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The Secret Diary of Alice In Wonderland Age 42 and three-quarters by Barbara Silkstone

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Poor Alice.  As a Miami real estate agent, her boss Leslie, could be part of a show called Worst Bosses. He is cruel, inappropriate, and will not release her from her contract of working for him.  She is pretty sure if given the chance, he would behead someone…. “Off with their head!”

In her dreams, Alice feels that if she could just escape Leslie’s grip she could start a new life… meet a man… move on… and not always feel like she fell down a rabbit hole. 

When Alice does meet someone on-line, an Englishman she starts to chat with through emails and on the phone, Alice falls for his accented voice that almost seems to put her in a trance.  With visions of John Cleese in her head, she flies to England to meet Nigel Channing… even his name could melt a hardened heart.

While Nigel isn’t everything she pictured, she finds herself falling for him anyway.  Yet back in Miami things are becoming increasingly strange as her boss takes her court for false accusations involving selling a property and pocketing the down payment… all of which is untrue and Alice swears she can feel herself shrinking away.  Suddenly nothing in her life seems real, Nigel comes with a lot of baggage… A LOT.  And as old enemies try to befriend her, Alice really doesn’t know who she can trust…

Is there such a  thing as Alice in Wonderland syndrome?

 

 

I chose The Secret Diary Of Alice In Wonderland because it had a cute title and eye-catching cover. Perhaps a break down a rabbit hole could be a fun experience…

I however struggled with the strange connections, and found it hard to believe that someone as pretty as Alice would fall for someone the likes of Nigel Channing.  ( I think that love of strong independent women characters kicked in here and I did not like Alice’s inability to find someone right for her) Once author Barbara Silkstone started describing Nigel and all of his quirks and so on and so on, yet Alice stayed interested in him, I lost my belief in the storyline.

I hung in there until the end though as I was curious as to what would happen with Alice and the false accusations of her boss and the shady people who surrounded her…. all in all, the book for me felt way to out there.

Know that I seem to be in the minority on this one.  Reviews on Amazon rate this one high.  If you do like this, Barbara Silkstone has many books with a similar fun theme:

Wendy Darlin – Tomb Raider

Miami Mummies

Wendy And The Lost Boys

Zo White and The Seven Morphs

Just to name a few…

 

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Alice worked in Miami Florida, giving me Florida for this challenge.

Thank you to Author Barbara Silkstone and to Audio Jukebox for allowing me a chance to listen to and review this audio book.

LOve Life by Rob Lowe

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I LOVE LOVE LOVED Rob Lowe’s book Things I Only Tell My Friends when I listened to it on audio in 2011.  His narration is superb and if you are an audio person and seriously even if you are not….) you are in for a super treat by listening to either of his books.

In Love Life, Rob (oh may I call him Rob?  ;)  ) not only covers his loves through his life of family, relationships, and his sons; but also his love of acting.  Just listening to him share some of his moments from Behind The Candelabra, Killing Kennedy, The Stand, and Untouchable, just to name a few, caused me to go out and rent some of these movies.  Just a couple of days ago I watched Behind The Candelabra, and tonight I hope to see Untouchable; two of the movies Rob discusses as taking great liberties with his character and finding it to pay off. 

 

“Adventure is important in life. Making memories matters. It doesn’t have to be a secret seaplane and a historic sports moment, but to have a great life you need great memories. Grab any intriguing offer. Say yes to a challenge and to the unknown. Be creative in adding drama and scope to your lfe. Work at it like a job. Money from effort comes and goes, but effort from imagination and following adventure creates stories that you keep forever. And anyone can do it.”
Rob Lowe, Love Life

 

What is enjoyable about this audio for someone like me who grew up on his movies is not only the memories; but also to listen to his humor as he describes totally blowing lines during a live show where he actually gave away part of the plot that should not have been released yet; but in a panic recovered nicely.

It’s also refreshing to listen to someone who truly loves his wife and his family; and instead of the so often “its all about me you can hear in memoirs”, you can tell that Rob truly loves his wife as much as he did when he married her and adores his two sons who he has made a n effort as they have grown, to be a part of their every day lives, separating the husband and dad from the actor.

Finely written and utterly engaging, if you have any interest at all in the man, his career in front of the screen and behind the scenes), or the movies he partakes in the ones he wanted to be, and the ones he should have been in…. absolutely do not hesitate to read on listen to this book.

I eagerly await what he will write about next.

 

The Taker by Alma Katsu

1bbHistorical beauty meets fantasy paranormal in a way that rocked my world… ~ Sheila

 

When Lanore Mcllyrae is brought into the hospital in hand cuffs, Dr. Luke Findley can not help but be drawn to her.  Lanore is a rare kind of beauty, one that seems to outstretch time, and before Luke even knows what he is doing – he is helping this woman escape…

Lanore’s life story goes beyond one life span… beyond mortality as Lanore tells her tale of a love so pure she found she would do anything to preserve it, but the cost was higher than she ever could have dreamed. 

 

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Which cover do you like best? Why?

The Taker is one of those books that I have wanted to read for the past few years and never seemed to get to it.  Now that I have (in audio format) I am kicking myself for waiting so long.  Where was I when everyone else was gushing about it? 

However, one of the beauties of chatting up this book now… is that the two follow-up books, The Reckoning and The Descent are both readily available so if you become engrossed in this amazing story you do not have to stop but can continue right on through the three books to what I can only imagine, is a pretty engrossing tale.

You…

are welcome. :)

The Taker, narrated beautifully by Laura Lefkow, takes you from the turn of the 19th century where a poor young girl named Lanore, finds herself completely smitten with a  young man named Johnathon, even though their families are not friendly to one another, even though Johnathon is a few years older than she, and even though Johnathon has captured the eye of many of the young ladies of the area and he knows all to well his power over their hearts.

And then –

through a powerful tale you are taken through some incredible happenings that takes Lanore out of the comfort of everything she holds near and dear to a world she is unfamiliar with, of men and women alike who will serve a powerful man in any way he chooses to be served – to a man who will be the death of the old Lanore, but bring forth a woman she barely recognizes….

A powerful read that should not be missed.  Author Alma Katsu comes out of the gate as a debut author who smokes past the competition.  Read it.  Listen to.  You would never guess that this is a debut novel.

The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger

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Sophie Diehl is very happy at her pace in a New England Law Firm as a Criminal Law Associate.  And… if she does say so herself, she is a pretty darn good one too.  One weekend when everyone is out of the office either on other business or on vacation, Sophie is tasked with doing an intake interview for divorce proceedings for a daughter of a high-profile client. 

It is just the intake interview, Sophie is assured, but Mia Meiklejohn Durkheim likes Sophie’s “take no prisoner” attitude and decides that Sophie is who she wants to represent her.  So much in fact, that she is willing to pay double to secure her services.  While Sophie does everything she can to politely pass, the partners of the firm assure her that is she is who Mia wants…. then she is who Mia will get.

*gulp*

With the help of a couple of the divorce lawyers in the firm, and facing the wrath of the female partner who is actually a divorce lawyer who would have received this case had she not been on vacation, Fiona McGregor, Sophie struggles through using her skills as a criminal lawyer to create an interesting divorce case.

 

 

 

I have this in book format and I downloaded it on Audible as well.  I went audio due to wanting to get to the book, but not having the time to sit and read. 

At first as I started listening to this audio, I was surprised to pick up on the fact that this book was going to be told in correspondence… IE. emails, letters, post it notes….  (In hindsight I really do not know why I was surprised… after all it is called DIVORCE PAPERS).  :oops:  I was really hoping that there would be more of the story told out of the context of written communications…

Then…

I got into the rhythm of the book, finding myself looking forward to correspondence with certain people, such as Sophie’s communications with David, her boss who was working on the case as support to her lack of divorce law knowledge. I enjoyed his voice and when I would hear his narration start I would get excited to hear what he had to say.

Yes there is a lot of law speak.  It did become a bit tedious that almost all of  the correspondence started with a date, an address, who the correspondence was too, who it was copied too, and what attachments there were to go along with said correspondence.  For this, I think the audio served me well as I imagine that with all this information I would skim if I had read the book.  For that matter, correspondence that did not interest me I probably would have skimmed as well, and again the audio does not allow for that so I probably did the book more justice by listening to it.

I enjoyed The Divorce Papers.  I actually learned a few things that take place in such proceedings, and the knowledge seeker in me enjoyed that.  To me, the story was a bit over the top with both parties of the divorce either having money at the ready, or high dollar property in their name as well as collections such as paintings…  this however did not dampen my enjoyment of the read. 

 

 

 

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

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Lincoln O’Neil would not have applied for the job of “Internet Security Officer” if he would have known it was going to be this.

Having accepted the position with images of putting his computer knowledge to work in tasks like fire walls and repairs.  He was shocked to find himself working the night shift and basically reading the email exchanges between employees to make sure they were work related; and if they were not, writing up reports on them. 

When Lincoln finds the conversations going on between two employees, Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder, he knows he should file a report.  Instead, Lincoln finds himself absorbed in their conversations and can not bring himself to put a stop to it.  Soon, he finds that he is looking forward to work just to see what the two girls will be talking about, and through the email exchanges, he finds that he is becoming attracted to Beth.

Now Lincoln is in a real pickle.  He would love to meet Beth, but now he knows so many intimate and personal things about her, how can he?

 

 

Attachments is another fun read by Rainbow Rowell.  Rainbow has a way with creating fun scenario’s with her protagonists.  She did this in Fangirl, and in Eleanor and Park

I enjoyed reading (quite honestly) the exchanges of the two girls Beth and Jennifer.  Much like Lincoln, I too was captivated by their humor and some of the more serious topics they covered.  I think that is exactly where Rainbow Rowell wanted her readers, right in the shoes of Lincoln. 

It’s funny to say I “read their emails” as I listened to this one on audio.  Perhaps that feeling that I was there is chalked up to the impressive narration of Laura Hamilton.  She navigated through this book smoothly, easily giving each character their own voice. 

Attachments, as all of Rainbow Rowell’s books that I have read/listened to at this time, are worth spending time with.  Unique and fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

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West Hall, Vermont has, like many small towns, urban legends.  The towns most notorious story is one a woman named Sarah Harrison Shea who in the early 1900′s was found in a bloody heap, dead, just months after her own young daughter Gertie had tragically died.  Through the years, in the woods that were a part of West Hall, other mysterious deaths and disappearances had taken place, only adding fuel to the legend. The truth of what had happened to Sarah was never discovered but the elaborate stories were ones told around camp fires and during moonless nights….

Now, over 100 years later, 19-year-old Ruthie lives with her mother Alice and her little sister Fawn in the very farmhouse that once belonged to the infamous Sarah.  One morning the girls wake to find their mother Alice missing with no sign of where she may have gone.  As Ruthie explores her mother’s room for clues she finds part of a diary under the floor boards that says it is the secret diary of Sarah Harrison Shea. As Ruthie begins to read the diary she finds it is filled with stories of people called sleepers, those brought back to life from the dead.  Sarah not only believed it was possible, she explained how she did it for her daughter Gertie, and… even more alarming, how to bring anyone back to life.

Sheila’s observation:  Have we learned nothing from Stephen King’s Pet Cemetery?  Bringing people back from the dead is never a good idea…

 

The Winter People brought up reminiscence of The Returned, and yes, Pet Cemetery.  How often have we thought if we only had a second chance with someone who had passed away unexpectedly and/or far too young?  How far would one go to bring that person back if they could?  AND time after time in our literature we have discovered….  they never come back the way they were.  (Walking Dead anyone?  Just not a great time….  :razz:  )

This opening description might make you think this book is dark, but actually it is not so much dark as it is just a very interesting tale that travels back and forth seamlessly between Sarah’s time of 1908 , and Ruthie’s life of current time.  As you read, Sarah’s story as told through her diary entries and see her life move forward as Ruthie, reading the diary all these years later follows the book back in time to hopefully find a connection to her mother’s disappearance. 

Beautifully narrated by Cassandra Campbell and Kathe Mazur.  I found Winter People to be a familiar tale, but told in a different way that was unique and that made it a decent read.

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Winter People fills the Vermont slot in this challenge

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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In he year 2044 the earth as we have known it is no more.  Now a world of mostly poverty and destruction, people find it is better to spend their time inside a virtual world called the Oasis, created by a genius named James Halliday who has a mad fondness of all thing’s 80′s (ie… arcade games, music, movies, restaurants…)  The Oasis is a large virtual world that encompasses many worlds within and to access beyond the first world, real money is used.  In the Oasis, you can create an Avatar (an icon or figure representing a particular person in computer games, Internet forums, etc.), to represent you.  An Avatar can assume any type of body and look as well as an alias name.

Wade Watts is a teenage student who spends as much time as possible in the Oasis.  Here he is more than the overweight slightly acne faced teen… in the Oasis he is Parzival, a taller, leaner, handsomer version of himself.  As Wade lives in a very impoverish state, he spends most of his time on the free parts of the Oasis.

When it is announced that the mega billionaire Halliday has passed away and left an elaborate game plan in his will with hints and clues to the ultimate prize – all of his billions of riches and the ownership of the Oasis; the world goes wild.  Thousands upon thousands of people are trying to figure out the clues that will lead them to the keys that open up more clues….

and five years go by with no one any closer to the treasure than when it was announced. 

Many of the treasure hunters – “gunters” as they are called, have fallen away believing that perhaps this was just the last craziness of a sick old man and nothing more.  And then….

Wade figures out the first clue. 

Suddenly the news is filled with the mysterious Avatar “Parzival”.  Wade’s true identity becomes even more important to keep secret as the hunt inside the Oasis is back up in full force.  Not all of those involved are part of the friendly competition. A large corporation called IOI wants the Oasis and all the treasures for themselves and they will stop at nothing to get what they want.  Now Wade, and a handful of fellow Avatars that he would like to call friends, are playing for their lives.

Ready Player One?

Yes that is a long synopsis.  Yet as I thought about this, this is how I would describe the book to a friend.  There is nothing here that gives anything away… not by a long shot. This book is so full of fun twists and turns and awesome (AWESOME!) 80′s references you will not want to stop once you are started. 

You do not need to be a gamer to love this book.  While I do love games and am an 80′s girl… I was not big into the arcade scene.  Let me say that you do need to be to appreciate the book and the dystopian feel to it. 

Did I mention that I love this book?

Long time readers of Book Journey may be scratching their head thinking they have heard me RAVE about this book before.  You would be right. In December of 2011 I listened to this book on audio and reviewed it then as well. To this day, it is still one of the best audio books I have ever listened to.  Narrator Wil Wheaton could read the back of a cereal box to me and I would be all like “Go Wil, read about the red dye #5 again!”  Yes, he is that great.  In fact – earlier today I was looking for other books narrated by him just so I could listen to him again.  I would like him to be the voice on my Garmin, the sound of my alarm…. you get the picture. ;)

Two years later, I still love this book.  I chose to listen to it again recently when I went the 3 1/3 hours to our cabin in a car alone.  I love being alone in a car for road trips so I can listen to audio.  It was just as incredible as the first time.

Seriously – I am not the only one raving about this book.  If you have read this, please rave with me. If you have not… please grab this one on audio and treat yourself to something AMAZING!

Rumors have it that the movie rights to Ready Player One have been sold. 

(And now I am going to go and read my original review which I have not allowed myself to do until I wrote this one ;) )

*Update:  Upon reading my original review I found that I had made two predictions in that review… both have come true. :D

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Ready Player One is set in Oklahoma

The Broken Path by Cami Checketts

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Ethan Searle is a good looking guy by all accounts.  With his legs injured in an accident as a child, he feels that when women do look at him it is with pity.  Love has been something that has never really worked out for him.

Then one day while leaving church, Ethan catches the eye of two year old Britton and he thinks this beautiful little girl may have just stole his heart away.  Unfortunately, one look from Britton’s mother Autumn as she at first cautiously looks Ethan over, and then with pity when she sees his legs, and Ethan knows all to well that familiar rejection.

Autumn, carries her own ghosts.  After escaping an abusive marriage that left her miscarrying her first child and then escaping while pregnant with Brit, Autumn has no room in her heart for anyone but her own mother and Brit.

But does anyone know the magic that a two year old blue eyed baby girl holds in the palm of her hand?  As Autumn starts to warm up to Ethan and dare herself to possibly dream of a future together, she is unaware of the danger that is approaching.  Trent, her ex husband is recently out of jail and he has one thing on his mind, reclaiming what is his…. and what is his in his mind… is Autumn.

 

 

I have enjoyed Cami Checkett’s writing in the past.  I was first introduced to her writing in Sister Pact that I really enjoyed, and then again in Dead Running.  The Broken Road is the first of Cami’s books that I have listened to on audio.

The Broken Road is a sweet listen.  It reminded me a little of some of Nicholas Spark earlier works, perhaps a bit predictable, but good all the same.  I found Britton to be perhaps me favorite character, sweet and innocent she brought not only glue to Ethan and Autumn, but to the book itself.

Narrator Christy Crevier brought a sweet smooth rhythm to the audio. My only complaint was that the voice of Autumn came across as so young sounding that I found myself considering her age rather than listening, her voice sounded to be around 18 instead of a girl who had been married in her 20′s.

Autumn also comes across as a bit babyish at times, not only in narration, but in actions and words.  While not a deal breaker, it was annoying at times.

The story as a whole is a good one.  Checkett once again writes three dimensional characters that make for a pleasant reading experience.  As I mentioned earlier, fans of Sparks and clean light romance reads will enjoy this one.

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The Broken Path is set in Idaho.

Then Again by Diane Keaton

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Diane Keaton was born Diane Hall in 1946 (two years before my mother was born!).  After studying in the arts and graduating she took her mother’s maiden name Keaton as her own.  Then Again is a recap of Diane’s years growing up with a mom (Dorothy) who spent her early mom years reaching for something more by entertaining contests (and sometimes winning – Mrs. Los Angelas for Homemakers !).  Diane adored her, right through her golden years and her battle with Alzheimer. It was her moms early influence that caused Diane to want to be an actress. It is also about Diane’s battle with food addiction, and of course her movies.  She spends time talking about her earlier movies (many I have never seen) as well as the leading men not only on the screen, but in her life like Woody Allen, Warren Beaty, and Al Pacino.

Hmmmm….. I love the movies I have seen with Diane Keaton in them.  I have fond memories of The First Wives Club, Hanging Up, Father Of The Bride 1 and 2, Somethings Gotta Give, The Family Stone and Because I Said So.  She has always been that actress that is effortlessly funny. Needless to say when I started seeing positive murmurs of this memoir Then Again on the blogs, I knew I wanted to listen to it on audio as Diane Keaton narrates it herself.

Listening to Then Again is like sitting down and talking with Diane.  It was pleasant to listen to this as she reads like she is talking, with emotion, and sighs, laughs, and pauses.  At times, Diane is a slow steady pace and will list things or repeat sentences, like types of foods, or emotions, (and at one point even her bank account numbers!) which gave me a feeling she was trying to stretch her words.

I did like Then Again. She puts a lot more attention on the movies from her earlier career then the ones that I am more familiar with, but maybe that just gives me reason to watch some of her older movies.  She also spends a lot of time talking about her mother, and I was hoping for more Diane, but it was still interesting and I did come out the other side knowing a little more about the person I see on the screen.

 

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Then Again is mainly set in California, where Diane currently lives.

 

Parkland by Vincent Bugliosi

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The morning held promise.  John F Kennedy prepared for his day where he would be in a motorcade in Dallas Texas,on a route that would give him the most exposure tot he people.  It looked as though it would be a wonderful day.

Lee Harvey Oswald started his day out early.  By the time his wife Marina awoke, a note had been left for her with some cash stating to go and buy something that the children needed.  This was highly unusual for Owsald.

As the two mens lives and deaths collide as the morning rolls out and by 12:30 in the afternoon as Kennedy’s motorcade rolls past the Texas School Book Depository a gun shot shatters through the air.

Kennedy, rushed to Parkland Hospital and as the medics try to save the Presidents life, they are to no avail and President Kennedy is pronounced dead within an hour of the gun shot.

As the story wraps around Parkland and Oswald and witnesses and investigations… it is interesting to know that Oswald himself will be at this very same hospital, at Parkland, fighting for him life within 40 hours.

 

 

At the time of Kennedys death I was not even a thought yet.  Kennedy was gone 4 years before I ever had a breath in my lungs, yet isn’t it amazing how I as well as others of my age and younger still can feel such compassion and pain for the loss of this man.

Parkland, originally titled Four Days In November is about the events that surrounded Kennedy’s untimely death as well as the timeline of Oswald during that same day and the next few days afterwards.

I listened to Parkland on audio and this was one of those audios that kept me in the car in the garage long after I arrived home so I could find out what would happen next.  Well done, Vincent is an amazing writer and George Newbern also narrated well for a difficult historic recap of the Kennedy Assassination.

Definitely take the time to listen to this one.

 

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