy Dies Twice is filled with tense action that held me in its grasp right from the beginning and was impossible to put down. Mr. Hosack’s uncanny ability to create a plot that is both engaging and thrilling kept my interest throughout – needing to know what would happen next. This well written, fast paced thriller is raw, gritty and suspenseful with extreme amounts of action and solid, well-developed characters.

I was a bit leery to listen to this audio book due to it being narrated by the author himself. Sometimes authors just need to the leave performance of their book in the capable hands of professional narrators and just concentrate on the writing. My thinking though was quite wrong in this instance – a whole lot of wrong. Mark Hosack narrated this book outstandingly. His voice is crisp and concise, with pacing that was perfect. Not only was the narration top notch, each chapter begins with sound effects that not only complement the story but in my opinion adds a level of uniqueness that sets this audio book apart.

Overall, if you love action packed thrillers then you don’t need to look any further than The Good Spy Dies Twice. Mr. Hosack is a masterful story teller and amazing narrator who has created a thrilling story that is filled with just enough twists and turns to make your head spin. This was a great start to the series and I can’t wait for the next installment.

Story – 4 stars
Performance – 5 stars
Overall – 4.5 stars

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Little Women

  • By: Louisa May Alcott
  • Narrated by: Andrea Emmes
  • Length: 17 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 411
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 356
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 355

Little Women, set in the 19th century follows the lives of four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March as they live, learn, love, and grow as young pilgrims and blossom into fine little women. Based on the author's childhood, Little Women is one of the most beloved stories in American literature. It continues to touch listeners both young and old. Alcott takes you on a prolific journey which will make your heart swell, your soul laugh, and your heart ache as we experience the lives of the March sisters as they endure their lessons, scrapes, castles in the air, their romances, and more.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A classic

  • By Cyn on 10-05-16

Awesome narration!

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

Reviewed: 04-04-17

Any additional comments?

Little Women is a classic story about the March family and their daily lives – from dealing with poverty to finding love. The story begins when the Civil War was occurring and the years that follow. The reader/listener literally ‘watches’ the four young March daughters grow up to become little women. There is happiness and tragedy within the pages but also valuable life lessons, that even though somewhat outdated, can be applied even today.

The story is told by Jo, one of the March sisters. She’s a fantastic character with a strong head on her shoulders and her dedication to her family was simply admirable. I think that a lot of readers will find Jo to be the favorite character of this story, but mine is Mrs. March who I thought was an amazing mother, who raised her family with love and dedication. She was truly a saint who really was the glue that held the family together through both the worst and best of times.

The narrator for this audiobook is Andrea Emmes, and I truly must say she did a fantastic job narrating this heartwarming story. Her expressive voice kept the characters distinct and interesting, which really brought this timeless story to life. The production quality of this audiobook was outstanding and the pacing of the narration was perfect.

There are numerous audio versions of the book available, but I would highly recommend this one because of the narrator’s lovely voice and her ability to draw the listener in and keep you engaged throughout. I look forward to hearing more from this narrator in the future.

Story – 4 stars
Performance – 5 stars
Overall – 4.5 stars

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Onions in the Stew

  • By: Betty MacDonald
  • Narrated by: Heather Henderson
  • Length: 9 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33

The author recalls episodes of love and humor from her experiences living on Vashon Island in Puget Sound.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A humorous tale of island living!

  • By DabOfDarkness on 03-26-17

Exceptional!

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

Reviewed: 03-31-17

Any additional comments?

Onions in the Stew is Betty MacDonald’s fourth memoir and it is so hilarious! There is really no set theme in this installment, just a collection of humorous moments from Betty’s life living on Vashon Island during and after World War 2 with her second husband and two daughters. It was such a treat to peek back in time through Ms. MacDonald’s words and her amazing ability to turn any horrible event into something that will have you laughing at loud. Raising two teenage girls is a challenging feat for any mother, but Ms. MacDonald’s witty humor made it sound like a whole lot of fun.

Heather Henderson narrates Onions in the Stew, and she does an outstanding job once again with this installment. I can’t think of another narrator that could even come close to the exceptional talent of Ms. Henderson. As I have stated in previous audio book reviews from this author, her voice of Betty MacDonald is perfect and I feel as though Ms. MacDonald is in the room with me. Ms. Henderson is also able to give each of the characters a distinct voice which I think really adds to the story. I don’t feel as though I am being read to, instead I feel as though I am right there with each of the characters – which makes this a wonderful listening experience. The production quality of this recording is top notch and the narration flows effortlessly.

Onions in the Stew was exceptionally well-written and with the charming characters and numerous laugh-out-loud moments makes this one book that I would highly recommend to just about anyone who is needing an uplifting and funny reading/listening experience. You really can’t go wrong with this title and is well worth a credit.

Story – 4 stars
Performance – 5 stars
Overall – 4.5 stars

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Finders Keepers

  • The Jane Barnaby Adventures, Book 1
  • By: J.J. DiBenedetto
  • Narrated by: Cait Frizzell
  • Length: 6 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 40
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 39
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 39

It should have been a simple job. All archaeology student Jane Barnaby had to do was pick up a box her professor needed and deliver it to him at his dig site, along with his new car. Yes, his office was in Oxfordshire, and his dig site was in Spain, a trip of 1,400 miles across three countries and two bodies of water. Still, it should have been simple. And it was, until Jane discovered she picked up the wrong box by mistake.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A true delight!

  • By Tamara B. on 03-12-17

A true delight!

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

Reviewed: 03-12-17

Any additional comments?

Let me begin with my thoughts on the actual story starting with our main character, Jane Barnaby. I liked this girl – a lot. She is smart, witty and doesn’t back down from a challenge – willing to get the job done, no matter what. Jane is a university student studying archeology. When her professor asks her for a favor involving delivering a box of pottery shards, she jumped for the chance, willing to prove herself in her chosen field. It seemed like an easy job – all she had to do is drive her across three countries to a dig site in Spain. Easy Peasy, right? Well, not everything goes according to plan, when to start with, she has no idea how to drive a stick shift so she has to have a crash course (no pun intended) in order not to totally destroy her professor’s brand NEW Ranger Rover. She then quickly discovers that instead of the professors prized pottery shards, she has picked up a box of priceless Ancient Egyptian artifacts that some very determined thieves need to get back. This is where the action really picks up as Jane tries her best to get the correct package back to the professor and the Egyptian artifacts back to their rightful owner. In a game of cat and mouse, Jane must trust her instincts to determine which of her two new ‘assistants’ she can trust.

J.J. DiBenedetto has created the perfect combination of mystery, action and intrigue with the start of this series and I can’t wait to see where Jane’s adventures take the reader next. If book one is any indication, it’s going to be one crazy and delightful time! I really loved the fact that the author did not drown the story in romance, which would have worked, but was so much better without it as the reader gets to concentrate on the actual details. There is a hint of a love interest, but it never evolved in this installment. I look forward to see if anything comes of it but in all seriousness, it really is not necessary in this series.

The narration….
In my opinion, what really makes this story pop is the narration. Cait Frizzell did an AMAZING job narrating this book. Her different accents for each character brought this story to life and made an already great book, simply fantastic! Her voices are crisp and concise and the pacing was perfect. Ms. Frizzell’s performance drew me into the story and I did not want to stop listening for a second – in fact, this was the fastest 6 hours and 27 seconds I have ever encountered!

In conclusion....
There is always some level of apprehension on my part whenever I start a book that is written by a new to me author AND narrator, but my worries were for not with Finders Keepers. I was pleasantly surprised by just how amazing this combination was – not only was this a fantastic story, the narration was perfect! Overall, Finders Keepers was a true delight and I look forward to reading more from DiBenedetto and will be definitely be searching out more audio performances from Frizzell.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Anybody Can Do Anything

  • By: Betty MacDonald
  • Narrated by: Heather Henderson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34

After surviving both the failed chicken farm - and marriage - immortalized in The Egg and I, Betty MacDonald returns to live with her mother and desperately searches to find a job to support her two young daughters. With the help of her older sister Mary, Anybody Can Do Anything recounts her failed, and often hilarious, attempts to find work during the Great Depression.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An absolute delightful listen!

  • By Tamara B. on 02-09-17

An absolute delightful listen!

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

Reviewed: 02-09-17

Would you consider the audio edition of Anybody Can Do Anything to be better than the print version?

Absolutely! Heather Henderson is an amazing narrator and really brings the story to life.

Which scene was your favorite?

Every scene with Betty's sister Mary...she was a HOOT!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed out loud several times throughout!

Any additional comments?

Anybody Can Do Anything is absolutely hilarious! The Depression era was a difficult time in history and from what I learned from my grandparents, life was not easy for most. Even though this was a hard time, Betty MacDonald shares this part of her life with the perfect slice of humor that had me laughing out loud. With the help of her sister, Mary, she held many jobs and gained skills she never thought possible. Even though this is Ms. MacDonald’s memoir, her sister Mary steals the limelight in my opinion. With her can-do attitude and never-take-no-for-an-answer mentality, I really felt she was the glue that held this family together during this time of their life.

Anybody Can Do Anything is completely stand-alone, but if you want to read/listen in order, I would start with The Egg and I first, then Anybody Can Do Anything, and then end with The Plague and I. Although each book is fantastic and enjoyable I found that I enjoyed Anybody Can Do Anything just a tad bit more than the others due to all of Mary’s shenanigans. She was just fun to learn about.

Anybody Can Do Anything is narrated by Heather Henderson. I simply love all the voices of Heather Henderson but most of all her voice of Betty MacDonald. She has this certain ability to draw the listener in and convince you that Ms. MacDonald is sitting right in front of you relaying the events of her life. The production quality is superb and the pacing of the narration was just right. Ms. Henderson is a delight to listen to and makes an already great story positively amazing.

Overall, Anybody Can Do Anything was an absolute delightful listen that was fun and entertaining. Betty MacDonald wrote with such humor that I found myself laughing out loud many times. Not only is Ms. MacDonald a funny and witty writer she is also just plain entertaining and with Heather Henderson’s narration added makes this amazing read/listen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful