Wednesday, March 22, 2017

IF NOT FOR YOU by Debbie Macomber Audio Edition

If Not for You by Debbie MacomberIf Not for You by Debbie Macomber
     With 170 million books in print and 260K Facebook fans you know Debbie Macomber is a beloved author.  Why?  Because she writes stories that touch our heartstrings and are filled with characters to whom we can relate.  She does it again with If Not For You which is beautifully read by five Earphone Awards winner Khristine Hvam.

    Who among us hasn't at one time or another felt that his or her parents weren't a bit overbearing?  Well, Beth Prudhomme has felt that way in spades - she has literally existed under her parents' thumb for 29 years.  t long last she determines to strike out on her own and moves from Chicago to Portland where she reconnects with her Aunt Sunshine (aptly named we might add.)  Beth finds a job as a high school music teacher and becomes close friends with Nicole Nyquist.  She seems to be comfortably settling in.

    Comfort is no longer an appropriate word when Nicole introduces Beth to Sam.  Saying both are unimpressed is putting it mildly.  Sam is a tattooed mechanic whose idea of a date is a gal who likes to play pool and drink beer - the opposite of a high school music teacher.  While Sam is Beth's parents' worst fear.

    Fate stepped in one evening when Beth was involved in an automobile accident which Sam witnessed.  He stayed with her until help arrived  and then perhaps out of obligation he visited her at the hospital.  That first visit became daily visits simply because he could not stay away.  Both became aware that something might be growing between them.

    This was the quiet before the storm - you'll not want to miss what happens when Beth's mother careens into town spouting harsh opinions of Sam and reopening old wounds with Aunt Sunshine. 

    As is her wont Debbie Macomber creates a conclusion that makes us smile and warms our hearts.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

THE HOLLYWOOD DAUGHTER by Kate Alcott; Read by Erin Spencer Audio Edition

     Hollywood stories abound but perhaps none are as unique as this one.  It's easy to forget how many people, some on the periphery of the movie industry, are affected by the life of a major star.  Case in point is the poignant story of Jesse Malloy.

     She is the daughter Gabriel Malloy, a studio publicist whose career was skyrocketing along with that of his most famous client, Ingrid Bergman.  Thanks to Gabriel's promotion of the movie Casablanca he was able to buy a Beverly Hills mansion complete with pool.  Jesse's mother was a devout Roman Catholic and enrolled her daughter at Saint Ann's, an all-girls Catholic school.  Her time there was peaceful and trouble free.  What was outstanding in Jesse's adolescence were her brief contacts with Bergman whom her father was grooming as not only beautiful and talented but also saintly (thanks to the two movies The Bells Of St. Mary's and Joan Of Arc.)  Jesse's admiration of Bergman verged on adoration when Saint Ann's was chosen s the location for The Bells of Saint Mary's.  Bergman was rapidly embraced, endorsed by the Catholic Church and the dreaded Legion of Decency.

     In retrospect one can only imagine the brouhaha when Bergman leaves her husband for director Roberto Rossellini not just for a dalliance but also bears him a child.  What effect could all of this have had on the adolescent Jesse?  In addition to her personal response we follow her as her family tries to adapt to a dramatic change in Gabriel's career.

     Kate Alcott is the pseudonym for journalist Patricia O'Brien who is a New York Times bestselling author. Multi talented Erin Spencer delivers a compelling narration.  Her voice is heard on a number of audio books and she has toured the world as a dancer.


THE SOLOMON CURSE by Clive Cussler with Russell Blake; Read by Scott Brick Audio Edition

Love hearing about exotic places you’ll never see, unspeakable villains who will stop at nothing
to achieve their deadly goals and spine tingling narrow escapes? Then a Clive Cussler story is for you!
This author has been thrilling and gaining fans for a number of years with dozens of bestsellers to his credit.
Most recently he has teamed with his son, Dirk Cussler, to deliver double whammies of suspense and derring-do.
Odessa Sea as narrated by the incomparable Scott Brick.

Cussler’s estimable hero Dirk Pitt, Director of the National Underwater and Marine Agency, and his colleague Al Giordino have been trolling the Black Sea in search of a lost Ottoman shipwreck. Suddenly they hear Mayday, an urgent distress call from a nearby freighter. What they find is a ship carrying dead bodies and enriched uranium which has been stolen by underlings of Valentin Mankedo, a Bulgarian black market smuggler. At about the same time Dirk Junior and twin sister Summer are scoping another sea where they come upon what may be a pile of 1917 Romanov gold bullion.

Soon Anna Belova, a special investigator with Europol and her partner join Dirk and company in searching for Martin Hendriks, a Dutch businessman who is working on an agreement with the Russians to get a nuclear weapon. Now, as if the story needs any more excitement envision boat chases, commando raids and research submersibles that can fight each other. This is Cussler at the height of his powers and chair gripping listening for us.

Don’t miss it!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

THE CUTTHROAT by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott Audio Edition

If you’re but one of the millions who have been pining for the next adventure of Chief Inspector Isaac Bell off the Van Dorn Detective Agency, here ‘tis and it’s a winner!  Once again Cussler and Scott have crafted a compelling historical mystery set at the onset of the 20th century and filled with accoutrement of the day that make the tale realistic.  As most know with Bell the authors created an affable, intelligent, dedicated hero who risks life and limb to see that justice is done.

With The Cutthroat Bell has promised a distraught father that he’ll find the man’s daughter, Anna Pape.  She has disappeared, left her luxurious home hoping to have a career on the stage.  Bell thinks it won’t be too difficult to find her among other hopefuls in New York City’s theatre district.  And find her he does but not alive - she has been murdered.

Bell is aghast at this heinous crime and grateful when his research group finds other murders - too similar not to have been committed by the same sick individual.  There is more than just the physical similarities - pretty young blondes are being slain in numerous American cities.  And, the killings always occur only where a touring theatre group is presenting Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

As astute as he is it doesn’t take Bell long to realize he is facing a mad, ruthless killer, the most frightening nemesis in his career, but how will he catch him?

Narraor Scott Brick has won as many awards as have the authors - over 50 Earphone Awards, five Audie Awards, twice named Publisher’s Weekly Narrator of the Year to mention a few.  This reading is bound to garner more.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

AFTER THE CHEERING STOPS by Cyndy Feasel Audio Edition

         “How lucky could she be?” Cyndy Feasel once thought.  She was married to the man she adored and he was an NFL star.
Crowds cheered for him and she was proud to be seen with him.  Their home was lovely - life was more wonderful than she had ever dreamed
it could be.  And then as the title succinctly puts it the cheering stopped.

Grant Feasel had spent a tad over ten years as a lineman in the NFL.  He played 117 games as a center and long snapper com-
pletely unaware that the ceaseless batterings his head took and the jarring collisions he suffered would change him forever.  And this
change would ruin his marriage and tear his family asunder.  He died too young - Grant was gone at the age of 52 destroyed by alcohol
abuse and a degenerative brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy commonly known as CTE.

When Grant retired from football Cyndy stood helplessly by watching the man she loved become a frightening stranger.  He
self medicated with alcohol and painkillers desperately trying to stem the damage he suffered on the football field.  But it was a losing battle
Slowly but irrevocably the happy loving man Cyndy had known became a frightening stranger.

In this memoir Cyndy bravely and forthrightly describes her heartbreaking ordeal that reminds us of what might happen when
playing a game millions of Americans love.  It may well also serve as a warning to football moms throughout the world.  And perhaps most of all
it is a reminder of the presence of God when someone’s world comes crashing down on them

As Grant once said, “If I’d only known that what I loved the most would end up killing me and taking away everything I
loved, I would never have done it.”

Voice actress Michelle Lansley delivers a powerful narration of this moving true story.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT by Judy Blume Audio Edition

     Surely a perfect title for beloved author Judy Blume’s latest adult novel.  What could possibly be more unlikely than three fatal plane crashes hitting Elizabeth, N.J.?  But, the tragedy did actually occur in 1952, and Elizabeth is Blume’s hometown.  At that time she was a teenager and remembers well not only the event but the aftershocks.  So, she has woven an unforgettable story using facts about the disaster and imagining three generations of a family as they try to come to terms with the unthinkable.  As she does this we are brought back to the 1950s via Nat King Cole singing Unforgettable, girls trying to emulate Elizabeth Taylor, the A bomb and, of course, young love.

It is 1987 when the story opens and Miri Ammerman returns to Elizabeth for a commemorative ceremony, which brings back memories of the tragedy and the year she was 15.
We view that year via several perspectives - Miri, her single mother, her grandmother, a beloved uncle, her best friend, Natalie.  It was a dreadful year for Miri in more ways than one as her uncle receives accolades for his coverage of the crashes in the local newspaper, but when Miri writes about it at school she winds up in the principal’s office.

The disaster brings many unexpected developments such as changing relationships, and the various ways in which people and the community as a whole try to cope.

In The Unlikely Event is another winner from Blume, filled with her characteristic warmth and understanding.   Her story is enriched even further by an accomplished reading by Kathleen McInerney who has performed in New York City and throughout the U.S. in both classical and contemporary theater.

- Gail Cooke

Friday, January 13, 2017

SLEEPING DOGS by Thomas Mogford

    For this reader international crime fiction is some of the best reading around.  This is especially true when the author not only vividly paints settings, in this case Corfu, but also imagines how the various regions have affected the personalities and demeanors of the characters.  The result is fascinating reading and Thomas Mogford does this in spades with the fourth installment of his Spike Sanguinetti series.

    When the story opens Spike is at a low ebb - his law practice is in financial trouble, he continues to be deeply affected by the loss of a woman he loved, and he appears to be responsible for the welfare of an orphan boy.  If anyone needs a vacation he does, and that comes in the form of an invitation from his law partner, Peter Galliano, to come to Corfu.  Peter is recovering there from an injury, and Spike’s father is included in the invitation plus Detective Sergeant Jessica Navarro will be there.  Who could resist?  Spike may well wish he did.

    Shortly after arriving Spike and others are invited to take part in festivities celebrating a remarkable archeological discovery by Peter’s wealthy neighbor, Sir Leo Hoffman.  The groups visit to the excavations take a dark turn when a dead body is found there.  A local man is quickly, too quickly, arrested for the murder and Spike takes on his defense assisted by the beauteous Jessica.

    What they find would be enough to daunt the strongest - their lives are imperiled as they discover secrets, age-old rivalries and a mass of political corruption.  Not good news for Spike and Jessica but intriguing reading for us.