Dread Journey

dread_journey

 Summary

On a transcontinental train, a starlet fears her director may be trying to kill her.

Four years after she arrived in Los Angeles, Kitten Agnew has become a star. Though beautiful and talented, she’d be nowhere without Vivien Spender, Hollywood’s most acclaimed director—and its most dangerous. But Kitten knew what she was getting into when she got involved with him; she had heard the stories of Viv’s past discoveries. Once he discarded them, they ended up in a chorus line, a sanatorium, or worse. She knows enough of his secrets that he wouldn’t dare destroy her career—but he may be willing to kill her.

On a train from Los Angeles to Chicago, Kitten learns that Viv is planning to offer her roommate a part that was meant for her. If she lets him betray her, her career will be over. But fight for the part and she will be fighting for her life as well.

- See more at: http://www.blackstonelibrary.com/dread-journey#sthash.9PWsNRBj.dpuf

Author Bio:

Dorothy B. Hughes (1904–1993) was a mystery author, award-winning poet, and literary critic. She published fourteen novels, the best known of which are In a Lonely Place and Ride the Pink Horse. Both were made into successful films. Her work had a major influence on other mystery writers of the postwar era, and the movies they inspired remain among the most respected of their genre. She was especially influential on the next two generations of female mystery writers. In the early 1950s, she largely stopped writing fiction, preferring to focus on criticism. She reviewed mysteries for the Los Angeles Times, New York Herald Tribune, and other papers and earned an Edgar Award for Outstanding Mystery Criticism. In 1978 the Mystery Writers of America presented her with the Grand Master Award for literary achievement.

Reader Bio:

Gabrielle de Cuir is a Grammy-nominated award-winning audio producer. She has narrated dozens of audiobooks and is a recipient of multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards. Her extensive stage and screen credits include the major motion picture The American President.

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My Review ~ ★★★★★~ 5 Stars

Dread Journey

Dread Journey is another fabulous and twisted mystery from Dorothy B. Hughes.  It all begins on a night train headed from Los Angeles to Chicago.  With the first line I was instantly hooked.  “I’m afraid.”  she had spoken aloud.  Those two words embark a journey of fear and dread mixed with a handful of eccentric characters including the saucy actress Kitten Agnew and the great Vivien Spender who was a notorious Hollywood producer. The Chief’s porter, James Cobbett, determined the trip to be an ordinary run to Chicago with the usual animals in their cages.  He didn’t miss much but on this run he felt…..different.

Gratia Shawn was Kitten’s understudy and they were traveling in the same bunker.  Viv was planning to give the part of Clavdia Chauchat to her rather than Kitten, and he felt that by rooming them together it would be good for publicity.  While Kitten was beautiful in a phony sort of way, Gratia was a natural goddess and Viv was obsessed with her.  While Kitten was pretentious and snobbish, Gratia was charming and sincere.

There were other interesting ragtag passengers on the train as well including Mike, Viv’s private secretary.  Sidney Pringle, a failed writer.  Les Augustin who was a poet and musician.  And Hank Cavanaugh, a bigshot newspaper reporter who had been a war correspondent and could always smell a story.  Now he smelled fear.

Dread Journey was a brilliantly written story.  It had all the elements to draw the reader or listener in.  It grabs your senses and gives you the feel of being right there on the train with the other passengers.  The tension and smoke in the air, the rocking of the train, the smell of booze and the feel of the characters.  It’s all there.  I highly recommend listening to this audiobook for two reasons.  The book epitomizes the exceptional writing skills of Dorothy B. Hughes and also the incredible vocal skills of Gabrielle de Cuir.

About the narrator:  Gabrielle de Cuir lifts the listener right up and into the story.  With her style, her spot on voice inflections, and emphasis, she puts you right on that train in the fray of things as they unfold.  She’s not just reading or narrating, she’s present.  She’s there and she takes the listener there.  I relished this story so much and I’m in absolute awe.

I received a review copy of this audiobook from http://audiobookjukebox.squarespace.com/solid-gold-reviewer/

© 2014 crystalzen © Teresa W.

Baehrly Alive: Goldie Locke and the Were Bears, Book 3

Baehrly Alive

  • Written by: Elizabeth A. Reeves
  • Narrated by: Michele Carpenter
  • Length: 5 hrs and 15 mins 

 

Spirals

Spirals

 

 

Publisher’s Summary

Evolved Publishing brings you another rare glimpse into ancient Native American Indian culture, with Spirals, the much anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed Circles, by Ruby Standing Deer.

A Holy Man, who lives in both this world and the Spirit world, waits hidden in a cave in the canyons, as a newly made woman runs toward him. She flees her would-be suitor, who wants from her more than she can give. The Holy Man and his constant companions, a colony of mice, accept the woman within the cave. She worries that he may be crazy, but given her fear of the man who desires her, maybe crazy is not so bad. In this sequel to Ruby Standing Deer’s first novel, Circles, the main character of Shining Light is now grown and with family. He dreams of the woman and the Holy Man in the canyons, and knows that, after four seasons of calm and peace in the Forest of Trees, he must go to them. He seeks guidance, but the Spirits tell him only that he must rescue these two people. Yet he need not go alone. Ever Shining Light’s faithful companion and Wolf Brother, White Paws senses he must follow his Human Brother. Thus, one Human, one Wolf, and their two families set out for the unknown. The adventure exceeds all of Shining Light’s expectations, and he learns more about his place in this world than the Holy Peoples of his band could ever teach him.

©2013 Evolved Publishing LLC (P)2014 Evolved Publishing LLC

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My Review ~ ★★★★★~ 5 Stars

Spirals

Spirals is an esteemed sequel to the audiobook ‘Circles’.  I love this story and what it represents.  This story not only adds more depth to the characters as they’ve matured, it also introduces several new and integral characters.  While I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Circles’, I found even more inspiration from ‘Spirals’.  This is a story for all ages and I’m hoping there will be a third audiobook.

This story begins with the young girl Falling Rainbow who goes off for a few days because she doesn’t want to be with the young man Night Hunter who wants to take her as a wife.  While she’s gone, the snow turns into a blizzard and she gets lost and slips into a cavern where she meets an Elder named One Who Wanders.  He plays an important role in the story as a guide or a spirit guide and while each character has their own voice, Wanderer weaves in truths and answers to the questions regarding life and life’s meaning.  The true purpose of BEing for ALL Mother Earth’s creatures.

There were several parts of this story that spoke to my heart and the things that I know.  I especially liked when Wanderer gave his Great Sky Bead necklace to Shining Light as he explained how he made each bead while walking along the spiral searching for himself.  How each stone has special knowledge and in time will show him something as they are the oldest beings on Mother Earth.  Wanderer explains to him that he lives both inside and outside the spiral at the same time.  Like Wanderer, Shining Light is a young Holy Man.  Shining Light is Feather from the first book ‘Circles’ only many moons have passed and now he is older.

Another new character is Sparkling Star who has spent her life trapped in slavery until she escapes and White Paws finds her and brings her to the camp where Shining Light’s family accepts and embraces her.  She was with child and was suffering from a sickness they call split apart, where the mind and body are separated.  Wanderer helps cure her of this.  She also gives birth to twin boys where one is referred to as being a shadow baby.  I also liked when the different bands joined together as one big family which is what we all really are.  There were so many meaningful instances in this book that will stay with me for a long time.  I can’t express enough what a wonderful and enlightening book this is.  I highly recommend it for an unforgettable listen.

About the author: Ruby Standing Deer is an award-winning author who brings to life the ancient Native American culture.  If I could choose an author that I would like to meet, she would be the one I would choose.  I absolutely love her work.  She’s a true inspiration.

About the narrator: Karen Rose Richter is an amazing voice in the audio community.  I love her work.  She flawlessly brought this story to life with all the characters voices.  There’s a genuine sweetness in her voice that I really like.  And my favorite character was Wanderer.  Karen is a true gem and gets it right every time.  I can’t wait to listen to more from her.

  Audiobook gifted in exchange for review.

© 2014 crystalzen © Teresa W.

 

This Quiet Sky: A Novella

This Quiet Sky

 

 

Publisher’s Summary

There is nothing extraordinary about Tucker O’Shay’s dreams. Go to college. Become president. Fall in love. And pretend like he has enough time to get it all done. Sixteen-year-old Sarah Miller doesn’t expect anything out of the ordinary when she begins her first day at the one-room-school house in her new hometown of Rocky Knob. But when she meets seventeen-year-old Tucker O’Shay she finds herself swept up in a friendship that changes the way she sees the world and a love that changes her life.

©2014 Joanne Bischof (P)2014 Joanne Bischof

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My Review ~ ★★★★★~ 5 Stars

This Quiet Sky: A Novella

This Quiet Sky is a powerful story.  A sweet, poignant reminder that life is precious.  In Rocky Knob, Virginia 1885, Sarah begins her first day at school and is seated next to Tucker.  She’s having trouble with math and Tucker begins tutoring her.  This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship that words can’t describe.  This is one of the best novellas I’ve ever listened to or read.  The love that these two young adults had for each other in a short time was more than what some adults ever experience in a lifetime.

I was so moved when Tucker told Sarah that “God didn’t make a mistake with me.  He’s given me today.  It’s about living for what you can live for.  What God gives you the time to do.  He gave me the time to know you.  To love you.  Sometimes all we have is a moment.  It doesn’t make it less.  It just makes it more.”

Overall, this was an exceptional listen.  A perfect balance between Sarah and Tucker.  What started out as awkward turned into friendship which then turned into a deep caring that transcended time.  Along with that, there was a perfect balance between the characters and the reader.

About the author: Joanne Bischof is an amazingly talented writer.  I can’t wait to listen to more of her work through audio.  I highly recommend this audiobook.  This is a must listen to.  UNforgettable!

About the narrator: Gail Shalan has the most beautiful, sincere voice I’ve ever listened to.  She took this story over the top.  All I can say is WOW!  This is one of the best narrations I’ve listened to.  She’s a wonderfully skilled voice actor and I look forward to listening to more of her work as well.

Audiobook gifted in exchange for review.

© 2014 crystalzen © Teresa W.

 

The Coming of the Saucers

The Coming of the Saucers

Publisher’s Summary

The whole world has heard about flying saucers. But do you really know how it all got started? Do you know who first saw the flying saucers?

Meet pilot Kenneth Arnold. InThe Coming of the Saucers, Arnold describes – in breathtaking detail – his incredible sighting of the flying saucers on June 24, 1947.

Arnold also recounts his harrowing investigation into the infamous Maury Island Incident, which ended with the deaths of two Air Force intelligence officers after they flew past Mount Rainier – where Arnold had seen the discs.

After being followed by Men in Black, Arnold discovered that his hotel room had been bugged, and that he had been manipulated by CIA asset Fred Lee Crisman, an eventual suspect in the JFK assassination. Following these and other strange, spooky occurrences, Arnold barely escaped a plane crash himself!

Arnold was a private man, who rarely lectured or made public appearances. The Coming of the Saucers is thus a rare, primary-source document of importance to all UFO researchers and enthusiasts. Not only is this the story of the first two major UFO sightings in the U.S., but it is also the birth of the Men in Black mythos.

©2014 Andrew B. Colvin (P)2014 Andrew B. Colvin

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My Review ~ ★★★★★~ 5 Stars

The Coming of the Saucers

The Coming of the Saucers is one of the most compelling stories I’ve ever listened to.  Hearing Kenneth Arnold’s story told through audio really brought it to life.  The timeline of the events that took place and the people involved was just plain spooky.  It was indeed breathtaking.  This IS where it all started and while some may or may not be familiar with Kenneth Arnold, I am and this story blew me away.  It was scary in a ‘get your tin foil hat on’ kind of way.

Then there are the numerous sightings and reporting of unidentified flying objects or UFO’s across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico and all over the world that boggle the mind.  As a person that sometimes listens to a late night radio talk show primarily based on the subject of UFO’s and other mystifying events and happenings, I absolutely loved this edge of your seat audiobook.  I definitely recommend listening to this one.  UNforgettable!

About the narrator: Jack Chekijian is a terrific voice actor.  I love listening to him.  He relayed this story perfectly.  It was as if Kenneth Arnold was telling the story himself.  Jack Chekijian speaks clearly and always uses correct pronunciation of places and names.  Overall, he made this a great and interesting listening experience.

 Audiobook gifted in exchange for review.

© 2014 crystalzen © Teresa W.

The Thing About December

The Thing about December

 

 

Publisher’s Summary

Donal Ryan’s second novel, The Thing about December, was a finalist for Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. Ryan’s first novel, The Spinning Heart, is an international best-seller and winner of the prestigious Guardian First Book Award.

While the Celtic Tiger rages, and greed becomes the norm, Johnsey Cunliffe desperately tries to hold on to the familiar, even as he loses those who all his life have protected him from a harsh world. Following the deaths first of his father and then his mother, Johnsey inherits the family farm, and a healthy bank account, both of which he proves incapable of managing on his own. Village bullies and scheming land-grabbers stand in his way, no matter where he turns. Though companionship, and the promise of love, enter his life as a result of a hospital stay following a brutal beating, Johnsey remains a lonely man struggling to keep up with a world that moves faster than he does.

Set over the course of one year of Johnsey’s life, The Thing about December breathes with Johnsey’s bewilderment, humor, and agonizing self-doubt. Listeners will fall in love with Johnsey in a bittersweet tale that serves as a poignant reminder that we are surrounded in life by simple souls who are nonetheless more insightful and wise than we realize, or can even imagine. Told from Johnsey’s point of view, The Thing about December is at once life affirming and heartbreaking.

©2013 Donal Ryan (P)2014 Steerforth Press LLC

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My Review ~ ★★★★★~ 5 Stars

The Thing About December

The Thing About December was an absolute pleasure to listen to.  It was engrossing and bittersweet and I wanted to listen to it all in one sitting.  It was a genuinely moving story told in ‘I think’ third person point of view by the protagonist Johnsey Cunliffe.  This was brilliant writing by Donal Ryan.  A work of art, the story felt poetic and almost prophetic.  It does indeed give a person pause to think about the childlike innocence some people live with.  How gentleness and simplicity are often mistaken for weakness.  Johnsey was bullied and taken advantage of his whole life yet managed to remain without barriers or grudges.

He was lonely even while his parents were alive but they were his comfort, his safe place.  When he was in the hospital after being beaten by the bullies and the townie and was temporarily blind, he was able to see things differently, realizing he was seeing with his mind rather than his eyes.  I think he may have been simple and complex at the same time.  I liked the part where he was reflecting about his mother and how she had said that being around a certain person was like a tonic.  That the person was good for her.  This was how the nurse Siobhan and his friend Mumbly Dave made him feel.  They were his tonic.

His parents left him a wealthy man, but riches don’t live in the pocketbook.  Richness lives in the heart.  I was so happy when I heard him finally tell the old man who came to try to talk him into selling his family farm that he would have to check with his accountant.  He finally stood up for himself.  His reward was the newspaper reporter labeling him as greedy.  This truly was a bittersweet story.

About the narrator:  Wayne Farrell did an incredible job with this book.  It was his touch, his voice that took an already great story straight over the top to perfection.  The steady cadence of his voice really captured the character of Johnsey.  His professionalism shone through in the poetic artistry of his performance.  One of my favorite voice actors, Wayne Farrell raises the bar on this one.  I definitely recommend listening to this audiobook.

Audiobook gifted in exchange for review.

© 2014 crystalzen © Teresa W.

 

The Lottery, and Other Stories

the_lottery_and_other_stories

Summary

A powerful collection of short stories by Shirley Jackson.

“The Lottery,” one of the most terrifying stories of the twentieth century, created a sensation when it was first published in the New Yorker. “Powerful and haunting,” and “nights of unrest” were typical reader responses. This collection, the only one to appear during Jackson’s lifetime, unites “The Lottery” with twenty-four equally unusual stories. Together they demonstrate her remarkable range—from the hilarious to the truly horrible—and power as a storyteller.

- See more at: http://www.blackstonelibrary.com/the-lottery-nbsp-and-other-stories#sthash.8n9iUob1.dpuf

Author Bio:

Shirley Jackson (1916–1965), a celebrated writer of horror, wrote such classic novels as We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House, as well as one of the most famous short stories in the English language, “The Lottery.” Her work has been adapted to film, television, and theater and has influenced such writers as Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and Richard Matheson.

Reader Bio:

Gabrielle de Cuir is a Grammy-nominated award-winning audio producer. She has narrated dozens of audiobooks and is a recipient of multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards. Her extensive stage and screen credits include the major motion picture The American President.

Reader Bio:

Kathe Mazur is an award-winning audiobook narrator who has recorded over one hundred titles for several audio producers. Her narration of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain was named a Best Audiobook of 2012 by AudioFile magazine and a Best Nonfiction Audiobook of 2012 by Audible.com. Her narration of Don’t Cry for Me by Sharon Sala was a finalist in 2013 for the prestigious Audie Award for Best Romance. She has also earned two AudioFile Earphones Awards.

Reader Bio:

Stefan Rudnicki first became involved with audiobooks in 1994. Now a Grammy-winning audiobook producer, he has worked on more than two thousand audiobooks as a narrator, writer, producer, or director. He has narrated more than three hundred audiobooks. A recipient of multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards, he was presented the coveted Audie Award for solo narration in 2005, 2007, and 2014 and was named one of AudioFile’s Golden Voices in 2012.

Reader Bio:

Cassandra Campbell, Audie-nominated narrator and winner of several Earphones Awards, has performed in regional theaters across the country and in several off-Broadway shows at the Public Theater and the Mint Theater. In addition to narrating audiobooks, acting, and directing, she is a commercial and documentary voice-over artist.

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My Review ~ ★★★★★~ 5 Stars

The Lottery, and Other Stories

These stories are ALL extremely awe-inspiring and timeless.   Several of them I listened to twice.  They’re definitely interesting and many times puzzling.  I think the devil is in the detail with Shirley Jackson’s stories.  She didn’t overlook anything.  Ever.  In this review I list the stories in the order they are read in the book along with my interpretation.  Each story is different and every story is exceptional.  Shirley Jackson will always be a treasure.  I loved playing with these stories.  They have many meanings and venture down many avenues of literature, history, humor, and the macabre.  Fascinating!

 The readers of these stories are amazing and they are ALL without a doubt truly talented individuals and together in this audiobook become a powerhouse.  The stories had more of an impact listening to them being read by these four fantastic voice artists.  As with these stories, this group of voice actors are among the most beloved and talented, both individually and as a team.  They make up a diamond, ruby, emerald, and sapphire level of audio brilliance that delivers polished excellence to my ears.  And mind.

Note:  Jim Harris* is a recurring character in many of Shirley Jackson’s stories.  I’ve put an asterisk by the name as it appears or when I’ve noticed it.

The Lottery, and Other Stories

Part One:   The Intoxicated ~ A man attending a party steps into the kitchen for some air and finds the hosts daughter writing a paper on the future of the world and shocks him with her ideas.  She mentions Caesar and he offers to help with her Latin then leaves.  On his way out the girl’s father quotes Caesar in Latin and says “kids nowadays.”  I think the man was scared sober.

The Daemon Lover ~ The woman wakes up thinking that today is her wedding day and also keeps wondering if it’s going to be a fine day.  When she can’t find James Harris* (Jamie) her imaginary lover, she becomes more and more frantic looking for him everywhere.  She begins asking everyone if they’ve seen a man in a blue suit.  Once she realizes she is all alone, she goes home.  Her lights are on but nobody’s home.

Like Mother Used to Make ~ David Turner has planned a date with his neighbor Marsha who has a date with a co-worker.  David mothers Marsha.  He doesn’t realize that she knows it and is constantly buttering him up.  He even has a key to her apartment.  The key is for him to use after Marsha and her date manipulate him into leaving his own apartment and staying the night at hers.

Trial by Combat ~ I think this story is about one’s individuality and a sense of similar, plain identities.  The parallel yet invisible lines of singularity of the two women.  Emily realizes that she could quite possibly be a younger version of Mrs. Allen and finally, both have Army spouses which is the combat link that refrains Emily from directly confronting Mrs. Allen, her would be opponent.

The Villager ~ Hilda Clarence lives in Greenwich Village and prides herself on being a village die-hard.  Trendy, pretentious, and stuck in uptown, she lost sight of her dream to become a dancer and sort of encounters an older couple that fulfilled the same dream and a younger man who has just arrived with his own dream.  Even so, she has become complacent with her own life.

My Life With R. H. Macy ~ This is a humorous look at working at Macy’s and being assigned or segregated to a particular department where everyone is given a number which becomes their new identity rather than their own identity.  It appears to be operated as an institution rather than a department store.  One’s only identity while working at Macy’s is that of R. H. Macy.  The girl quits after a couple of days.

 Part Two:  Narrative excerpt from “Sadducismus Triumphatus”  Joseph Glanvill ~The average person must peer keenly at a work of art before attempting to comprehend the meaning which is intended by the artist.

  The Witch ~ A little boy is riding a train with his mother and baby sister.  He tells his mother he saw a witch outside.  Then a nice man begins talking to the boy asking him normal questions and he dodges all the man’s questions by making up lies.  The man retorts by telling the boy a horrific story about what happened to his little sister, giving the boy a taste of his own medicine.

The Renegade ~ A family moves to the country with their dog who has become labeled as a chicken killer after being accused by one of the neighbors of killing a few of her chickens.  All the neighbors, including the two children contrive inhumane ways of stopping the dog from killing chickens as if it has now become a joke.

After You, My Dear Alphonse ~ Johnny brings a friend named Boyd home for lunch and his mother thinks that because Boyd is African-American his family must be needy.  Even after they tell her that his father has a good job and can afford to buy anything they need, she continues to insist that he must eat all his food and take home a bag of clothing.  The two boys were always saying “After you, my dear Alphonse” which was a take on the comic strip Alphonse and Gaston.

Charles ~ When Laurie begins kindergarten he turns into a completely different child, behaving badly in school and getting spanked by the teacher.  He comes home each day and tells his mother and father about the awful things that Charles (he) did that day.  They are dying to meet the mother of this atrocious child  and at a PTA meeting discover that there is no Charles.  Laurie IS Charles.

Afternoon in Linen ~ Two women are having a get-together.  Howard and his mother, along with Harriet and her grandmother.  They were all dressed in linen.  A textile that’s very difficult to make yet prized for its airiness.  When the two women begin to pit the children’s talents, one against the other, Harriet becomes like linen.  Both difficult and cool by claiming that she copied her poem.

 Flower Garden ~ Mrs. Winning has always dreamed of living in the nearby cottage and having a flower garden.  Then a new woman and her son move into the cottage and plant the garden Mrs. Winning has always wanted to plant, however it seems in her flower garden there was a little too much color for the townspeople to accept.

Dorothy and My Grandmother and the Sailors ~ In San Fransisco, March brought in the wind and the fleet.    Sailors would swarm the streets and tourists would board the ships.  Grandmother took uncle Oliver along to help find the other uncle, Paul.  Maybe Dot’s father is a sailor since her mother is always sick during fleet week and never joins them.

Part Three:  Narrative excerpt from Joseph Glanvill ~ The confession of the widow Margaret Jackson of practicing witchcraft.

Colloquy ~ Mrs. Arnold thinks she is going crazy after her husband is unable to get a copy of the Times and while she thinks he’s talking to himself, he’s really just discussing politics out loud, whereas normally he would be reading the paper.  She hears her husband say psychosomatic medicine, international cartels, and bureaucratic centralization and gets upset.  “Reality”

Elizabeth ~ Elizabeth Style and Robby are work and bed partners.  She works with him at his Literary Agency.  They had made future plans on moving up in the literary world and it never came to fruition.  They don’t seem to have any viable clients.  Elizabeth wishes she could freshen up her office with a fresh coat of paint and Robby decides to freshen up the office by hiring a pretty, young new secretary named Daphne Hill.  When Elizabeth thinks she overhears them making plans outside of work and after belittling and firing Daphne, she begins making plans of her own by calling and making a date with an old friend named Jim Harris*.  She’s not only having him over for dinner and drinks but also fantasizing about a new life with him.  She’d forgotten what he looks like but is sure he was a quiet, troubled man who needed sunlight and a warm garden just like she herself needed.

A Fine Old Firm ~ Mrs. Friedman stops by to meet Mrs. Concord because their sons are friends in the Army.  Mrs. Friedman starts trying to one up Mrs. Concord, then offers her son Charlie a job at her husband’s prestigious law firm and Mrs. Concord informs her that he’s already established with her husband’s oldest friend’s law firm.  Mrs. Concord has the final one up.

The Dummy ~ Two women, Mrs. Wilkins and Mrs. Straw go to dinner at a respectable entertainment restaurant where they’re seated in the back.  This bothers Mrs. Wilkins but not Mrs. Straw, who’s only interested in filling her stomach.  She’s mesmerized by a woman in a green dress whose one of the entertainers.  Another is a scrawny ventriloquist.  Mrs. Straw says she hasn’t seen a ventriloquist since she was a kid.  As part of the act, the dummy is crude and begins to berate the woman in the green dress calling her an old bag.  Mrs. Straw is so flabbergasted that she gets up and slaps the crap out of the dummy thinking the act is real.  Mrs. Straw seems to be the dummy as ventriloquism has greatly changed over the ages.

Seven Types of Ambiguity ~ A couple visit an old bookstore intending to buy several book sets.  As the woman comes down the stairs to the basement, Mr. Harris*, the owner of the bookstore tells the woman to watch the bottom step; there’s one more than people think.  The boy who was in the basement reading stopped to listen.  He asks if he can look at the Empson again and Mr. Harris told him he’d have it read before he buys it at this rate.  When he brought it back, he offered to help the man find some books since the man only seemed to be familiar with Dickens.  He suggests Thackeray, Meredith, some Bronte, and Jane Austen and the man decides to take them all.  He can’t get over how smart the boy is and asks him about the book he was looking at before.  The boy told him that it was aesthetics about literature.  After they had picked out the books, as the boy was leaving he told Mr. Harris that they’d be busy reading for a while and he’d be back to look at the Empson again.  When the man paid for his books he asked to look at the Empson and frowning decided to buy it for himself.  He didn’t even know what it was.

Come Dance with Me in Ireland ~ While three neighbor ladies were chatting, a drunk Irishman rings the bell.  He’s selling shoelaces but feigns weakness and Mrs. Archer tells her friend Kathy to help him in.  The third and older woman, Mrs. Corn knows right off that he’s a drunk but the younger women insist he needs something to eat or drink.  Kathy recognizes that he has an Irish name and he then says he knew Yeats and begins to recite a few lines from the poem “I Am of Ireland.”  They serve him food and a glass of wine and he goes on his way but not without having the last word in at Mrs. Corn by saying he hates old women.

Part Four: ~ Narrative excerpt from “Sadducismus Triumphatus”  Joseph Glanvill ~   When we decide to leave our inherently good nature and go to the dark side, we expose ourselves to the evils that lie therein.

Of Course ~Mrs. Tyler is excited when she sees new neighbors moving in.  After noticing the boy and his mother, she thinks to herself ‘nice people, OBVIOUSLY’.  As she watches her daughter Carol talking to them, she decides to go out and introduce herself.  She invites the little boy James to join her daughters at the movies and Mrs. Harris informs her that they don’t go to the movies.  Or read the newspaper, or like music.  Of course.

Pillar of Salt ~Brad and Margaret are going for a vacation in NYC.  They hadn’t been to the city in over a year.  Margaret had a tune stuck in her head but couldn’t remember where it was from.  It was further back than NY though.  That she knew.  Brad claimed to know it as well but neither could place it.  She was enjoying the train ride and thinking about all the other ‘unfortunate’ travelers.  Upon arriving in New York, very slowly at first, she begins to notice the city has changed and to her it seems to be falling apart.  It begins to seem ancient.  She then begins to have panic attacks.  While visiting friends on Long Island they go for a walk on the beach that seems oddly familiar to Margaret and at the same time she remembers the tune.  A double recognition.  The tune was of a golden world in which she escaped to in order to avoid the everyday dreariness.  About that time, a leg washes up on the beach.  Then their weekend host tells them of an arm that had recently washed up.  That night in bed she tells Brad that she supposes it starts in the suburbs that people start to fall apart.  She then really comes apart herself when they return back to the city.  I suppose that by looking forward to NY then recalling the dreariness of the past, Margaret becomes a pillar of salt.

Men with Their Big Shoes ~ It was Mrs. Hart’s first summer to live in a big country house.  Her first baby was on its way.  It was the first time she’d ever had a real maid.  It was a time for many firsts for Mrs. Hart.  She raved to all her friends about how Mrs. Anderson, her new maid was a real treasure.  After about a month Mrs. Hart began to notice that her reservations about Mrs. Anderson were justified.  Not only did the maid begin complaining about having to clean up after the couple, Mrs. Anderson had begun berating Mr. Hart in front of Mrs. Hart and to all the neighbors, suggesting he was a drinker and a womanizer.   Next, the maid attempts to goad Mrs. Hart into allowing her to move in with them.  Still thinking about how she would describe her new maid to her friends back in the city by telling them she was a jewel to live with them, Mrs. Hart suddenly realized that she was lost.  She is afraid of the maid.

The Tooth ~ Clara Spencer, who had a throbbing toothache, went into the city to visit a dentist.  Her husband had given her money and taken her to the bus station, reassuring her that she would be alright.  She felt dizzy and light-headed because she had taken codeine, a sleeping pill and had some whiskey.  On the bus a man in a blue suit named Jim* sat next to her and helped her while reciting words from Homer’s “The Odyssey” and Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.” While at the dentist, the nurses only refer to her as ‘Lower Molar’.  They never call her by her actual name.  During the extraction while under sedation, she is dreaming of Jim and then wakes up in the middle of her dream having lost her true identity.  She can’t seem to remember who she is and as she walks out to leave, Jim approaches her and they walk away together.

Got a Letter from Jimmy ~ A woman ponders the sanity of men while putting away dishes.  Meanwhile the man, presumably her husband comes home from work and tells her he got a letter from Jimmy*.  He tells her he isn’t going to open it but rather send it back.  This ultimately drives the woman insane because she wants to read the letter.  An earlier contrast in the differences between women and men or husbands and wives?

The Lottery ~ The lottery took place June 27 on a clear and sunny day.  It took less than two hours.  The boys began building a big pile of stones while the girls watched nearby.  Their parents were discussing everyday business for a while.  Finally, Mr. Summers brought out the black box causing a stir among the villagers.  The man of each family does the drawing.  Mr. Summers began calling out all the names in alphabetical order.  Anxiety builds.  A long pause.  Then everyone opens their folded piece of paper to look at the name.  It was Bill Hutchinson.  There was another drawing for the Hutchinson family and Tessie’s name was drawn.   She won the lottery and the villagers began taking rocks from the pile and stoned her to death.

Part Five: Epilogue ~ The Daemon Lover: Child Ballad 243 James Harris,  A Scottish ballad about the devil returning for his woman where he sweeps her away by sea to a faraway land which she thinks is heaven but is really hell.

While listening to this audiobook I developed a unique relationship with the stories.  This is why.  I first read Shirley Jackson in one of my college English courses.  I absolutely love, love, love her genius and her unwavering stamina to have written so many incredible stories based on many controversial subjects of that time.  I feel as if I somewhat know her more than ever now.  Every story sent me down an avenue of study in which I feel I came through with a better knowledge and understanding of who Shirley Jackson was and what she was writing about.  I cannot recommend this audiobook enough.  It is entirely and purely genius.  And as I say that, I also want to include the voice actors because I wholeheartedly believe that they put a lot of work into this book to emphasize the characters with perfectly articulated voice inflections.  This is a must listen to audiobook.  UNforgettable!

I received a review copy of this audiobook from http://audiobookjukebox.squarespace.com/solid-gold-reviewer/

© 2014 crystalzen © Teresa W.

When Death Loved an Angel

When Death Loved an Angel

 

 

Publisher’s Summary

Death loved his existence. He charmed women, completed his list, and was content until the day he tried to kill Gregan Parker and came face to face with Gregan’s guardian angel. She fought for the man’s life, challenging Death the way no angel ever had. In the face of her defiance, he felt his heart do something it hadn’t for centuries; it beat. Death found himself falling for the angel, but she already loved Gregan, a man who had never seen her.

Watching Nyra love a man who didn’t know of her existence could terminate Death’s heart when it had just begun to beat, but taking away the one thing she cared about would destroy any chance he had with her. Could Death truly put himself last and risk letting his love slip through his fingers, or would he figure out a way to save both his heart and the angel who stole it?

©2013 Cheree Alsop (P)2014 Cheree Alsop

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My Review ~ ★★★★★ ~ 5 Stars

When Death Loved an Angel

This was such an amazingly sweet story.  I was hooked almost immediately.  Nyra is a guardian angel whose been assigned to watch over Gregan who was hit by a drunk driver named Mark Jeffries.   Her assignments come from the place of accounting where the other angels are.  When Death entered Gregan’s hospital room to take him, she argued for his life.  Death had seen her crying and left.  Something had changed him.  She did.  He had never seen an angel cry before.  He didn’t take Gregan but returned everyday to check on him and to see Nyra.  When he was in human form he told her he was Gregan’s brother.  When it was time for Death to do his job, the names of the people he would have to take appeared on his arm like a tattoo.  As long as Gregan was alive, his name stayed on Death’s arm getting darker everyday as a reminder.

The story shifts back and forth from Nyra’s point of view to Death’s, which I thought added extra neatness to the story.  Also chapter 13 was Death’s chapter.  Very clever.  There’s a good amount of interest with the story as Nyra interacts with Death and he shows some heart or human emotion.  He doesn’t like his job and begins to save a few of the people whose names show up on his arm.  A little girl named Kenzie Mills whose mother’s name came up was able to see him and she knew who he was and asked him to save her mother.  This was sweet.  Another was Rosemary Abbott who was glad to see him as she was ready to go home to be with her loved ones.  He remembered her because he had taken her husband several years before.  Each time he takes someone, he can see their lives flash before him.

Nyra spends her fair share of saving lives as well while keeping vigil at Gregan’s bedside even after she is dismissed from him for arguing for a life.  Her and Death slowly begin to have feelings for one another.  His only problem is that whenever she asked him his name he told her it was Devon.  But in the end love always prevails.

About the narrator:  Michele Carpenter’s performance was outstanding.  She had the perfect voice for this audiobook.  Soft and sweet for Nyra and boyish for Death.  There are a few places in this audiobook that I won’t give away that all I can say is WOW with Michele’s voice.  She is a wonderful voice actor and I hope to listen to more from her in the future.  I definitely recommend checking this audiobook out.

 Audiobook gifted in exchange for review.

© 2014 crystalzen © Teresa W.

 

The Assassin’s Wife

The Assassin's Wife

 

 

Publisher’s Summary

Drama professor Meg Coles is in a state of shock after her husband is terminated and she barely escapes the killers. Now she is on the run, on the F.B.I.’s most wanted list, and a fugitive of the law and of government assassins. She learns that she knows very little about the man she’s been married to for ten years. She must become a criminal to survive and to find out the truth, and she must get answers before the death teams silence her permanently.

©2011 Roger Weston (P)2014 Roger Weston

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My Review ~ ★★★★ ~ 4 Stars

The Assassin’s Wife

The Assassin’s Wife: A Thriller was an interesting listen.  Meg and Eric Cole are spending a week in their cabin when Meg sees her husband carrying a coffin-shaped box to the shed and acting suspicious.  She didn’t like being lied to and felt that he was hiding something from her.  About that time the phone rang and it was for Eric.  He said it was Len Ackerman and that there was a problem with one of their properties in Seattle but she knew it wasn’t his voice.

While sleeping that night Meg hears the floor creaking ever so quietly and notices that Eric isn’t in bed with her.  A strange man is looming over her and bullets begin to fly.  Eric is killed but has time to give her instructions on what to do before he passes.  He tells her he isn’t who she thinks he is.   He tells her to go to their nearest neighbor and friend, Bill Hagerman and have him take her to Lomax.  Upon arriving at Hagerman’s with the box in tow, Bill isn’t there but rather a man named Neil claiming to be Bill’s brother.  Meg learns that now she’s in a fight for the truth and for her life but she has to follow the instructions that Eric has left on a DVD or she’ll be killed.  She has to become an assassin.

I felt the story was a good thriller but could have been an edge of your seat thriller.  Where it fell short for me was the believable factor.  There were several scenes that would be impossible such as Meg lugging around a large box filled with $7 million in cash.  Another instance was when Meg went to see the man her husband instructed her to see and in order to prove who she was, she had to tell him the name of her favorite play.  Lastly, it began to feel redundant when the author kept reiterating the fact that Meg was a drama professor.  The story was good, however I felt that the author rushed it by leaving out key details that would have made the story more cohesive.

About the narrator:  Kitty Hendrix did a wonderful job as always with her performance.  She has good character differentiation.  Her voice inflections were very good and it was paced perfectly.   Her tone was just right for Meg and I feel that she was the saving grace of this story.  Overall I would recommend listening to this audiobook for a good thriller.

Audiobook gifted in exchange for review.

© 2014 crystalzen © Teresa W.

 

Keepers & Killers: Alchemy Series, Volume 2

Keepers and Killers

  • Written by: Donna Augustine
  • Narrated by: Laurel Schroeder
  • Length: 5 hrs and 56 mins