When Annalee Ahlberg goes missing, her children fear the worst. Annalee is a sleepwalker whose affliction manifests in ways both bizarre and devastating. Once, she merely destroyed the hydrangeas in front of her Vermont home. More terrifying was the night her older daughter, Lianna, pulled her back from the precipice of the Gale River bridge. The morning of Annalee’s disappearance, a search party combs the nearby woods. Annalee’s husband, Warren, flies home from a business trip. Lianna is questioned by a young, hazel-eyed detective. And her little sister, Paige, takes to swimming the Gale to look for clues. When the police discover a small swatch of fabric, a nightshirt, ripped and hanging from a tree branch, it seems certain Annalee is dead, but Gavin Rikert, the hazel-eyed detective, continues to call, continues to stop by the Ahlbergs’ Victorian home. As Lianna peels back the layers of mystery surrounding Annalee’s disappearance, she finds herself drawn to Gavin, but she must ask herself: Why does the detective know so much about her mother? Why did Annalee leave her bed only when her father was away? And if she really died while sleepwalking, where was the body?
Audiobook Review – Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan
Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan – Witch’s Child #1
Read by Erin Spencer and Will Damron
Julia has the unusual ability to be . . . unseen. Not invisible, exactly. Just beyond most people’s senses.
It’s a dangerous trait in a city that has banned all forms of magic and drowns witches in public Cleansings. But it’s a useful trait for a thief and a spy. And Julia has learned–crime pays.
She’s being paid very well indeed to infiltrate the grand house of Mrs. Och and report back on the odd characters who live there and the suspicous dealings that take place behind locked doors.
But what Julia discovers shakes her to the core. She certainly never imagined that the traitor in the house would turn out to be . . . her.
Genre: YA / Urban Fantasy / Steampunk-ish
Story Rating: **** (4 stars)
Narration Rating: *** (3 stars)
Audiobook Review – Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld, narrated by Cassandra Campbell
The Austen Project #4
A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice
This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.
Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.
Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .
And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.
Genre: Romance, Fiction
My Rating: **** (4 stars)
First of all, I have to say that I love Pride and Prejudice. It’s my favorite Jane Austen novel, and Liz Bennet my favorite Austen heroine. I was a little nervous that a modern retelling of the story, complete with modern language, would be a disappointment. The author has done a wonderful job, though, of keeping the dialog as modern as possible while giving the narration a more classic feel. The story itself provides the same type of contrast, as it is easy at times to forget that this is a modern take on Pride and Prejudice, yet at other times it feels so familiar that you know just what will come next.
Cassandra Campbell as narrator does a good job of differentiating the Bennet girls’ voices, and is pleasant to listen to. Pleasant that is except when she’s doing Mrs. Bennet’s voice, but I think that is to be expected. 🙂
While some of the situations that the girls find themselves in do seem over-the-top, I enjoyed the story, and Ms. Campbell’s performance of it.
NOTE: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Audiobook Review – The Diviners by Libba Bray
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Narrated by January LaVoy
Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.
Genre: Paranormal / Historical / Mystery / Thriller / Young Adult
My Rating: ***** (5 of 5 stars)
“There is a hideous invention called the Dewey Decimal System. And you have to look up your topic in books and newspapers. Pages upon pages upon pages…” ~ Evie O’Neill
First off, I have to say that I was ABSOLUTELY RELIEVED to find out that this is, in fact, the first book in a series – I did not want to say goodbye to these characters. I picked it up from the library on a whim, and was so glad that I did. I now have a hold placed on Lair of Dreams (book #2), and can’t wait for my turn to listen to that one too.
Evie O’Neill is a seventeen year old flapper with a gift – the gift of “reading” an object to discover its owner’s secrets. After an impromptu reading at a party gets her in trouble at home in Ohio, she is sent to live with her Uncle Will in New York. Her uncle runs a museum of the paranormal, and is called in by the police to help look into a string of unusual murders. Hoping to secure a permanent place in New York, Evie joins her Uncle Will’s team and helps investigate.
Libba Bray has done a wonderful job of transporting the reader back to 1920’s New York. I could almost see the flapper dresses and cloche hats, and hear the music and the clinking of glasses in the speakeasy clubs. The book would be worth reading for the glimpse into the past alone, but it has so much more to offer. Mystery, danger, secrets, powers, music, romance – I could go on and on!
I listened to this book, rather than reading a print edition, and I would highly recommend it. January LaVoy did an amazing job of bringing each character to life with his or her own voice and inflections. This was no small feat considering the size of the cast of characters she had to work with! I hope she will continue to read the rest of the books in this series as they are published.
If you’ve read The Diviners, I’d love to hear your thoughts!