#AtoZChallenge 2019 #Audiobooks ‘K’ is for Lisa Kleypas @LisaKleypas ‘The Ravenels and The Wallflowers’ @Scribd #HistoricalRomance

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

I love novels set in Vicrorian England and I enjoy reading romance, in between psychological thrillers and literary fiction, and I’ve found the perfect combination in Lisa Kleypas. She has written various series of historical romance, set in 19th century England, such as The Ravenel Series of four novels and The Wallflowers of five novels. In her latest novel, The Devil’s Daughter, The Ravenels meet The Wallflowers!

Lisa is ranked #10 bestselling kindle (US) author of historical romance, and the reason is she writes engaging and entertaining, well-written historical romance. On this occasion, I’ve listened to her  novels on Scribd, but they’re also available on Audible.

Lisa Kleypas

All her novels are standalones, but if you read them in order, it leads to a better reading experience, because the characters are related, either by family or friendship, so characters in previous books will appear in later titles.

I’d recommend you start with the first Ravenel book, published in 2015, which is also one of my favourites. By the way, aren’t those covers beautiful?

Cold-Hearted Rake audiobook cover art

Hello Stranger, published in 2018 is my favourite, perhaps because it was the first one I read and then I made my way back to the first three books in the series!

The female lead in Hello Stranger, Dr. Garrett Gibson, is a woman ahead of her time. She’s the only female physician in England, and is making herself respected in a man’s world. She’s intelligent, strong-willed, daring and independent. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. They are both drawn into dangerous plot against the government.

Hello Stranger audiobook cover art

Her latest novel, Devil’s Daughter, is the delightful story of a widow with two young children and a reformed rake.

Devil's Daughter audiobook cover art

Lisa Kleypas’s historical novels have all the ingredients for an exciting and entertaining journey into Victorian England. The novels are well researched and plotted, with engaging heroes and heroines. Readers will visit Victorian London, from the dark alleyways and slums, gentlemen’s and gaming clubs, to stately town houses and horse rides in Regents Park, as well as travels to country estates. There are villains, rakes and other evil characters who battle against her main characters. You can also look forward to plenty of (unstressful) suspense, in spite of expecting a happy ending, because the journey towards the grand finale is so enjoyable.

Lisa Kleypas, like Jane Austen, is well aware that in 19th century England, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” And just like Jane Austen, that’s what she writes about, except in Kleypas’ case, the novels are more about assertive women fighting for love matches and independence in a world of marriages of convenience and gender inequality.

Most of her novels are read by Mary Jane Wells, who does all the accents and genders very nicely, although, as always, I would have prefered at least two narrators, for male and female voices, but I enjoyed listening to all of them as they are.

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Lisa Kleypas’ novels are especially for readers who want an escape from real 21st century life for a few hours, and enjoy historical romance set in Victorian England, with strong-willed female leads who overcome obstacles on their way to a happy marriage. A delightful indulgence!

Lasa Kleypas’s Audible Author Page

Lisa Kleypas’s Scribd author page

What? You’ve never read an Audiobook? Here are my 34 reasons why you should be reading audiobooks!

I’ll be reviewing an audiobook a day throughout April, so come back on Monday! There will be a round-up tomorrow!

Would you like to read about the other authors and audiobooks I’ve posted about during the challenge, which started on 1st April? Here they are!

Find out more about this blogging challenge here!

#AtoZChallenge 2019 #Audiobooks ‘J’ is for Jess Rider ‘The Ex Wife’ @JessRyderAuthor @Audible @Bookouture #PsychologicalThriller

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

I’m thrilled to continue my AtoZ Blogging challenge with Jess Ryder author of three psychological thrillers, Lie to Me, The Good Sister, and The Ex Wife all published by Bookouture. She also writes books for children, teens and young adults as Jan Page.

Jess Ryder

I’ve listened to and enjoyed Lie to me and The Ex Wife on Audible, because, as you all know I love psychological thrillers, and I also trust Bookouture, because they publish plenty of great novels of his genre.

Lie to Me: A gripping psychological thriller with a shocking twist by [Ryder, Jess]

Meredith’s entire world falls apart when she watches the videotape of her four-year-old self with Becca, the mother who abandoned her, and hears her mother’s cryptic and disquieting words. Her father refuses to clarify their meaning and she embarks on a dangerous search to discover who her mother was and how she was involved in a murder which had taken place 30 years earlier.

Once you start listening to Meredith’s first person account of events told with the immediacy of the present tense, you won’t be able to stop until you find out everything about Meredith’s mother and father. I say no more, because I don’t want to spoil anyone’s experience of listening to this emotional and exciting thriller.

The Ex-Wife: A nail biting gripping psychological thriller by [Ryder, Jess]

Newly married Natasha has the perfect house, a loving husband and a beautiful little girl called Emily. Then her dream shatters when she returns home one day to find her husband and Emily gone without trace. She’ll need her husband’s ex wife’s help to find them, but is Jen her ally or her enemy?

The Ex Wife is a great novel for readers who enjoy long twisting thrillers where good and bad depends on the chapter your reading! plenty of unexpected events and relationships. Be warned, most of the characters are unlikable at some point in the novel, and likeable later on!

It’s narrated in two time frames by two characters, the wife and the ex-wife and the husband has the final say in the last chapter. It is an original take on an old theme of a love triangle involving the husband, old wife and new wife.

Both narrators, Annette Chown and Lorraine Coady have pleasant voices and the present tense, first person writing style, makes listening a vivid and exciting experience for listeners. However, I would have preferred two different narrators in the Ex Wife, because, although the chapter headings inform the reader of which of the two narrators is speaking/narrating, with the same voice, I found it confusing at times.

I’ve just discovered on Twitter that Jess Ryder has a new novel out soon! I can’t wait to read another one of her psychological thrillers!

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Jess Ryder’s novels are especially for readers who enjoy nail-biting, well-plotted and complex psychological thrillers set in the UK.

Jess Ryder’s Audible Author Page 

What? You’ve never read an Audiobook? Here are my 34 reasons why you should be reading audiobooks! 

I’ll be reviewing an audiobook a day throughout April, so come back on Monday! There will be a round-up tomorrow!

Would you like to read about the other authors and audiobooks I’ve posted about during the challenge, which started on 1st April? Here they are!

Find out more about this blogging challenge here!

 

#AtoZChallenge 2019 #Audiobooks ‘I’ is for Laila Ibrahim ‘Paper Wife’ @Audible #HistoricalFiction #Migration

I’m thrilled to continue my AtoZ Blogging challenge with Laila Ibrahim, author ‘Paper Wife’, a historical novel set in Southern China and California in the 1920s.

Laila Ibrahim spent much of her career as a preschool teacher, school director, and as a religious educator. That work, coupled with her education in developmental psychology and attachment theory, provided ample fodder for the stories in her novels.

Laila Ibrahim

I started reading this novel quite by chance. It was recently offered as a daily deal on Audible, I read the blurb, listened to an extract and decided to buy it, at once. I’m glad I did because reading The Paper Wife is an unforgettable experience of walking in a young, penniless young migrant girl’s shoes, as she travels across the world to another civilisation, with a new family, leaving her past behind.

The Paper Wife is an emotional story about immigration, arranged marriages, intercultural differences, the subjection and exploitation of women and children, motherhood, marriage, strife and ultimately the power of faith and goodness.

Mei Ling lives in Southern China in the 1920s. Her parents decide the best way to improve her prospects is to sell her in an arranged a marriage to a first generation Chinese-American widower who lives in California with his two-year-old son. But to enter the country, she must pretend to be her husband’s first wife—a paper wife.

The perilous voyage is described, her incipient relationship with her new husband and son and how she befriends, Siew, a young orphan girl, her detainment on Angel Island and her arrival at San Francisco, where she’ll discover that her husband and her new life are not what she expected.

In spite of the harsh topics discussed, such as slavery, child labour, forced prostitution, corruption and other criminal activities, it was not depressing or sad, because the story is told with great empathy and understanding for Chinese culture. Mei Ling is a strong woman with a purpose in life, to do good and be happy. I loved her strength, optimism and kindness.

I enjoyed listening to the story, told in the realistic and detailed manner of traditional historical novels, immersing the reader in another time and place.

It’s told in the third person entirely from eighteen year-old Mei’s point of view.

The Paper Wife was brilliantly read by Nancy Wu, who is talented enough to read all the voices, men, women, children, American and Chinese in such a way as to bring the story to life.

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The Paper Wife, is especially for readers who enjoy realistic and detailed, historical novels, which bring the past to life by means of traditional and emotional storytelling!

Laila Ibrahim’s Audible Author Page 

What? You’ve never read an Audiobook? Here are my 34 reasons why you should be reading audiobooks! 

I’ll be reviewing an audiobook a day throughout April, so come back on Monday! There will be a round-up tomorrow!

Would you like to read about the other authors and audiobooks I’ve posted about during the challenge, which started on 1st April? Here they are!

Find out more about this blogging challenge here!

 

#AtoZChallenge 2019 #Audiobooks ‘H’ is for Helen Hoang @HHoangWrites @Audible ‘The Kiss Quotient’ #Romance #TuesdayBookBlog

I’m thrilled to continue my AtoZ Blogging challenge with Helen Hoang, author of my favourite romantic novel of 2018, The Kiss Quotient, One of Washington Post’s 50 Notable Works of Fiction in 2018 and One of Amazon’s Top 100 Books of 2018.

In 2016, the author was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her journey inspired THE KISS QUOTIENT.

Helen Hoang

You all know how I love all genres of novels with quirky and/or unusual heroines, The Kiss Quotient is one such novel.

Stella Lane is brilliant at math. She loves algorithms to predict customer purchases. She also has ASD, and hates physical contact, especially kissing and sex. She’s over thirty and her family expects her to marry and have children, and she doesn’t want to let them down, so she decides to hire an escort to help her overcome her aversion to sex.

Michael, takes on the job, however he has issues of his own, such as his reasons for being an escort and how he feels about his part-time job. Neither of them imagine they’re going to learn about the joy and pain of falling in love.

It’s a romantic comedy filled with depth, as the two complex and imperfect characters overcome personal and social obstacles and build a unique and heart-warming love story.

There are hilarious moments, heart wrenching moments, tender moments and uplifting moments as their relationship develops.

The Kiss Quotient audiobook cover art

By the way, I first read The Kiss Quotient as part of the Romance package, but I enjoyed it so much I bought the audiobook and the kindle version, and I’ve recommended it to everyone I know who enjoys reading romance!

In case you didn’t read my post yesterday and haven’t heard of Audible’s Romance Package,  If you sign up for this package you can borrow up to any ten books included in the package, at a time. When you finish one, or if you decide you don’t like it, you can delete it from your Audible app and choose another one. All this for under seven dollars! It’s well worth it if you love reading romantic novels, as I do in between, thrillers and literary fiction.

I have already pre-ordered her second novel, The Bride Test, which will be published in May.

The Bride Test: Goodread's Big Books of Spring 2019 (Kiss Quotient Series) by [Hoang, Helen]

Another great plus of listening to the audio version is the brilliant narrator Carly Robbins. I normally prefer two narrators, one male and female, but Carly Robbins is such an excellent narrator that she did an excellent job on her own! The third person narrator gives both characters’ points of view and the audio narrator conveys both unique characters perfectly.

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The Kiss Quotient, is especially for readers who enjoy romantic comedies with likeable main characters, sweet stories with uplifting endings, steamy sex scenes, and great writing. If you like reading romance, you’ll love this novel!

Helen Hoang’s Audible Author Page 

What? You’ve never read an Audiobook? Here are my 34 reasons why you should be reading audiobooks! 

I’ll be reviewing an audiobook a day throughout April, so come back on Monday! There will be a round-up tomorrow!

Would you like to read about the other authors and audiobooks I’ve posted about during the challenge, which started on 1st April? Here they are!

Find out more about this blogging challenge here!

 

#AtoZChallenge 2019 #Audiobooks ‘G’ is for Rachel Grant @Rachelsgrant @Audible ‘Flashpoint’ #Romance #Thriller

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

I’m thrilled to continue my AtoZ Blogging challenge with Rachel Grant, author of romantic, military and political thrillers. Rachel, who worked for over a decade as a professional archaeologist, mines her experiences for storylines and settings, from her diverse international experience excavating, surveying, and mapping on sites all over the world. Find out more on her blog. 

Rachel beside a tree

Rachel Grant has written thirteen novels, eight in the Evidence series and three in the Flashpoint series, as well as two standalone romantic mysteries.

I’m working my way through the Evidence series, but I’d like to tell you about the Flashpoint Series, because I’ve listened to all three books and because they’re part the Audible Romance package, which is why they have a big, pink R in the top right-hand corner.

Flashpoint Book 1

If you sign up for the Romance Package you can borrow up to any ten books included in the package, at a time. When you finish one, or if you decide you don’t like it, you can delete it from your Audible app and choose another one. All this for under seven dollars! It’s well worth it if you love reading romantic novels, as I do in between, thrillers and literary fiction.

Tinderbox takes place in the volatile and dangerous Horn of Africa. archaeologist, Morgan Adler has made the paleoanthropological find of a lifetime, but the discovery brings her to the attention of a warlord eager to claim both Morgan and the fossils, so she is forced to seek protection from the nearby US military base. There follows a heart stopping action-packed race against warlords, corruption, mercenaries and the hazardous landscape, which will keep you eagerly listening to the very end.

Catalyst audiobook cover art

Flashpoint Book 2

Her stories are well researched and realistically plotted, with engaging characters. Her heroines are intelligent, strong-willed, independent and professional women, working in adverse male-dominated situations in the horn of Africa. They also fall passionately in love with men who are self-assured enough to have a relationship with such determined women, so be warned, sparks fly!

Firestorm audiobook cover art

Flashpoint Book 3

Another great plus of listening to the audio version is the brilliant narrator Greg Tremblay, I normally prefer two narrators, one male and female, but Greg is such an excellent narrator that he conveys both the female voices, multiple male voices, as well as the third person narrator of the novels, perfectly, so the listener is always aware of who is speaking.

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The Flashpoint Series, is especially for readers who enjoy exciting and steamy, romantic military and political thrillers, with plenty of action, and intelligent, determined heroines, working in high-risk areas of the African continent.

Rachel Grant’s Audible Author Page 

What? You’ve never read an Audiobook? Here are my 34 reasons why you should be reading audiobooks! 

I’ll be reviewing an audiobook a day throughout April, so come back on Monday! There will be a round-up tomorrow!

Would you like to read about the other authors and audiobooks I’ve posted about during the challenge, which started on 1st April? Here they are!

Find out more about this blogging challenge here!

 

#AtoZChallenge 2019 #Audiobooks ‘F’ is for Ken Follett @KMFollett @Audible ‘The Century Trilogy’

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

I’m thrilled to continue my AtoZ Blogging challenge with one of my favourite authors, the masterful writer of thrillers and historical fiction, Ken Follett, who has been writing engaging, literary fiction for over forty years.   

Ken Follett

If I had to save a trilogy from the last library in the world which was on fire, I’d save The Century Trilogy, and if I had to save just one book, it would be The Winter of the World.

 

The Century Trilogy (3 Book Series) by  Ken Follett

Fall of Giants, Winter of the World and Edge of Eternity, make up the Century Trilogy. This Trilogy, is a tour de force, which narrates the main events of the 20th century, following the lives of five families in – America, Germany, Russia, England and Wales, who will gradually become interrelated, as the original characters and their descendents experience the First World War, the Russian Revolution, the struggle for Women’s Suffrage, the Second World War, The Cold War, The Civil Rights Movement, The Race to Space, and finally the reunification of Germany.

I loved every word of The Fall of Giants. Every single sentence, paragraph and page is engaging. The characterisation is extraordinary. Every character, and there are plenty of them, has a unique appearance and personality. The plot is thrilling with plenty of drama and historical detail that make it an unforgettable read.

Winter of the World, my favourite, is a brutal and honest fictional account of WWII. It should be compulsory reading at High Schools, because the historical events portrayed affect the reader, much more than a set of facts in a history book or lesson. Let’s not forget what happened in order to be alert and compassionate and never let it happen again. Ken Follett illustrates the horrors of war as well as the goodness and self-sacrifice that we are capable of.

Although the writing is brilliant, I’m really glad I listened to the trilogy as an audiobook, because John Lee is the best audiobook narrator I’ve heard.

Lee does all the voices so perfectly that you know at once who is speaking, and there are five nationalities, with their own accents and different social classes, as well as male, female and children’s voices. The novels are lively and authentic due to the great deal of dialogue included, yet it’s no easy feat for the narrator. Chapeau!

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The Century Trilogy, is especially for readers who enjoy historical novels and dramatic family sagas, which explore political, social and personal issues through various generations.

Ken Follett’s Audible Author Page 

By the way, Ken Follet has a fabulous Author Webpage, which has ‘Writing Advice’. I’ve found it very inspiring and thought-provoking.

What? You’ve never read an Audiobook? Here are my 34 reasons why you should be reading audiobooks! 

I’ll be reviewing an audiobook a day throughout April, so come back on Monday! There will be a round-up tomorrow!

Would you like to read about the other authors and audiobooks I’ve posted about during the challenge, which started on 1st April? Here they are!

Find out more about this blogging challenge here!

 

#AtoZChallenge 2019 #Audiobooks ‘E’ is for Elizabeth Strout @LizStrout @Scribd @Audible ‘My Name is Lucy Barton’

I’m thrilled to continue my AtoZ Blogging challenge with another of outstanding writer, Elizabeth Strout, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, Olive Kitteridge, in 2009.   

Strout at the 2015 Texas Book Festival

The audiobook I listened to on Scribd, which I will be discussing in this post is, My Name is Lucy Barton, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2016 and the Bailey Women’s Prize for fiction in the same year.

This is the blurb

Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.

My Review

My name is Lucy Barton isn’t an easy novel to read and much less to review. There’s no traditional plot, a confusing time-line, plenty of gaps in Lucy’s erratic story, and very little by way of characterisation.

The novel is about a writer, Lucy Barton’s, disjointed memories regarding her deprived childhood and dysfunctional family, mainly told with tense and sometimes unnerving conversations with her mother, while she’s in hospital, much later in life.

The timelines are blurred, as we learn that although she’s a successful novelist, she is a lonely and emotionally damaged person. After her first marriage broke up, she remarried and abandoned her family in search of ‘herself’. Her daughters never visit and don’t seem to  have a  close relationship with her, but strangely, it doesn’t seem to bother her.

There were times I wondered where the novel was going, as there was no plot or chronological order to help me find my bearings, yet I kept on reading, because it was well-written and I expected some sort of a plot might develop, but it didn’t.

When I finished, l realised it’s not about plot, or even character. It’s about the inexplicable and existential quality of life.

Resultado de imagen de camus quote on life

Lucy was born with a tragic destiny: the futile and obsessive search for the meaning of her life. The novel hints that this obsession was due to her loveless and emotionally and financially impoverished family. She has difficulty loving herself or anyone else, even her own children.

Lucy left her poor, narrow-minded and cruel family thanks to a scholarship, years later, she left her own family, still in search of herself and the elusive meaning of life. She’s trying to ‘find peace’ with herself through writing, but there’s a limit to the power of so much introspection. In the end, you’re responsible for your own choices and your own happiness or unhappiness.

Resultado de imagen de camus quote on life

I ended up not liking Lucy very much and feeling very little sympathy for her, because she could have done so much more to improve her own life and her relationship with her daughters and her husbands.

It certainly gave me a great deal to think about, especially regarding the art of writing a novel, because Elizabeth Strout breaks all the rules to great effect!  It’s the kind of novel I’m sure I’ll read again, at a later date.

It is a short read and it’s the kind of novel that really benefits from listening to the audiobook. The narrator, Kimberly Farr, does a really excellent job, because she reads each page with the appropriate rhythm and pace to Lucy’s changing moods. I could imagine Lucy as I listened. I’m sure I would have been more confused, especially at the beginning, if I had read the paper or kindle version.

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My Name is Lucy Barton, is especially for readers who enjoy complex, almost experimental, literary novels, which explore a character’s psyche intensely.

Elizabeth Strout’s Scribd page

Elizabeth Strout’s Audible Author Page

What? You’ve never read an Audiobook? Here are my 34 reasons why you should be reading audiobooks! 

I’ll be reviewing an audiobook a day throughout April, so come back on Monday! There will be a round-up tomorrow!

Would you like to read about the other authors and audiobooks I’ve posted about during the challenge, which started on 1st April? Here they are!

Find out more about this blogging challenge here!