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jtobair

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  • reviews
  • 6
  • helpful votes
  • 17
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  • The Magician

  • By: D. A. Pupa
  • Narrated by: L.J. Ganser
  • Length: 10 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2

Hurricane Sandy ravages the Jersey Shore while simultaneously providing the backdrop for a horrible crime. A serial killer takes advantage of the night's ferocity and inflicts his own damage. The madman then disappears, leaving a famed FBI agent broken in the process. Frank Sorello retires from the Bureau only to be drawn back into the game after a best-selling novel by a new author raises suspicions about details inside the book. Is the homicidal maniac announcing his return or is it purely a coincidence?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Frank Sorello is on the case!

  • By jtobair on 09-15-17

Frank Sorello is on the case!

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

Reviewed: 09-15-17

First off, I have to say the author, D.A. Pupa is one of the nicest people I've ever encountered. When I added his book to my TBR shelf, he personally thanked me, then when I listed it as read, he messaged me and thanked me for reading his book. So if for anything, read this book so that you can get a message from a really nice author thanking you for reading their book, it really makes you feel good! I wasn't even gifted a copy of this book or anything, I bought it for Kindle and then I bought the WhisperSync Audible option so that I could listen to the Audiobook.

The Magician is a book that switches back and forth between the past and present, and I know that's a commonly used trope these days, but I promise it's done well here. We are first introduced to present-day Frank Sorello, then the past is to see how the killer is brought up into a killer and how Frank's wife is killed during Hurricane (or is it SuperStorm?) Sandy. I'd say that most of the book is in the present and what's in the past doesn't detract; if anything, it gives the background information necessary to know what motivates the killer, James. I was glad that we were able to get into the mind of not only the hunter, but the hunted. There are quite a few more minor characters, and I feel like they could have been fleshed out a bit more, but honestly, I quite enjoyed the central spotlight being on James and Frank; it seemed a bit obsessive at times, but on the flip side, then we would see other characters and it would cool off.

I think my only couple criticisms would be that the ending isn't wrapped up very neatly and that a few things were just a bit too easy. POTENTIAL SPOILER. First, I have been told that there is a sequel in the works, but the ending isn't tied up in a pretty bow. If that's going to bother you and you're going to give this book a 1-star review because you can't handle a book that ends but doesn't quite resolve everything, don't waste our time. This is a phenomenal book that the author has obviously worked very hard on; I'm really looking forward to reading the sequel. The ending didn't leave me disappointed or feeling unsatisfied and I wouldn't call it a cliffhanger at all, it's just not neat and tidy. END POTENTIAL SPOILER. Second, a couple things were just too easy, for example after the death of Frank's wife, he was at rock bottom and drinking too much, and we see that he has a Sensei that brings him from the depths, but we don't get too many details and it seems like it was just Frank pulling himself up by the bootstraps and getting on with life. Also, Sara is the only one that can break through his hardened heart, but it doesn't take much and is just really easily done, almost a gimmee. Again, these things don't necessarily detract from the storyline since the rest of it is so incredibly intense, but it would be nice to see just a bit more detail and fleshing out of these moments to see a bit more of the human side of Frank.

I have to take a moment to comment on the beauty of that cover. Before I read the book, I didn't understand the cover at all and I thought it was a bit weird, but after reading the book, HOLY COW, I've never seen a cover that embodies a book better than this one! You must really zoom in to see and appreciate the detail that was put into this cover to really appreciate it, but it's really a thing of beauty.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by L.J. Ganser that is available on Audible and as a WhisperSync option with Kindle ebooks. Since I didn't actually read the Kindle or paperback versions, I can't comment on any grammar or spelling issues. L.J. Ganser did a great job as a narrator and I think he embodied Frank and James really well. He struggled just a little bit with the female voices in dialogue, but I was still able to differentiate them and I was never confused as to whom was speaking.

I found this book riveting and am very excited for when the sequel comes out! I'm looking forward to more for D.A. Pupa and wish him the best in the publishing world as he writes a great book and is one of the nicest authors I've ever encountered.

  • The Watchman

  • By: V.B. Tenery
  • Narrated by: Theo Holland
  • Length: 7 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20

When Detective Noah Adams meets the abused son of a powerful judge, he knows he must intervene - and fast. The violence is escalating, and even Noah's special gifts may not prevent the unthinkable from happening. Relentlessly pursuing two cases, Noah receives a chilling message: Cody's deranged father has taken his son and it's up to Noah to follow the judge's twisted trail to find the boy before it's too late.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thrilling exciting and suspenseful

  • By Cyn on 10-24-17

Interesting...

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

Reviewed: 08-15-17

Would you try another book from V.B. Tenery and/or Theo Holland?

I will definitely be on the look out for more books narrated by Theo Holland because he did a fantastic job.

Would you ever listen to anything by V.B. Tenery again?

Probably not.

Any additional comments?

I think that this book is definitely between 2-3 stars, so let's split the difference and say 2.5. I wasn't sure why this book was labelled as "supernatural" on someone's shelf as I thought it was just a PI/detective mystery. From the blurb, you'd never know that Noah has "super powers", it just says "special gifts". This is also a highly religious book that gets gratingly preachy at times; for example, Noah is having a conversation with someone about something, and all the sudden he goes "This is wrong just like abortion is wrong". I found this highly unnecessary and putting your personal opinions into a book kind of detracts. If the issue at hand was abortion, then fine, we can discuss it, but the moral issue just popped out of the blue. I also feel like the author had some questions they needed to answer like: "how is Noah going to accomplish saving Cody and his mother?" and then "Oh! I know! Let's make him invisible!" which came across to me as almost lazy. It's almost as if the invisibility was used so that it would be easier to find the solution to problems. Maybe that's just me (I really don't like supernatural genres, and I feel it's a bit strange to combine the supernatural with the Christian/Evangelical element as they seem quite paradoxical). Otherwise, this novel had enough suspense and twists to keep me involved and engaged and I felt like the storyline was very solid.

I voluntarily reviewed an audio copy of this book through The AudioBookworm Promotions, this in no way affects my opinions. I cannot comment on any spelling/grammar issues in the book as I only listened to the story as narrated by Theo Holland. I think Theo Holland did a fantastic job narrating and I really enjoyed listening to his southern drawl. I would definitely listen to another book narrated by him. This is a high-quality, professional recording with no production/quality issues that I could find. I was satisfied with the audiobook itself.

Overall, if you are into the Christian Suspense genre, you might like this book more than me, but it just wasn't all my cup of tea. There were definitely good parts and parts that had me shaking my head, but there was never a point that I felt like I wanted to turn it off and not pick it back up; on the flip side, I also wasn't glued to the story, listening every chance I got. It took me a week to get through when normally a book this length (7h 17m) would take me about 3 days max.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Smoking Cigarettes, Eating Glass

  • A Psychologist's Memoir
  • By: Annita Perez Sawyer
  • Narrated by: Annita Perez Sawyer
  • Length: 10 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3

Annita Sawyer's memoir is a harrowing, heroic, and redeeming story of her battle with mental illness, and her triumph in overcoming it. In 1960, as a suicidal teenager, Sawyer was institutionalized, misdiagnosed, and suffered through 89 electroshock treatments before being transferred, labeled as "unimproved". The damage done has haunted her life.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • How Far We Have Come......

  • By BookLover on 12-12-18

Should be required reading for every psychiatrist

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

Reviewed: 08-15-17

If you could sum up Smoking Cigarettes, Eating Glass in three words, what would they be?

Broken systems terrorize

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Anita rose like a phoenix from the broken mental health systems of the 60s to persevere and flourish.

Any additional comments?

This book is a must read for anyone going into the psychiatry/psychology field (as well as anyone who is interested in mental health). As someone in the medical field, I was drawn to this book because I heard about the questionable practices of the psychiatric field in school, but a firsthand account of the horrors would bring much-needed light and compassion to the subject. This is such a well done memoir that, at times, I have to admit that I forgot I was reading non-fiction; this book reads like fiction. It grabbed me by my collar and didn't let go. I think the one and only criticism I have for this book is this: it progresses very linear and easy to follow, but then after Anita requests her records, it starts to skip around a bit and gets just a bit hard to follow. Otherwise, this is a great book that I think should be required reading in every university that teaches any sort of medicine or mental health studies. I also have to point out that after reading this book, I can acknowledge how hard it must be to market and ask for reviews, especially those that aren't positively glowing. This author has come such a long way in her life and has accomplished so much, I bet none of her psychiatrists could've predicted her being able to handle becoming an award-winning author (among everything else!).

I volunteered to review the audiobook through Audiobookworm Promotions; this in no way affects my opinions. Anita Perez-Sawyer narrated her own book, and I think that was very fitting for this situation. I am not always a fan of author-narrated books, but this is such a personal and emotional story that I can't imagine it being appropriate for anyone else to narrate this book. This is not a professional-level recording as you can hear a few swallows and stumbles over words, but it did not lessen my experience any. There were not any pops/crackles/static in the Audible recording; it's still a high quality recording.

If you are in a mental health field (or just curious as to what the not-too-distant-past was like) I absolutely implore you to read this book. It's well worth your time and will open your eyes to the suffering that a broken system caused. I believe many mental health diagnoses could have been prevented or cured with traditional talk and drug therapies rather than the more extreme ECT and lobotomies that caused irreversible damage. It's my hope that with books like this and people in the mental health world like Anita Perez-Sawyer that history will never be forgotten and never repeated.

  • Glimpse of Death

  • A Riveting Serial Killer Thriller
  • By: Leslie Wolfe
  • Narrated by: Andrew Tell
  • Length: 10 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 100
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 84
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 85

When the body of a young woman is found in her own backyard, a week after her disappearance, evidence leads investigators to a chilling conclusion. She is not the first victim of a serial killer no one knew existed. She most definitely is not the last. FBI Special Agent Tess Winnett joins the local detectives assigned to the case and searches for answers in the intriguing investigation that offers a plethora of forensic evidence, yet no viable leads. When another body is found, the search intensifies, and details about the killer's unusual signature emerge.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My New Favorite author

  • By Booklover on 07-11-17

Leslie Wolfe does it again!

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

Reviewed: 08-15-17

Any additional comments?

It's obvious to me that Leslie Wolfe loves to research for her novels, as she puts so many interesting snippets in her books; I feel as if I learn something with each of her books that I read. This book is gripping and intense, and I wanted to speed through it to the end to see if I was right about who the unsub was. I had an inkling, and she hits it out of the park again with this book. There are 2 reasons why this book is a 4 star read instead of a 5 star read, and neither should keep anyone from picking up a copy. First, sometimes the explanations get a bit tedious; if you've seen an episode of Criminal Minds, CSI, or read any police procedural, you don't need things dumbed down or explained in explicit detail. There has to be a fine line between talking above your reader's heads and dumbing things down too much (or explaining too much, if that's a real thing?), but in a few cases in this book, it comes across as the latter. The second criticism I have for this book, is that the ending, or the big reveal is a bit too short for my taste. It's quite a bit better than Dawn Girl, but I still like a bit more bulk to my reveal and climax after all that buildup than just a couple minute's worth; it almost seems like a letdown or a gimme. Otherwise, there isn't much to criticize, and I think that Leslie is a great up-and-coming voice in crime fiction; I've thoroughly enjoyed reading her last couple novels. They're creepy, suspenseful, and highly entertaining, while still being realistic and well-thought out.

I was gifted an audiobook copy in exchange for an honest review, so I can't comment on any spelling/grammar issues in the book. The narrator, Andrew Tell is a professional narrator, but I think he could do a bit better in differentiating between characters in dialogue, as there are a few times where it got a bit confusing as to whom was speaking. Otherwise, this was a high quality, professional recording, and I didn't hear any production/quality issues. This was an enjoyable listen and I couldn't wait to listen more; I wasn't just listening on my daily drives as usual, I was listening while cooking, cleaning, and walking my dogs! Thanks to the author, Leslie Wolfe, for the Audible code in exchange for this review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Cicada Spring

  • A Novel
  • By: Christian Galacar
  • Narrated by: Kevin Clay
  • Length: 11 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 57
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 55
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 55

On a warm May evening in the spring of 1979, the people of Heartsridge, Massachusetts, are living the American dream. Families are gathered for barbecues. Kids are playing in front yards. Gardens are being kept. Meanwhile, Kara Price stumbles home through the woods, raped and beaten, her life shattered by a wicked act of violence, perpetrated by one of the town's most beloved and public figures.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Cicada Spring

  • By MANI on 05-24-16

Narrative of Rape Culture

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

Reviewed: 08-15-17

If you could sum up Cicada Spring in three words, what would they be?

murder, rape, cicada

What did you like best about this story?

The author does a great job of bringing levity to some very dark and serious subjects. This is the perfect summer read without it being too dark. I thought that there is great commentary on the ugliness of rape culture in America, but it is very subtle and not at all preachy.

Which scene was your favorite?

The ending!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely; you had to tear me away from listening to it. I listened to it every chance I had.

Any additional comments?

First, this book really surprised me; it has so much depth. Cicada Spring is a beautiful narrative portraying the ugliness that is rape culture in America. This is not your standard mystery/thriller, and I think the genre-bending qualities really add to this novel. I listened to the audiobook, and there were times that I forgot that I was listening to such dark subject matter, as it was brought with such levity and beauty (if that's at all possible). I was stunned to find out that this was a debut novel, as there aren't that many books out there that just blow my mind from the very beginning. I had been complaining about many books having endings or climaxes that were just too short and weren't suspenseful enough, and then I read Cicada Spring, and this book did not disappoint. There was enough meat there to keep me on my toes. I truly enjoyed the experience of this tale.

I listened to the Audible version of this book, and Kevin Clay did a great job narrating. The recording was very high quality and he did a good job of discerning between characters in dialogue; I was never confused with who was talking at what point. Because I listened to this book, I cannot comment on grammar/editing, although it seemed to read smoothly and eloquently.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for something a bit deeper than your typical whodunit mystery.

  • Hide and Seek

  • The September Day Series, Book 2
  • By: Amy Shojai
  • Narrated by: Amy Shojai
  • Length: 11 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 6

Eight years ago, animal behaviorist September Day escaped a sadistic captor who left her ashamed, terrified, and struggling with PTSD. She trusts no one - except her cat Macy and service dog Shadow. Shadow also struggles with trust. A German Shepherd autism service dog who rescued his child partner, only to lose his boy forever, Shadow's crippling fear of abandonment shakes his faith in humans. They are each other's' only chance to survive the stalker's vicious payback, but have only 24 hours to uncover the truth.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • HIDE AND SEEK: The September Day Series, Book 2

  • By Mary Haskew McCauley on 11-13-16

September & Shadow are back!

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

Reviewed: 06-26-17

What did you like best about this story?

I like that it dug deeper into September's background and told us the whole story of the stalker. I was disappointed that the first book hinted at, but didn't go into details, and was very glad that we got the whole story here!

What aspect of Amy Shojai’s performance would you have changed?

Amy does a fantastic job of differentiating between characters in dialogue and narration. I think she could have used higher quality recording equipment because it sounds just a bit tinny. After listening to it for a couple minutes, your ears adjust and it sounds normal, until you go to another audiobook, then you realize that the quality was 3/5 stars.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I loved the budding romance with September and her cop friend, and how far he goes to save her. I wish there were men out there like that in the real world!

Any additional comments?

3.5 stars. I received an audiobook copy from the author in exchange for an honest review; this in no way affects my opinions, although I am grateful to the author, Amy Shojai for the opportunity to listen and review her work.

Hide and Seek is the second book in the September Day series and starts off a few weeks after Lost and Found leaves off. While Lost and Found does not end with a cliffhanger, I think that reading it first will greatly enhance your understanding of this second book in the series. This book starts off a lot slower and I found it a bit difficult to see where all the pieces fit into place. There were so many different subplots going in so many different directions, that at times, I felt a bit discombobulated or disoriented. It kept skipping around and it wasn't until about 65-70% of the way through the book until the picture starts to emerge. Lots of little clues are dropped along the way that you must be aware of as they are important later on. I don't say any of this as a negative per se, I say it as it was quite the departure from the first book. This book was like different balls rolling in slowly from different directions, but once they come together and get going, it's like an avalanche or an unstoppable train. I love the alternating points of view between September and Shadow (the dog). You would think a dog's POV would be cheesy or childish, but no, Amy Shojai knows so much about animals and their behavior that this adds to the experience of the story and makes fiction an educational experience. I am definitely looking forward to listening to or reading the next book in the series as they are creative, fun, suspenseful, and exciting. These are not cozy mysteries and are not for the faint of heart!

I listened to the audio version, so I cannot comment on any spelling/grammar/formatting issues. The audio is narrated by the author, Amy, herself. You can tell this is not a professional recording, and thus should be priced accordingly. It is a bit tinny and there are a few faint crackles. This did not detract from my listening experience though, as I was used to it after the first few minutes and I am not all that picky. Her performance is great and she does a great job of differentiating between all the many characters in dialogue and narrator. It would be great as a Whispersync add-on for only a couple bucks. I enjoyed listening to this book while driving and my horse especially liked listening to Amy's voice as I was with him!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Watson Girl

  • By: Leslie Wolfe
  • Narrated by: Andrew Tell
  • Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 158
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 144
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 142

An entire family is murdered and, by a quirk, a young girl is left unharmed. For 15 years, she believed the killer had been caught, and he's now on death row, awaiting execution. While trying to be content with her adoptive family, she's living in relentless uncertainty and the fear of remembering what really happened that night when she was five years old. She's The Watson Girl.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Watson Girl

  • By Amazon Customer on 11-06-17

Will give you nightmares!

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

Reviewed: 06-24-17

What made the experience of listening to The Watson Girl the most enjoyable?

It was creepy; it was like a movie, but better because I can make up the scenes in my own head! This is a book that will stay with you long after you've read/listened to it.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I loved Special Agent Tess Winnet. She is a fighter and a survivor. She doesn't take crap from anybody, she knows her job, yet she has this tenderness and compassion underneath it all. This helps her hunt down the evil serial killer; she is looking to protect Laura Watson and get justice for her family. She is such a strong woman, and I just admire her resiliency.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Serial killer doggedly hunted by traumatized FBI special agent.

Any additional comments?

I have been gifted an Audible copy in exchange for an honest review; this in no way affects my opinions. I am grateful to the author, Leslie Wolfe, for the opportunity to listen and review her work.

The Watson Girl is truly a 5-star read by Leslie Wolfe. She really knows her stuff and I believe that this book should be made into a movie! It is like reading a cross between a Criminal Minds episode and maybe Jane Rizzoli from Rizzoli and Isles. But even then, those examples of shows don't do Tess Winnet and team justice. The characters were well established, but I feel like they could have been a bit more fleshed out (maybe I'm just missing other books in the series where I get to know them more?) because I do want to get to know more about Tess.

Leslie Wolfe does a great job of switching between the killer's POV (without giving away who it is until Agent Winnet figures it out), Laura Watson, and Tess Winnet. I really enjoyed getting into the killer's mind and hearing his sick motivations. Ms. Wolfe does a great job of explaining all the terminology without dumbing it down for the more avid reader, while still being simple enough for someone who's never heard the vocabulary. I appreciated that there was a good blend of solid police procedural, forensics, and psychology. This novel was very well done with a lot of suspense. I was able to detect who the unsub was about halfway through, but I'm sure it will be a surprise to most people. There was one tiny little detail that gave it away pretty early on. I did feel like the ending could have been drawn out a bit more to add to the suspense; it was a bit rushed. Tess figures out who the unsub is, and then there is a rush to the ending; I prefer there to be just a bit more drawn-out climax at the end to increase suspense and excitement. I still highly recommend this book if you can stomach the dark content that is serial killers, as there is very violent content and language.

I listened to the audiobook, so I cannot comment on any spelling/grammar issues in the book. The narrator, Andrew Tell does a very professional job and does great at differentiating voices within dialogue, so you are never confused as to whom is speaking. This was a very high quality recording with no sound production or quality issues. I definitely recommend the listening experience, as it enhanced the story for me and made me feel like I was living in the story; I think it made it even creepier!

  • Jump Cut

  • The Ellie Foreman Mysteries, Book 5
  • By: Libby Fischer Hellmann
  • Narrated by: Nan McNamara
  • Length: 8 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32

Hired to produce a candy-floss profile of Chicago-based aviation giant Delcroft, Ellie is dismayed when company VP Charlotte Hollander trashes the production and cancels the project. Ellie believes Hollander was spooked by shots of a specific man in the video footage. But when Ellie arranges to meet the man to find out why, he is killed by a subway train before they can talk. In the confusion, she finds a seemingly abandoned pack of cigarettes with a flash drive inside that belonged to the now-dead man.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Heart Jumping Book

  • By Ahmapal72 on 05-17-18

Jump Cut is a fun conspiracy thriller/mystery

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

Reviewed: 06-05-17

Any additional comments?

This book starts out a bit slow, but that's because there is so much buildup that must happen in order for the reader to understand the many intricacies of the plot. It's like an avalanche that starts as a snowball slowly rolling down a hill and then gets bigger and bigger until it comes crashing towards you. There is A LOT going on in this book, and yet Libby Fischer Hellman does a great job of keeping the reader on top of it all and never confusing or overwhelming her audience. There is a lot of information coming, yet it is organized and put forth in a way that is clear and exciting to read. Even though the beginning is a bit slow, it is important to pay attention to the details so that you understand the why's of it all in the end. There are a few unanswered questions in the end, but it is almost okay that way, as Ellie says that she will never know the answers either (so neither will the reader). I do think that there were a few parts that were a bit drawn out and then a few that were a bit rushed, and those that were rushed could have been drawn out a bit more so as to be a bit more climatic. Overall, this is a very exciting thriller/mystery. I think that Libby Fischer Hellman does a good job of bringing emotion into the high stress situations and that brings another element that many thriller writers are missing nowadays.

I listened to the audiobook, so I cannot comment on any spelling/grammatical/formatting issues in the book. I can say that the audiobook is a high quality production and has a good narrator. The narrator, Nan McNamara, does a good job as the narrator, but she doesn't do as good of a job as some others in distinguishing between characters in dialogue, so it can get a bit confusing if there isn't "Luke said" or "Ellie Said". So I think she could have been stronger in her differentiation of characters voices in dialogue. There were times where I thought Luke was talking and it seemed like she was using Ellie's voice. It's important for narrators to use different tones so that we can tell the characters apart since we can't see the line breaks when listening.

The author sent me an audio copy in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion in any way, although I am very grateful to her for the opportunity to listen and review her work.

  • War, Spies & Bobby Sox

  • By: Libby Fischer Hellmann
  • Narrated by: Diane Piron-Gelman, Derek Shetterly
  • Length: 6 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 7

As World War II rages across Europe and the Pacific, its impact ripples through communities in the heartland of America. A farm girl is locked in a dangerous love triangle with two Germans soldiers held in an Illinois POW camp. Another German, a war refugee, is forced to risk her life spying on the developing Manhattan Project in Chicago. And espionage surrounds the disappearance of an actress from the thriving Jewish community of Chicago's Lawndale.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A glimpse of trying times during WWII in America

  • By Betsy on 10-09-17

Great historical thriller!

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

Reviewed: 06-05-17

What was one of the most memorable moments of War, Spies & Bobby Sox?

The emotion of Lena in the first novella, The Incidental Spy, is moving. This is not simply an action packed book, there is lots of emotion and tensions run high. It is written with such grace that you can feel the mother's pain and hopelessness to end up spying for her sworn enemies.

What does Diane Piron-Gelman and Derek Shetterly bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

They do a great job of distinguishing characters in dialogue and bringing emotion into the voices. I loved the German accents that I got from listening that I wouldn't have heard in my own head.

Any additional comments?

I don't normally read historical fiction, but I love Libby Fischer Hellman and she genre-bends like no other author I've ever read. War, Spies, and Bobby Sox is a collection of 2 novellas and a short story that are definitely historical thrillers. There is romance, espionage, mystery, murder, and war in each of these stories that keep the reader turning pages. We opened with The Incidental Spy, and I give this story 5 stars. This novella is fast paced and gut-wrenching; Ms. Hellman was able to put me in Lena's situation and give me compassion and empathy for her situation and her child. The second story, POW, seems like a lighthearted love triangle in the beginning, but has sinister undertones throughout, and comes to a dramatic ending. This novella also gets 5 stars from me! Then, we get the short story, The Day Miriam Hirsch Disappeared, which is a very fast story, so fast in fact that it seems clipped. I am not usually a fan of short stories, and this one could have definitely been fleshed out a bit more.

Overall, War, Lies, and Bobby Sox is a fantastic historical thriller that is made up of two absolutely fantastic novellas that will stay with you long after you have finished them. I was sucked in from the very beginning and couldn't stop listening. I did listen to the audiobook, so I cannot comment on any grammatical/spelling/formatting issues. The narrator, Diane Piron-Gelman did a fabulous job of differentiating between the characters during the dialogue and even the different German men. This was a high quality audiobook that is definitely worth your money.

The author, Libby Fischer Hellman gave me an audio copy of this book in exchange for an honest review; this in no way affects my opinions, although I am very grateful to her for the chance to listen to her book.

  • Lost and Found

  • By: Amy Shojai
  • Narrated by: Amy Shojai
  • Length: 12 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 55
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 50
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 50

Animal behaviorist September Day has lost everything - husband murdered, career in ruins, confidence shot - and returns home with her trained Maine Coon cat, Macy, to Texas to recover. She's forced out of hibernation when her nephew Steven and his autism service dog Shadow disappear in a freak blizzard. When her sister trusts a maverick researcher's promise to help Steven, September has 24 hours to rescue them from a devastating medical experiment impacting millions of children, a deadly secret others will kill to protect....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The value of life!

  • By Angela on 04-28-15

You don't want to miss this book!

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

Reviewed: 06-04-17

If you could sum up Lost and Found in three words, what would they be?

Tense, Edgy, Intense.

Any additional comments?

To be perfectly honest, when I first read the plot summary for this book, I thought it was going to be a light/cozy mystery. I had no idea what I was in store for. This book is intense. There is a lot going on between the missing autistic boy, the sister (April) getting mixed up with the miracle cure people, September's past, dog training and tracking, and characters being shot and killed. There are SO many people who are killed, that sometimes you have to stop and think back "now who was that and how did they fit in?" and sometimes a character is brought back in and you have to think the same; nothing in this book is done on accident, Amy Shojai is extremely clever. For as many sub-plots as there are, I was never confused or overwhelmed. This is a very fast paced book, and there are a lot of very important small details that keep the reader paying close attention. It would almost be worthwhile to go back and re-read to see all the red herrings and easter eggs that I missed. I did see the final twist at the end, as she had built it up nicely with the descriptors, but again, you just have to pay close attention! It could be easy to see the different scenes in this book and ask how they might have anything to do with the storyline, but then right about as you're forgetting ti happened, BAM! Amy slaps you in the face with the reason why she put in these extra anecdotes. It makes for a much more fulfilling storyline to see the effects, rather than just be told that it's happening. I know I'm being vague, but I don't want to give away any spoilers.
I would've given this book a solid 5 stars, but it drove me crazy that the author tells us that September's husband and dog died at the hands of a stalker and that's why she has some social anxiety (and likes to over-lock her doors) but we never really hear any details and it's just glossed over. I feel like if you're going to bring up the past, it's important to flesh it out in order for your readers to understand the character's motivations just a bit better instead of being hinted at and glossed over. That's just frustrating!

I received a free audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review; this in no way affects my opinions, although I am grateful for the opportunity to listen and review.

Amy Shojai both wrote and narrated this audiobook, and this is the first author-narrated book I've listened to. I think it's kind of special. The quality of this audiobook wasn't as great as some of the other's I've listened to, as there were a few pops, cracks, and some light static, and it was a bit tinny. It didn't distract from my experience at all, and I really only noticed it in the first couple minutes, and then I got used to it. She does a great job of differentiating voices in dialogue so that the listener isn't confused about who's currently doing the talking. I really enjoyed listening to this book, and I couldn't get enough. I listened to this book in just a few sittings because it was so intense and I just couldn't put it down!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful