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Alone with Mr. Darcy: A Pride & Prejudice Variation by Abigail Reynolds (audio)

Source: Audible
Audiobook: 9+ hours
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Alone with Mr. Darcy: A Pride & Prejudice Variation by Abigail Reynolds, narrated by Elizabeth Klett, is swoon-worthy.  Mr. Darcy is in a dire struggle with his emotions for Elizabeth Bennet, and even as he has resolved to not act on those feelings, fate steps in and changes his course.  Elizabeth happens upon him in a blizzard, and she cannot in good conscience leave him on the roadside to perish.  Alone with Mr. Darcy is the last place she wants to be given his perplexing manner and his pride, but she has little choice as the snow gets deeper and deeper.  As the snow levels on the ground rise, Lizzy finds herself in deeper than she ever expected where it concerns Mr. Darcy, who is injured and confused.  Despite the damage to her reputation, she remains with him for several days in a secluded cabin, with little to keep them apart.

Klett does a commendable job voicing all of the female and male characters, each of them easily discernible.  She’s got the accents right and the attitudes correct for each character.  Her rendition of the banter between Lizzy, Darcy, Richard, Charlotte, and Darcy’s steward will have readers laughing at the absurdity of it all, especially regarding all of Darcy’s well thought out plans without his own knowledge.  Reynolds understands that there is a need not only for social observation in a Pride & Prejudice variation but also witty banter.

Alone with Mr. Darcy: A Pride & Prejudice Variation by Abigail Reynolds, narrated by Elizabeth Klett, is a nice re-imagining in which Lizzy and Darcy not only prevent themselves from giving in to their feelings, but the best intentions of family and friends end up throwing more obstacles in their way.  Reynolds has created another charming variation of these beloved characters.

Rating: Quatrain

Other Reviews:

About the Author:

Abigail Reynolds has spent the last fifty years asking herself what she wants to be when she grows up. This month she is a writer, a mother and a physician in a part-time private practice. Next month is anybody’s guess. Originally from upstate New York, she indecisively studied Russian, theater, and marine biology before deciding to attend medical school, a choice which allowed her to avoid any decisions at all for four years.

She began writing Pride & Prejudice variations in 2001 to spend more time with her very favorite characters. Encouragement from fellow Austen fans convinced her to continue asking ‘What if…?’, which led to seven other Pemberley Variations and two modern novels set on Cape Cod.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (audio)

Source: Audible
Audiobook, 11 hrs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins — narrated by Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher — is a mystery in which a woman with low self-esteem, who is an alcoholic, continues to stalk her ex-husband, mostly at a distance.  Rachel Watson’s divorce and drinking caused her to lose her job, but she still wakes up like clockwork to take the train into London so her roommate is unaware that she’s lost her job. She has some money saved, and even though she could be moving on with her life and getting a new job, she wallows in her sorrow at the bottom of a bottle, creating perfect, imaginary lives for the people she sees out the train windows.

Jason and Jess become a couple that she can imagine lives in marital bliss, but in reality, Megan and Scott Hipwell have a marriage that has lost its appeal, at least for Megan. She desires something more than what she has with Scott, who she fails to see as controlling even as he goes through her emails on a regular basis.  She wants her life to be more than just sitting at home waiting for her husband to come home.  Like Rachel, she is dissatisfied with what her life has become.

Rachel, meanwhile, is on the outside of her ex-husband’s life with his new wife and daughter, who continue to live in the house she and he used to live in, and she’s on the outside of the world looking in, much like she’s staring out the train windows.  She’s searching for something, she needs to belong to something, but what she ends up entangling herself in is something that could lead to her own death.  Meanwhile, her ex-husband’s new wife Anna is terrified of Rachel, worried that her stalking will turn to something more.

Listening to the audio was never boring and the different narrators helped when Hawkin’s story changed points of view.  Moreover, the narrator for Rachel really put you in the mindset of a broken woman who was down on herself, blamed herself, and was unable to break out of her self-destructive cycle of drinking and blacking out.  Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train is a twisted tale of the suburban lives we often perceive as idyllic, and the lives we believe we have but actually do not.  How well do we know our spouses, their experiences, their families, and how well do they know us?  Many of us have inner demons or secrets we would rather not face, so we lie about them to ourselves and those we love.

Rating: Quatrain

About the Author:

Paula Hawkins worked as a journalist for fifteen years before turning her hand to fiction. Born and brought up in Zimbabwe, Paula moved to London in 1989 and has lived there ever since. The Girl on the Train is her first thriller.

Mailbox Monday #360

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins which I received with my audible credit.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and every night. Every day she rattles over the same track junctions, flashes past the same stretch of cozy suburban homes. And every day she stops at the same signal and she sees the same couple, breakfasting on their roof deck, living the perfect life that Rachel craves for herself – a lifestyle she recently lost. She looks forward to observing this household every morning, even makes up names and narratives for its residents. Then one day Rachel sees someone new in their garden, and soon after, the woman who lived there disappears.

Unable to keep this information to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and in the process is drawn into the lives of the couple she thought of as Jason and Jess but whose names – she has learned from the news – are really Megan and Scott Hipwell.

But the police accuse Rachel of being unreliable, and it’s true that her memories can’t always be trusted. Plus there are the stories that her ex-husband’s new wife has been spreading about her. By the time Megan’s body is found, Rachel is in over her head, intricately entangled in the details of the investigation, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she put others in danger? Has she done more harm than good?

Born to Drum by Tony Barrell from Dey Street Books for review.

The pulse of rock ‘n’ roll—the drummer—finally gets its due in this unique, all-encompassing inside look at the culture and history of drumming

Beating the hell out of a drum kit is hard, sweaty, demanding work. Yet instead of being showered with respect, drummers are often viewed with derision—stereotyped as crazy, borderline psychotic, or just plain dumb. But as every musician knows, to have a great band you need a great drummer: Ginger Baker. John Bonham. Chad Smith. Stewart Copeland. Neil Peart.

For the first time, Tony Barrell shines a long-overdue spotlight on these musicians, offering an exciting look into their world, their art, and their personalities. In Born to Drum, Barrell explores the extraordinary history of the world’s most primitive instrument and the musicians who have made it legend. He interviews some of the most famous, revered, and influential drummers of our time—including Chad Smith, Ginger Baker, Clem Burke, Sheila E., Phil Collins, Nick Mason, Patty Schemel, Butch Vig, and Omar Hakim—who share astonishing truths about their work and lives. He investigates the stories of late, great drummers such as Keith Moon and John Bonham, analyzes many of the greatest drum tracks ever recorded, and introduces us to the world’s fastest and loudest drummers, as well as the first musician to pilot a “flying drum kit” onstage.

The Total Package by Stephanie Evanovich for review in March with TLC Book Tours.

Star quarterback, first-round draft-pick, and heartthrob Tyson Palmer has made a name for himself with his spectacular moves. When the head coach of the Austin Mavericks refuses to let him waste his million-dollar arm, Tyson makes a Hail Mary pass at redemption and succeeds with everyone . . . except Dani, whose negative comments about his performance draw high ratings and spectacular notices of her own.

Dani can’t forgive Tyson’s transgressions or forget the sizzling history the two of them shared in college, a passionate love Tyson casually threw away. And even more infuriating, he doesn’t realize that the bombshell with huge ratings is the cute girl whose heart he once broke.

But can a woman trying to claw her way to the top and a quarterback who knows all about rock bottom make it to the Super Bowl without destroying each other? And what will happen when Tyson—riding high now that he’s revived his career—realizes he needs to make an even more important comeback with Dani? Can he make some spectacular moves to get past her defenses—or will she sideline him for good?

What did you receive?

The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs by Greil Marcus, Read by Henry Rollins

Source: Audible
Audio, 7 hrs
I am an Amazon Affiliate

The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs by Greil Marcus, read by Henry Rollins, examines rock and roll history in a unique way, threading together not only U.S. history and the British invasion, but also the influences and changes that occur when new artists take on old songs and make them new.  The artists breathe new life into these songs based on their own experiences and influences, and while the songwriters are often in the background and not praised as much for their work writing them, they provide the backbone that sets these No. 1 hits on their paths to greatness.  Each chapter of the book is broken up to discuss a particular song, but Marcus’ writing style often seems like he’s just producing a name-dropping litany, rather than fleshing out the history of those songs.

The songs he selected were Shake Some Action; Transmission; In the Still of the Nite; All I Could Do Was Cry; Crying, Waiting, Hoping; Instrumental Break; Money (That’s What I Want) Money Changes Everything; This Magic Moment; Guitar Drag; and To Know Him Is To Love Him.  While the Beatles could not be ignored given their wide-ranging influence on rock and roll, Marcus does select songs and singers who were not necessarily as big, including Joy Division and others in Motown and other genres.  Rollins does a great job at pacing his reading of this book, but readers will still hear the run-on sentences and the excessive use of commas, as well as the tangential stream-of-conscious discussion that is all Marcus.

The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs by Greil Marcus, read by Henry Rollins, is an experimental thesis that the genesis of music is the interplay of chords, song, voice, and other factors, but it also strives to demonstrate how music from all genres influences not only what is produced today, but what has been produced previously.  While many would say that there is nothing new in music, Marcus would disagree — as he does in the interview with Rollins — saying that each artist places their own flavor and influence on a song, making it into something new.  The possibilities are endless.  While readers can appreciate Marcus’ musical knowledge and experience, as well as his tracking of history, the execution of this book bogs down the pacing and will leaver readers’ minds wandering.  An experience that, perhaps, could have been improved by some audio snippets of the songs he discusses.

About the Author:

Greil Marcus is the author of Mystery Train (1975), Lipstick Traces (1989), The Shape of Things to Come (2006), When that Rough God Goes Riding and Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus (both 2010), and other books. With Werner Sollors he is the editor of A New Literary History of America (2009). In recent years he has taught at Berkeley, Princeton, Minnesota, NYU, and the New School in New York. He lives in Oakland, California.

Mailbox Monday #308

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

Free e-books:

1.  A Long Christmas by Michelle Read

Can true love be found at Christmas?

What if Emily never went to the nineteenth century?

What if William went to the twenty-first century instead?

A twist on the original Centuries of Love Trilogy sees William waking up at Christmas in 2012.

Confused by this new modern era and why he has been brought here, he is soon relieved to find his wife, Emily, but is shocked when she doesn’t know who he is.

On discovering the nineteenth century tradition of kissing your true love by midnight on Twelfth Night or lose them forever, he realises it’s a race against time to make Emily fall in love with him all over again.

2.  Mansfield Ranch by Jenni James

Does true love really prevail?

All Lilly Price has ever known is living in the shadow of her widely successful foster family. But when a twist of fate deals Lilly the hand of Harrison Crawford, the most popular guy in Bloomfield, NM, everything flips upside down.

Sean Benally is a hard worker, he’s funny, he’s generous, and he’s kind. He’s also the most amazing guy Lilly has ever known. And she’s totally fallen in love with him. But he’s her foster brother…

Now she must choose between the unavailable love of her life — or the guy who promises to be available forever.

3.  Jane Austen and the Archangel by Pamela Aares

What’s to be done with an angel who breaks the rules? Introduce him to a woman known for her propriety, of course.

Until then, passion had lived only on the page…

Jane Austen hasn’t written a creative word in months. She secretly fears she may not have it in her to write a single word more about love. Yet when the mysterious Michael Grace appears on her doorstep, she’s cast into a world of emotion beyond even her wildest imaginings. Though she fears he might be a spy, she enlists his help to find her friend’s fiancé, missing in the Peninsular War. But Michael isn’t what he seems, and the passion and doubts he ignites turn everything Jane trusts upside down. What Jane doesn’t know is that her mystery man is an angel. One who’s never failed to get what he goes after.

Some rules just beg to be broken…

4. Mrs. Tuesday’s Departure by Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson

A heart-wrenching historical novel spanning seventy years, two continents, and a an imagined story that holds the power to create a safe future for a young girl. This page-turning family saga soars to a breathtaking ending that redefines the meaning of love.

When Natalie and Anna, sisters and life-long rivals, hide an abandoned child from the Nazis, their struggle re-opens a star-crossed love triangle, threatening their safety and testing the bonds of their loyalty.

Hungary’s fragile alliance with Germany insured that Natalie, a best selling children’s book author, and her family would be safe as World War Two raged through Europe. The Holocaust that has only been whispered about until now becomes a terrible reality for every Jewish family or those who hide Jews.

Beautiful but troubled Anna, a poet and university professor is losing her tenuous hold on reality, re-igniting a dangerous sibling rivalry that began in childhood. The streets of Budapest echo with the pounding boots of Nazi soldiers. Danger creeps to the doorstep where the sisters’ disintegrating relationship threatens to expose the child they are trying to protect. In one night, Anna’s rash behavior destroys their carefully made plans of escape, and Natalie is presented with a desperate choice. Interwoven with Natalie and Anna’s story, is Mila’s. The abandoned child whose future Natalie lovingly imagines in a story about an old woman named Mrs. Tuesday. Mrs. Tuesday’s Departure is an inspirational historical novel spanning two generations and exploring the unbreakable bonds of sisters.

5. Jane, Actually by Jennifer Petkus

With the invention of the AfterNet, death isn’t quite the end to a literary career it once was, and Jane Austen, the grande dame of English literature, is poised for a comeback with the publication of Sanditon, the book she was writing upon her death in 1817. But how does a disembodied author sign autographs and appear on talk shows? With the aid of Mary Crawford, a struggling acting student who plays the role of the Regency author who wrote Pride and Prejudice and Emma and Sense and Sensibility. But Austen discovers her second chance at a literary career also gives her a second chance at happiness and possibly even … love.

6.  Emma and Elizabeth by Ann Mychal

Once heiress to a large estate, Emma Watson, now penniless, is thrown back into the arms of the family she has not seen for fourteen years when Mrs Turner, her widowed guardian, accepts an offer of marriage from Captain O’Brien. On the eve of the first assembly of the season, Emma returns unexpectedly to Stanton, her family home.

Interest in the newcomer is heightened when Emma becomes the object of attention at the ball; admired by Lord Osborne, Tom Musgrave and Mr Howard, Emma’s debut at the local assembly seems nothing less than a triumph. But once her potential suitors are acquainted with the facts, will her lack of fortune make a difference?

Emma receives a mixed welcome at home, but finds a true friend in her eldest sister, Elizabeth. However, when duty to the family is tested to its limit, one sister is obliged to sacrifice her own happiness to ensure the happiness of the other.

Purchased:

7. Cozy Christmas Capers: Holiday Short Story Collection by Gemma Halliday, Janel Gradowski, etc.

19 holiday short stories by 19 New York Times, USA Today and award winning authors! Enjoy these tales of mystery, romance, and laughter amid the backdrop of pine tress, gingerbread men, and Santas galore! The perfect short bites for cozying up by the fire with a cup of cocoa…or waiting in line at gift wrapping!

 

For Review Consideration:

8. The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs by Greil Marcus, narrated by Henry Rollins from Audible.

Unlike all previous versions of rock ’n’ roll history, this book omits almost every iconic performer and ignores the storied events and turning points that everyone knows. Instead, in a daring stroke, Greil Marcus selects ten songs recorded between 1956 and 2008, then proceeds to dramatize how each embodies rock ’n’ roll as a thing in itself, in the story it tells, inhabits, and acts out—a new language, something new under the sun.

“Transmission” by Joy Division. “All I Could Do Was Cry” by Etta James and then Beyoncé. “To Know Him Is to Love Him,” first by the Teddy Bears and almost half a century later by Amy Winehouse. In Marcus’s hands these and other songs tell the story of the music, which is, at bottom, the story of the desire for freedom in all its unruly and liberating glory. Slipping the constraints of chronology, Marcus braids together past and present, holding up to the light the ways that these striking songs fall through time and circumstance, gaining momentum and meaning, astonishing us by upending our presumptions and prejudices. This book, by a founder of contemporary rock criticism—and its most gifted and incisive practitioner—is destined to become an enduring classic.

9. Scent of Butterflies by Dora Levy Mossanen from Sourcebooks and TLC Book Tours.

Such audacity she has, Soraya, a woman who dares to break free of the diamond-studded leash of her culture. A woman who refuses to accept the devastating betrayal her husband has perpetrated. A woman who refuses to forgive her best friend.

Soraya turns her back on Iran, fleeing to America to plot her intricate revenge. The Shah has fallen, her country is in turmoil, her marriage has crumbled, and she is unraveling. The cruel and intimate blow her husband has dealt her awakens an obsessive streak that explodes in the heated world of Los Angeles.

Yet the secret Soraya discovers proves far more devastating than anything she had imagined, unleashing a whirlwind of unexpected events that will leave the reader breathless.

What did you receive?

The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books Saved My Life by Andy Miller (audio)

Source: Audible
Audio, 9+ hours
I am an Amazon Affiliate

The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books Saved My Life by Andy Miller, narrated by the same, is a memoir about reading and books.  It begins with the “List of Betterment,” on which he lists books he has talked about in the past or claimed to have read, but has not.  These books reflect the type of person he envisions himself to be. He reads 12 of the 13 books completely and is awed by them, but to complete the list and be “like” Mr. Darcy and have integrity, he must complete Of Human Bondage as his penance, or so he tells his wife.

“It would be a good thing to buy books if one could also buy the time to read them; but one usually confuses the purchase of books with the acquisition of their contents.”

There are a number of footnotes in the book, which the audio calls attention to with an audible ding so that readers do not become confused.  However, because of these footnotes, it may be easier for readers to see them on the page, but I didn’t mind the alerts and digressions since most of us digress in traditional conversation and that’s what many of these footnotes seemed to be.

“A love of books and a love of reading is not the same thing,” Miller says, but even so, he is seriously enthralled and expands his list of books. Of particular interest to me were his comments on One Hundred Years of Solitude, which is the first book I quit after not quitting any books in 2014. His comments rung true to me, though he also piqued my interest in the overall meaning of the novel and perhaps renewed my interest in returning to it at some point.

The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books Saved My Life by Andy Miller, narrated by the same, is a fantastic read on audio or in print or ebook for any book lover and reader. Many of us are reading to escape our lives, but what if we read deliberately? Would we be able to achieve our goals and what books would be on your list of betterment?

About the Author:

Andy Miller is a reader, author, and editor of books. His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, Esquire, and Mojo. He lives in the United Kingdom with his wife and son.

 

 

 

 

A list of betterment (or books I wanted to read):

  1. Persuasion by Jane Austen (read in 2014)
  2. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  3. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  4. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  5. Travels With Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck
  6. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  7. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
  8. Villette by Charlotte Bronte (I started this in a read-a-long, had a baby, and never got back to it — it’s been 3+ years; I may have to start over!)

Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach, Illustrated by Ricardo Cortes, Read by Samuel L. Jackson

Adam Mansbach’s Go the F**k to Sleep, illustrated by Ricardo Cortes and read by Samuel L. Jackson, is a “children’s book for adults” that will have most parents nodding, “YES!”  As a new parent, this book made me agree wholeheartedly with its sentiments about how hard it is to get kids to go to sleep.

They are often too wired to sleep or simply too worried that they will miss something important by going to bed.

THIS IS NOT a book for children; it is for adults and would be considered humor.  This is not a review of the book’s illustrations because I listened to this book via audio from Audible.

Samuel L. Jackson is a natural narrator for this book because of his brash attitude in his movies and the reputation he’s garnered as a result.  His narration gains momentum as he continues reading through the rhymed story, and the frustration escalates.  It is this movement and cadence that will amuse readers as they shudder with understanding — kids that need a drink or want one more story read to them before sleeping.

“The wind whispers soft through the grass, hon.  The field mice, they make not a peep.  It’s been 38 minutes already.  Jesus Christ, what the f**k! Go to sleep!”

One drawback is that the word “f**k” is used from the very first lines throughout the book, but it may have been more effective to save its use for later on as the frustration gains ground.  One of the best moments of the book is when the narrator realizes that his child will not be sleeping and has given up saying, “No,” and simply acquiesces to whatever the latest request is.  What makes the narration even more poignant is the light, lullaby music in the background.

Go the F**k to Sleep is a hilarious look at parenthood, and the introduction by Jackson about his own struggles with getting his daughter to sleep further drives home the point that we are not alone.

About the Author:

Adam Mansbach is an American author and professor of fiction[1] at Rutgers University[2] who wrote the “children’s book for adults” Go the Fuck to Sleep.[3] Other books Mansbach has written include Angry Black White Boy and The End of the Jews[4] (for which he won the California Book Award for fiction in 2008)

 

This is my 36th book for the 2011 New Authors Reading Challenge.

 

 

This is my 1st book for the 2011 Audio Book Challenge and the 1st I listened to on my Kindle.