Author: sahmoun2778

“The Lathe of Heaven” by Ursula K. Le Guin

“The Lathe of Heaven” by Ursula K. Le Guin

Narrated by George Guidall

I have always thought that I should try this author but just never picked up one of her books. Then, a couple of weeks ago, this one popped up on the Audible Daily Deal and I saw the narrator is George Guidall and I just couldn’t resist. You all know how much I enjoy George Guidall’s voice. George Orr has become a drug addict in the process of trying to avoid sleep. Why does he avoid sleep? Because when he dreams the outside world changes. He ends up in the care of Dr. Haber, a psychiatrist who claims that he can teach George how not to dream using an experimental machine he is developing. George gradually begins to think that Dr. Haber may have an ulterior motive in treating him and this leads to a disturbing series of events.

I don’t often dip into science fiction but I’m so glad I picked this one, and now I know what all the fuss is about with this author. This story is very unique and fascinating. The book was originally published in 1971 and if I had read it at a younger age I think I would have found it inconceivable, but reading it now, with all the technological advances since the 70’s, it doesn’t seem all that far-fetched. Dr. Haber was of great interest to me because of the way he starts out as being the benign “Sure, I can help you” kind of doctor from whom you don’t really expect much. He’s assigned to George, doesn’t see very many patients, and at the beginning seemed to see George as more of a bother than anything else. But then he begins to realize just what George can do and his transformation, while not unexpected, was nevertheless startling. George also goes through an amazing transformation as the story progresses. The story touches on some very intriguing topics, such as, where does a person’s value lie? What happens when an individual’s power goes unchecked? And, is there any such thing as a perfect society?

I also really enjoyed the pacing of the story. It was not rushed but moved along at a steady rate. Finally, of course, George Guidall again does an excellent job with the narration. He really knows how to present a dramatic story without forcing the drama. He doesn’t over-characterize with his voice but uses subtle changes to differentiate the characters. As you’ve probably guessed I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book and I definitely would recommend this one.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 5-star-rating  5 stars!!

Happy Listening!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

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“The Dream Daughter” by Diane Chamberlain

“The Dream Daughter” by Diane Chamberlain

How far would you go to save the life of your unborn child? One young mother is about to find out. It’s 1970 and Carly has recently lost her husband to the Vietnam War. Shortly before she had found out she’s is pregnant with their first child. A few months later, her doctor tells her that her unborn child has a heart defect that will be fatal once the child is born and there is nothing that can be done. Her physicist brother-in-law thinks he has a solution, but it’s a drastic one, and will take all of Carly’s courage to give her daughter a chance at life.

This story left me breathless and in tears at several points. The intensity of the drama surrounding the birth of Carly’s daughter is quite moving. The author has written the story in a way that really makes the reader feel like they are right there living the story with the character. And the characters are ordinary people who find themselves thrown into extraordinary circumstances. Their ability to stand strong throughout is inspiring and uplifting. In particular, I really liked how the author wrote the teenage girl to be so true to what every teenage girl I’ve ever met is like. The story line is unique and full of surprises. I think a wide variety of readers will really love this book.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

November Round-Up

So we’ve been having winter for about a month now up here. Temperatures have barely crossed above freezing in the last couple of weeks. I was find it amusing when people in states further south talk about being cold. I was watching a YouTube video today of a girl talking about the great sweatshirt she bought and how great it is now that it’s getting colder in California. Ok, I grew up in California and they ain’t never felt cold over there. We had sweatshirt weather here for about 3 days in September and then got out the heavy coats (perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but not by much).

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I’m going to talk about books. Have I actually even looked at a book during the last month? Let’s find out.

TBR – I added 6 books in November and read 5. TBR now stands at 189. To be completely honest, I also requested another 4 (or maybe 5) books from NetGalley in November but those requests have not been granted yet.

Goodreads Challenge – Failing miserably this year. I am 9 books behind schedule and have no hope of getting caught up.

NetGalley Score – This number went up by 1 to 87%. (Finally, some improvement)

John Connolly Challenge – I finished book 10. Six more to go!

Coming Up – I’ve got reviews coming of “The Dream Daughter” by Diane ChamberlainThe Dream Daughter and “The Cutting Edge” by Jeffrey Deaver. The Cutting EdgeI’ve just gotten started reading the British Crime Classic “The Belting Inheritance” by Julian Symons.The Belting Inheritance I will be listening to “The Lathe of Heaven” by Ursula K. LeGuin.The Lathe of Heaven That’s as much planning as my overworked brain can handle for today so you’ll just have to stay tuned and see what shows up here.

I hope everybody has a great holiday season and I will check in again as we roll over into 2019.

Happy Reading!

“The Burning Soul” by John Connolly

“The Burning Soul” by John Connolly

Narrated by George Guidall & Tony Ward

Book 10 The Charlie Parker series

A young girl has gone missing in Pastor’s Bay, Maine. When a lawyer friend of Charlie’s asks him to agree to a job without knowing what it is, his guard is up. The client is Randall Haight and he has a secret, a big secret. Randall lives not too far from the missing girl and he quickly becomes the prime suspect. At the same time, he’s receiving threatening mail from an anonymous source. Charlie sets out to find the person who is sending the mail, but he also thinks there is some kind of a link between Randall and the missing girl, though he doesn’t think Randall is involved in her abduction. Along the way, he comes into conflict with law enforcement and finds it necessary to call in all his resources to protect his client.

Two of my favorite people working together again, lucky me! You all know how much I love the Charlie Parker series and George Guidall is hands down my favorite narrator right now. I really enjoyed this story. I really felt for Charlie when his lawyer friend kind of tricked him into working for Randall Haight and I appreciate how John Connolly makes him such a true-to-life character. The usual associates are in this story but the plot really focuses on Charlie and Randall. I was also taken completely by surprise, in a good way, by the ending. I really didn’t see it coming but I liked the way the story wrapped up. Finally, I was pleasantly surprised that one of the main characters was from North Dakota and parts of the story took place there. Thank you John Connolly for noticing us way up here in the Northern Plains. Another great installment in a series of winners!

Alinefromabook’s rating: 5-star-rating  5 stars!!

Happy Listening!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“Then She Was Gone” by Lisa Jewell

“Then She Was Gone” by Lisa Jewell

Narrated by Helen Duff

Ellie was beautiful, smart and had the whole world in front of her. Then she disappeared. The police had nothing to go on and the uncertainty tore her family apart. Her father has remarried and seems to be moving on, as have her brother and sister. But Mom is stuck. Ten years later and Laurel is still obsessed by the loss of her daughter and refuses to give up hope. Then she meets Floyd and suddenly she feels alive again. Soon she also meets his daughters and Poppy, his youngest, takes her breath away because of the ways she reminds her of Ellie. As their relationship develops, so does the mystery surrounding Poppy.

This was a fascinating story to listen to. I think Helen Duff did an excellent job of voicing the characters and letting the story create the drama. The author created some very unique characters in this book and developed them in a way that feels natural. When we first meet Laurel she comes off as rather pathetic for the way she is still drowning in her grief. But when she starts to participate in life again we see a totally different side to her. This story incorporates flashbacks to Ellie as a teenager and I found the contrast of how Laurel related to Ellie with how she relates to Poppy made her a very complex character. Floyd is handsome and charming and is devoted to Poppy. There something mysterious about him though that made me a little nervous for Laurel during most of the book. The plot here is unique and took me by surprise at the end. This book is a great choice for a mystery lover or someone who likes family drama. I highly recommend!

Alinefromabook’s rating: 5-star-rating  5 stars!!

Happy Listening!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads

“Crux” by Jean Guerrero

“Crux” by Jean Guerrero

Goodreads blurb: A daughter’s quest to find, understand, and save her charismatic, troubled, and elusive father, a self-mythologizing Mexican immigrant who travels across continents–and across the borders between imagination and reality; and spirituality and insanity–fleeing real and invented persecutors.

If you are expecting the type of memoir that is a simple recollection of life events, you’re in for a surprise with this one. This story is intense, dramatic, and at times reads like a thriller. Ms. Guerrero’s telling of her search for understanding of her past is un-put-downable. This book is really two stories in one, as the author tells us about her own life as well as her father’s. The intensity of their relationship and experiences is almost overwhelming at times. In addition to the life stories, there is also a good deal of 20th century Mexico history included. I found this quite enlightening, as I quickly realized I know next to nothing about Mexico and its history. I also have never been there but the author did a great job of describing the locations where the story took place. This memoir reads better than much of the fiction out there and I highly recommend you check it out.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 5-star-rating  5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“The Butterfly Garden” by Dot Hutchinson

“The Butterfly Garden” by Dot Hutchinson

Narrated by Lauren Ezzo and Mel Foster

Goodreads blurb: Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding.…

My thoughts: I was expecting this book to be really creepy and scary. But it turns out there’s a real story here and that story is very psychological. The Gardener almost has two personalities. At times he is very kind and considerate of the girls and yet he is holding them captive for his own pleasure. He is up in arms when he finds out one of his sons is abusing the girls but granting them their freedom doesn’t even occur to him. The story is told alternately by the girl Maya and by the FBI agents. I found Maya to be a very intriguing character. Her relationships with the girls and the Gardener are very complex. The twists and turns make the story very compelling. I think the choice to use two narrators was good one for this story and I enjoyed listening to both of them. Overall, I think this story is unique and very well written and narrated. I really enjoyed this one.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 4-5-star-rating  4.5 stars!!

Happy Reading and Listening!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“Stranglers” – the Podcast

“Stranglers” – the Podcast

This is an audio investigation of the Boston Strangler cases. There are a total of 12 episodes and a variety of audio is used including narration, re-enactments, and interviews. These events were taking place around the time that I was born so I have only ever heard about them in the past tense. Listening to this series I quickly realized that this was much more than 1 or 2 stranglings, this was more like a reign of terror in the Boston area. It also became obvious that this guy was such a charmer that even the most cautious of women could fall victim. Finally, I just want to say that this is so well produced that I was repeatedly drawn in to the point of complete unawareness of what was going on around me or the passage of time. This is a Stitcher production but I think you can find it on most podcast apps. Bottom line: I highly recommend “Stranglers”.

Happy Listening!

 

“The Sleeper” by Emily Barr

“The Sleeper” by Emily Barr

Narrated by Imogen Church

A deception, wrapped in a disappearance, wrapped in an obsession … all in one book! Lara Finch is an unhappy housewife with a dark secret in her past. When she is offered a job in London she jumps at the chance. She will have to take the sleeper train every Sunday afternoon and return on Friday night. She makes new friends among the regular travelers and loves being back in London. The only downside is the strained she relationships with everyone in her family except her godfather, who absolutely dotes on her even though she’s a grown woman. She has also recently befriended Iris, a lonely woman who lives near her. She too is hiding a deep secret. Then comes the Saturday morning that Lara does not get off the train and one of her traveling companions is found murdered. Is there a connection and where has Lara disappeared to? Iris is determined to find the answers.

Let me just start by saying that you need to read, or listen to, this book. This is a fabulous psychological thriller. Lara is a fascinating character. Sometimes, I found her to be very sympathetic and other times I just wanted to knock some sense into her. Her relationships with her husband and family are very complex and the author did a great job with the development of all the main characters. I found Iris to be the most interesting though. Her story doesn’t really begin until about halfway through the book but once it starts, it’s just irresistible. I had not paid too much attention to the description of the story before I began listening to it, and at first I thought it was just going to be another unhappy wife story. But, oh my gosh, about a third of the way through the story takes a turn that just makes it one of the most compelling thrillers I’ve read in a while. Did I mention how much I enjoyed listening to the narrator? Imogen Church was a great choice for this book. Her narration was irresistible but did not over dramatize. She let the words convey the drama more than her voice. I was very sorry when I had to stop listening to her voice. Bottom line is, I loved the story and the narration, and highly recommend both to you especially if you enjoy psychological thrillers.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading! Happy Listening!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“The Crochet Stitch Handbook” by Betty Barnden

“The Crochet Stitch Handbook” by Betty Barnden

Ok, crafty people, pay attention! If you want, or need, to up your crochet game, then check out this book. There are stitch patterns in here that I’ve never even dreamt of. I haven’t been crocheting much in the last couple of years but I found all kinds of inspiration packed into this one. The book is organized with an opening section on the basics, as you would expect. I found the stitch illustrations were very well done and easy to see the required movements of hook and yarn. The rest of the book is divided into section by stitch type, such as, Textured Stitches, Openwork and Lace Stitches, and Clusters, Puffs and Bobbles. There’s also an entire section on Trims and Edgings, which I’ve rarely seen, and one devoted to making shapes of all kinds. Every pattern has written instructions, a color picture of a swatch, and a graph of the stitch. I was especially intrigued by the graphs because I’ve never been comfortable using them and practicing stich patterns seems like a great way to learn how to read them properly. Overall, I found this book to be well organized, well written, and packed with useful information. I highly recommend it.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 5-star-rating  5 stars!!

Happy Crocheting!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads