Monday, April 21, 2014

The Daring Ladies of Lowell: A Novel by Kate Alcott, narrated by, Cassandra Campbell


This book is available in hardcover in-house, and Ebook & Audiobook from Library2Go

The Daring Ladies of Lowell: A Novel by Kate Alcott, narrated by, Cassandra Campbell

Synopsis from Goodreads: Determined to forge her own destiny, Alice Barrow joins the legions of spirited young women better known as the Mill Girls. From dawn until dusk, these ladies work the looms, but the thrill of independence, change in their pockets, and friendships formed along the way mostly make the backbreaking labor worthwhile. In fact, Hiram Fiske, the steely-eyed titan of industry, has banked on that. But the working conditions are becoming increasingly dangerous and after one too many accidents, Alice finds herself unexpectedly acting as an emissary to address the factory workers' mounting list of grievances.
After traveling to the Fiske family's Beacon Hill mansion, Alice enters a world she's never even dared to dream about: exquisite silk gowns, sumptuous dinners, grand sitting parlors, and uniformed maids operating with an invisible efficiency. Of course, there's also a chilliness in the air as Alice presents her case. But with her wide, intelligent eyes and rosy-hued cheeks, Alice manages to capture the attention of Hiram's eldest son, the handsome and reserved Samuel Fiske.
Their chemistry is undeniable, soon progressing from mutual respect and shy flirtation into an unforgettable romance. But when Alice's best friend, Lovey, is found strangled in a field, Alice and Samuel are torn between loyalty to "their kind" and a chance for true love.

This review is for the audiobook:

This was such a great book, it’s not only the story of the ladies that worked at the Lowell Mills but also a murder mystery, fabulously written by the author and fantastically narrated by Cassandra Campbell.

This was a fascinating look at the working conditions of the cotton mills of Lowell, how sick these girls got because the windows were closed and their lungs would fill up with so much cotton they would cough up balls of cotton. How awful is that? Also the machinery isn’t in the greatest condition and accidents happen more often than they should.  All of the ladies are well written and each has their own voice. Alice is the main character, but the other ladies are great too and poor Lovey, she had so much going for her but her murder and the trial that followed brought about small changes in the mill that were good for the workers, not as much change as they should have had but as one worker said it’s uphill from where we were before. Of course, the owners of the mill are pretty much bad guys not wanting to change anything that would affect their bottom line and Hiram Fisk is a huge jerk. He has two sons one that truly wants to help the ladies and one that is just pretty much a waste. (Can you guess which one is involved in the love story?) There is a chaste love story that doesn’t overwhelm the book and actually had me hoping things would work out for the two of them.

Cassandra Campbell’s narration of this one is just superb; it may be my favorite of all Cassandra’s narrations to date. Everyone had a clear voice and you always knew who was talking, her narration of Hiram was perfection!  All of her characters and accents were so perfect I absolutely loved this narration, and I have been a fan of Cassandra’s for awhile now but I think this is my favorite and I was very surprised it didn’t win an earphones award and won’t be surprised to see it as audie nominee for best female narration next year!

This book was a great story and I will read anything Kate Alcott writes I really enjoyed her book The Dressmaker too! If you like historical fictions with a good story give this one a try.


5 Stars

I found this fascinating video on youtube about the Lowell Mill Girls


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Missing You by, Harlan Coben

Missing You by, Harlan Coben
Synopsis from GoodreadsIt's a profile, like all the others on the online dating site. But as NYPD Detective Kat Donovan focuses on the accompanying picture, she feels her whole world explode, as emotions she’s ignored for decades come crashing down on her. Staring back at her is her ex-fiancĂ© Jeff, the man who shattered her heart—and who she hasn’t seen in 18 years.

Kat feels a spark, wondering if this might be the moment when past tragedies recede and a new world opens up to her.  But when she reaches out to the man in the profile, her reawakened hope quickly darkens into suspicion and then terror as an unspeakable conspiracy comes to light, in which monsters prey upon the most vulnerable.

As the body count mounts and Kat's hope for a second chance with Jeff grows more and more elusive, she is consumed by an investigation that challenges her feelings about everyone she ever loved—her former fiancĂ©, her mother, and even her father, whose cruel murder so long ago has never been fully explained. With lives on the line, including her own, Kat must venture deeper into the darkness than she ever has before, and discover if she has the strength to survive what she finds there.



My Review:

Harlan Coben has written another non-stop thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seat, and make you never want to stop reading!  This book grabbed me immediately and never let go till the very end. I really like the character of Kat and would read more books with her in them.

What would you do if you found your ex (the one who got away) on a dating site (well you find his picture but the name isn’t the same) and when you message him he at first doesn’t seem to remember you. As if that isn’t bad enough some kid (Brandon) shows up at your door saying that same man went away with his mother and he thinks she is in trouble. Throw in a mystery about who really killed Kat’s father and away we go on this rollercoaster ride of a story. Be ready for twists and turns and red herrings, which will keep you guessing all the way to the end.


I love Harlan Coben’s books he always writes a good solid story with a mystery that keeps you on your toes, there was one part of the story I had figured out but my theory was not what Coben ended up writing so I still wasn’t 100% right and I love that in a mystery. I liked the fact that there weren’t any cardboard cutout characters in this book each character had their own identity and back story, which made me care about them even the ones that didn’t last long. 

If you can’t already tell I loved this book, so the only thing I can say to you is, what are you waiting for get to reading!

5 Stars

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Firebird by, Susanna Kearsley



The Firebird by, Susanna Kearsley
Available in house and as an ebook on Library2Go

Synopisis from GoodreadsNicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes glimpses those who have owned it before. When a woman arrives with a small wooden carving at the gallery Nicola works at, she can see the object’s history and knows that it was named after the Firebird—the mythical creature from an old Russian fable.

Compelled to know more, Nicola follows a young girl named Anna into the past who leads her on a quest through the glittering backdrops of the Jacobites and Russian courts, unearthing a tale of love, courage, and redemption.

My Review:

Susanna Kearsley has a unique talent of bringing together so many genres seamlessly into one book, this book has historical fiction, magical realism and romance with none being overwhelming. We travel from the present day to Jacobite Scotland and Catherine’s Russia in psychic flashbacks. Nicola has unique ability, she can touch an object and see its history and when a woman brings in a wooden firebird she sees a girl named Anna when she touches it and must figure out who she is and where the firebird comes from, which leads her from Scotland to St. Petersburg, but she isn’t traveling alone she asks friend and ex-flame Rob to accompany her because his gift is even stronger than hers, his is more seeing spirits of the past and he sees the future too. But is Rob only doing it out of kindness and friendship or does he want more than that.

We “meet” Anna at Slains castle in Scotland where she finds out things about herself and her past that send her off to find her real family, this path takes her to France and Russia. I don’t want to give too much of this story away because the way it builds to the climax of Anna’s story is written so beautifully that I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. But she meets some amazing people and she doesn’t go through any real hard times because it seems like there is always someone there to look out for her, but I liked her spunk and her spirit.

I truly enjoyed this book and have found a new swoon worthy crush in Rob, I enjoyed he and Nicola’s relationship as it grew into something more (and if you follow my reviews you know I’m not one for too much romance). I think my favorite scene was when he drives her to the airport. (Yes that is all I am going to say you’ll have to read the book to see what I am talking about) ;)

I will read anything his author writes she has such a beautiful way of phrasing and such a talent at mixing the genre’s and time periods.

4 ½ Stars

Monday, March 10, 2014

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein


I Highly recommend this book for Young Adults and Adults Alike!

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Synopsis from Goodreads: Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.

When "Verity" is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn't stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she's living a spy's worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called "a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel" in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.

My Review:

Wow wow wow…a book that completely lived up to its hype! What an interesting story, something so different than anything else I’ve ever read about WWII. I never knew there was even a Women’s’ RAF auxiliary and being a work of fiction did not make this story any less fascinating. What Maddy (Kitty Hawk) & Julie (Verity) did for the war effort was pretty amazing considering the time.(or at anytime really)

I felt like I was listening to an unreliable narrator because you just couldn’t believe that she was giving so much away and well **No Spoilers** when you get to the end and understand more it makes you want to go back to the beginning with that knowledge of truth start over again but I bet even if you did there are still parts that will make you cry! I just can’t say much more because you need to become enrapt with these characters and I don’t want to spoil that for anyone!

There are parts of this that are funny, ironic and desperately sad but written in such a way it blends so perfectly as if listening to a real person tell a story, I was very impressed with Wein’s writing chops! I know I fell in love with these characters through the telling and these are characters that will stay with me a very long time!


So I guess I am simply saying READ THIS BOOK!

5 stars


Yes there are a lot of exclamation points in this review it deserved all of them!!! ;)

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon narrated by, Cassandra Campbell & Kathe Mazur

This is a review of the audiobook available from Library2Go it is also available in Ebook and is available in house .

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon narrated by, Cassandra Campbell & Kathe Mazur

Synopsis from Goodreads:  West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara's farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea's diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother's bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara's fate, she discovers that she's not the only person who's desperately looking for someone that they've lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.

My review:
This book had me on the edge of my seat the entire time and I don’t think I took a breath for the last hour or so. I did not want to put this book down, I needed to know what exactly was going on with everyone in the book!

This is a great story, atmospheric, haunting, and addictive. I loved how all the stories came together and all the timelines were very well written and flowed beautifully with each other. The past & present stories were both great. I also really liked the characters especially Sara because I think she went through the most emotionally.

This is a hard book to review because the way the story wraps around it would be so easy to spoil it for someone and I wouldn’t want anyone to not get the full effect of how this story plays out. So much of the story leaves you guessing and wondering what is real and what is not and I enjoyed the parts of Sara’s diary that gives so many clues as to what is really going on but also leaves much unsaid or lost. The craziness of the first big reveal caught me totally off-guard it wasn’t something I expected at all and that makes for a great book!

Cassandra Campbell & Kathe Mazur were the narrators and I thought they did a wonderful job even if their voices are very similar you still knew who was telling the story. I thought they were able to bring a softness to the tale when warranted and creeped me out just enough!(which is a good thing)

This is so much more than a ghost story it is also a story  of family and what that means and how you treat people may come back to haunt you (heehee see what I did there?).  But the ending OMG the ending in reference to Katherine did she?? Didn’t she??? And poor Ruthie I feel bad for her. Sorry, but just had to have my say on that and make it spoiler free, when you read the book you will understand and Yes you really do need to read this book!

Lesson #1 from this book let the dead stay dead!


5 stars

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune By, Bill Dedman & Paul Clark Newell Jr. narrated by, Kimberly Farr


The audiobook and Ebook are available from Library2Go and the hardcover is available here at the library.

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune By, Bill Dedman & Paul Clark Newell Jr. narrated by, Kimberly Farr

Abbreviated synopsis from Goodreads:When Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist Bill Dedman noticed in 2009 a grand home for sale, unoccupied for nearly sixty years, he stumbled through a surprising portal into American history. Empty Mansions is a rich mystery of wealth and loss, connecting the Gilded Age opulence of the nineteenth century with a twenty-first-century battle over a $300 million inheritance. At its heart is a reclusive heiress named Huguette Clark, a woman so secretive that, at the time of her death at age 104, no new photograph of her had been seen in decades. Though she owned palatial homes in California, New York, and Connecticut, why had she lived for twenty years in a simple hospital room, despite being in excellent health? Why were her valuables being sold off? Was she in control of her fortune, or controlled by those managing her money?
 
Dedman has collaborated with Huguette Clark’s cousin, Paul Clark Newell, Jr., one of the few relatives to have frequent conversations with her. Dedman and Newell tell a fairy tale in reverse: the bright, talented daughter, born into a family of extreme wealth and privilege, who secrets herself away from the outside world.

 My Review:
It was very cool having actual interviews/phone calls with Huguette on the audiobook, this makes the audio version very unique but you still want to have the hardcover so you can see all the pictures of these amazing houses completely furnished but empty, so I feel like the audio version should come with a PDF of all the amazing pictures in the book because the two together are amazing.

I thought it was interesting how W.A. Clark (Huguette’s father) is not as well known as others of his time such as the Rockefellers but he was a huge Copper King in Montana and made scads of money, I also found his Montana senatorial race quite interesting too. There is a lot of background on Clark himself almost more than about Huguette but still a fascinating story.

Huguette was a fascinating woman and from the sounds of it generous to a fault, I think maybe some people did take advantage of her but I think others were truly surprised by her generosity. One thing that was never really fully explained was why she kept all these houses in pristine condition but never lived in them, it is almost like they are shrines to her family but she didn’t want to live there. I found it amazing that this woman who owned these mansions, palaces really, but she spent the last 20 years of her life living in a hospital room (no she was not sick) instead of these amazing homes boggles the mind and does make it seem like she may not have been right in the head but when you hear the phone calls with her cousin Paul she sounds pretty with it to me. She also seemed like a very caring person and once she befriended you, you were a friend for life and so were your children she would help out when needed. I felt like Huguette was just a sweetheart, in the phone calls with Paul she asks about family members and remembers so many things when Paul asks about them and seems genuinely happy to talk to him even though the end of the calls are very abrupt but I felt like she couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to take up their day talking to her not that she was being rude in the least but that people have more important things than to talk to her all day, which I feels says a lot about who she was as a person.

Narrated Kimberly Farr did a very good job at the narration and I would listen to her again.

This book is well written and I felt it was interesting all the way through, I highly recommend this book and its fascinating history.


4 Stars

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Fear Nothing (Detective D.D. Warren #7) by, Lisa Gardner



Fear Nothing (Detective D.D. Warren #7) by, Lisa Gardner

Synopsis from Goodreads: My name is Dr. Adeline Glen. Due to a genetic condition, I can’t feel pain. I never have. I never will.
The last thing Boston Detective D.D. Warren remembers is walking the crime scene after dark. Then, a creaking floorboard, a low voice crooning in her ear… She is later told she managed to discharge her weapon three times. All she knows is that she is seriously injured, unable to move her left arm, unable to return to work.
My sister is Shana Day, a notorious murderer who first killed at fourteen. Incarcerated for thirty years, she has now murdered more people while in prison than she did as a free woman.
Six weeks later, a second woman is discovered murdered in her own bed, her room containing the same calling cards from the first: a bottle of champagne and a single red rose. The only person who may have seen the killer: Detective D.D. Warren, who still can’t lift her child, load her gun, or recall a single detail from the night that may have cost her everything.
Our father was Harry Day, an infamous serial killer who buried young women beneath the floor of our home. He has been dead for forty years. Except the Rose Killer knows things about my father he shouldn’t. My sister claims she can help catch him. I think just because I can’t feel pain, doesn’t mean my family can’t hurt me.
D.D. may not be back on the job, but she is back on the hunt. Because the Rose Killer isn’t just targeting lone women; he is targeting D.D. And D.D. knows there is only one way to take him down:
Fear nothing.

My Review:
This book definitely had the creep factor that Lisa Gardner writes so well and it is now the second creepiest after Say Goodbye.

I love that DD has grown so much as a person I've always loved the writing of this series but DD has always annoyed me but the last couple books , well, since she got pregnant there has been a humanizing of her and I am glad for that. This one gave us a raw, injured DD and we saw a softer more vulnerable side to her which I enjoyed immensely.

This story kept me guessing and had some great red herrings including one I made up in head about the Warden that never did come to pass but I still think Gardner wanted me to suspect what I did. (*no spoilers*)

She also explores nature vs. nurture if everyone in your family is a psychopath, even though you didn’t grow up with them will it make you one too? When your father was a serial killer who kidnapped and tortured young women then buried them under your house, then your sister murders a child when she is just a child plus has killed a couple guards so is in prison with no hope of parole, but you were a baby these things shouldn’t have to be you should they? Adeline was the lucky one adopted by a doctor who really did help her so much and kept her from her past but when he dies… Adeline ends up making decisions that will change everything.

I was also fascinated by the Adeline’s condition; she doesn’t feel pain which sounds good on the surface but as Adeline shows us it’s not a gift but a curse because you have to live very, very carefully. Adeline has to check her body every night because an infection she can’t feel will kill her. I can’t imagine breaking a bone and not feeling it and just going on with your day.

Gardner also goes into the crazy murderabilia business where people buy letters and items from horrific crimes & criminals. Google it , it is more macabre than any book could ever be. I didn’t realize just how much there really was out there till I googled this to see what the correct spelling was, it is frightening and very odd!

All in all this is another great book from Gardner and I am happy to report DD is finally growing on me and I am liking her more and more. Another great read from Lisa Gardner! Highly recommend.

5 Stars