Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

Narrator: Brian Hutchison, Mia Barron, Therese Plummer

Title: Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
Release Date: March 1st, 2011
Format: Audiobook (17 hrs and 26 mins)
Genre: Fiction, Women’s Literature
Published By: Atria Books
One miscarriage too many spelled the end of Max and Zoe Baxter’s marriage. Though the former couple went quite separate ways, their fates remained entangled: After veering into alcoholism, Max is saved in multiple senses by his fundamentalist conversion; Zoe, for her part, finds healing relief in music therapy and the friendship, then romantic love with Vanessa, her counselor. After Zoe and Vanessa, now married, decide to have a baby, they realize that they must join battle with Max, who objects on both religious and financial grounds.
three-stars
I started this book already having experience with Jodi Picoult’s writing, so I knew I was in for an intense experience. She is so methodical and expressive but I always find her stories disconcerting. I appreciate that the author told the story from Zoe, her new wife Vanessa and Zoe’s ex-husband’s point of view. It gave me an opportunity to empathize. I’ll admit it that I found the story a bit preachy and definitely advocated a viewpoint, but the story felt real especially in today’s political and religious climate. Zoe and Vanessa’s court case against Max made me examine my own views about this controversial issue. But the author’s writing was remarkable in that I could empathize to all three main characters even if I didn’t quite like them.

The story began with Zoe and Max struggling to conceive. What the reader never got to experience was any real tenderness, happiness or the power of their love. Their relationship was that of a woman determined to have a baby and the man she needed to make that dream a reality. It should have come as no surprise to the readers that Zoe and Max broke up. Unfortunately, Zoe’s new relationship didn’t resonate with me either. What did resonate with me was Zoe’s desire to have a family and the stress the struggle caused her, Max and Vanessa.

I would have loved this story more if the author had delivered multifaceted characters instead of Max, an alcoholic turned bible thumper fighting a music therapist and an atheist school counselor. The characters were over-simplified in such a way to make you either love them or hate them. The stereotypes were written in such a way that I felt led by the nose to the conclusion, which was a typical Picoult ending.

June is Audiobook Month (6/26/17)

Did you know June is #audiobook month? I’m joining Jess and Tina (@asreadbyTINA) to celebrate and to play #audiobingo!

Almost all of the books I logged on Goodreads last year were are audios. I listen to about 300 audiobooks a year.
Each week, I will spotlight a different group of five.

This week I will spotlight 5 newly discovered narrators whose voice completely enhanced a series. They are now on my list of narrators to follow:

    1. 1) Jeffrey Kafer (Taste of Darkness by Katie Reus)
    1. 2) Pinky Powell (Nikolai by Roxie Rivera)
    1. 3) Tristan James (Sinner’s Gin by Rhys Ford)
    1. 4) Callie Dalton (The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata)
    1. 5) Lance Greenfield (The Hard Truth About Sunshine by Sawyer Bennett)

 🎧 Those are my top five new narrators yo keep an eye on. Please share the narrators do you ❤️ with us.🎧 Or if you would like a recommendation, please ask.

Standalone Sunday (6/25/17): Under Locke by Mariana Zapata 

Standalone Sunday is a fun feature created by Megan at Bookslayerreads where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend. There’s so much focus on books that are part of a series… she thought it’d be nice to focus on some standalone novels, too!
Feel free to join in on this weekly feature by creating your own Standalone Sunday post! And be sure to check out Megan’s very creative blog and leave a link in her Standalone Sunday comments section so she can add your blog to the list

My Standalone Pick this week is: Under Locke by Mariana Zapata. 

BLURB
: He was my boss, my brother’s friend, a widow, an ex-felon, and a man I’d seen casually with a handful of women. But he was everything that gripped me, both the good and the bad. Worst case scenario: If things turned awkward between us, I could go somewhere else. I’d gotten over epic heartbreak before; one more wouldn’t kill me.
After moving to Austin following six months of unemployment back home, Iris Taylor knows she should be glad to have landed a job so quickly… even if the business is owned by a member of the same motorcycle club her estranged father used to belong to. Except Dex Locke might just be the biggest jerk she’s ever met. He’s rude and impatient, and he doesn’t know how to tell time. And the last thing they ever expected was each other.
Narrated by: Callie Dalton
Length: 16 hrs and 5 mins

ADD TO GOODREADS 

I’m currently listening to this audiobook because I loved The Wall of Winnipeg and Wait For It by the same author. Zapata takes her time with character development so that the friendship, attraction and subsequent love story never feels rushed. I am anticipating a satisfying story today.

Have you read or listened to this book? Did you enjoy it? What about this author, have you tried her before?

#audiobookmonth #standalonesunday 

Goodreads Monday (6/19/17): The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners . To participate, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out her blog and link back to Lauren’s Page Turners and add your own links!

My choice today is The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

BLURBI’ve become an expert at avoiding things that could hurt me—which means I will figure out how to stay away from Marco Leone.

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

ADD TO GOODREADS 

I got this book as a freebie arc during the Romantic Times Convention 2016 in Las Vegas. It’s been on my bookshelf but I was traveling to Montego Bay for my annual anniversary vacation, I grabbed it for a plan ride.   It was one of my favorite reads of 2017. I didn’t sleep a wink on the plane. I wish I read this one last August when it came out. 5-Star all the way! I will add a review as soon as I’m caught up on real life stuff. I do have her Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1) audiobook but I haven’t listened it yet. Have you read anything by Kami Garcia? Watched the movie maybe?

What are you reading today from your Goodreads TBR shelf?

 

ARCstravaganza Monday (6/19/17): Coming Up for Air (Hundred Oaks #8) by Miranda Kenneally

Series:

#ARCstravaganza Monday is a weekly meme started by our friends at YA and Wine Blog! One of the best parts of being a book blogger has got to be getting ARC/eARC copies of books, and this meme is your opportunity to show those beauties off and spread the word about your most anticipated new releases!

Feel free to get creative! Post those Bookstagram pictures, share a book feature on your blog, or both! You are more than welcome to use the creates #ARCstravaganza image. Linking back to our page in your post is, of course, much appreciated!

Use the #ARCstravaganza hashtag on Instagram or comment on our weekly #ARCstravaganza post with a link to your own post, and you will be entered to WIN A PHYSICAL ARC COPY OF AN UPCOMING YA NOVEL at YA and Wine Blog! One winner will be selected randomly each month.

The July Young Adult ARC that I’m most excited about is:

BLURB: Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework. Bed. Repeat.

All of Maggie’s focus and free time is spent swimming. She’s not only striving to earn scholarships—she’s training to qualify for the Olympics. It helps that her best friend, Levi, is also on the team and cheers her on. But Levi’s already earned an Olympic try out, so she feels even more pressure to succeed. And it’s not until Maggie’s away on a college visit that she realizes how much of the “typical” high school experience she’s missed by being in the pool.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Maggie decides to squeeze the most out of her senior year. First up? Making out with a guy. And Levi could be the perfect candidate. After all, they already spend a lot of time together. But as Maggie slowly starts to uncover new feelings for Levi, how much is she willing to lose to win?

I love sports so I enjoy sports romances, so this one looked really good. What are some of your favorite sports romance series?

 

It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany

Narrator: Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
Source: Netgalley

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: It Happens All the Time: A Novel by Amy Hatvany
Release Date: March 28th 2017
Format: e-ARC (320 pages) •Audiobook (9 hrs and 49 mins)
Genre: Fiction
Published By: Atria Books
Purchase Links: Amazon US Audible
I want to rewind the clock, take back the night when the world shattered. I want to erase everything that went wrong.

Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers—trusting and depending on each other through some of the darkest periods of their young lives. And while Amber has always felt that their relationship is strictly platonic, Tyler has long harbored the secret desire that they might one day become more than friends.

Returning home for the summer after her college graduation, Amber begins spending more time with Tyler than she has in years. Despite the fact that Amber is engaged to her college sweetheart, a flirtation begins to grow between them. One night, fueled by alcohol and concerns about whether she’s getting married too young, Amber kisses Tyler.

What happens next will change them forever.

In alternating points of view, It Happens All the Time examines the complexity of sexual dynamics between men and women and offers an incisive exploration of gender roles, expectations, and the ever-timely issue of consent.

two-half-stars

I am sorry if my thoughts on this book offend an rape survivor but this book created some strong emotions in me and I felt really unsettled and unsatisfied with this book’s ending. I get that the author was tackling a sensitive subject but I didn’t quite agree with certain things. I needed time to reflect so I can write my review with sensitivity, yet honesty. I do not feel like I can be honest without victimizing people who have already been brutalized. So I will keep my words brief.

The book starts off with a history of how young Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks became friends complete with their various family dysfunction. I believe the author was trying to lay foundation of what drove Amber and Tyler. This background led me to connect with Tyler and not so much with Amber. There were a lot of things that rubbed me the wrong. First I want to start off by saying Rape is just a horrible crime. I am not interested in victim blaming or justifications, however I do believe alcohol abuse does change the situation. I am not blaming Amber at all, but I am saying that Tyler wasn’t in a clear frame of mind to be making sure he “got” consent first. In addition, I do not agree that Tyler, whom the author had painted as a nice friend, just turned into a this monster so fast and the reader is to believe that he would take advice for a father whom he has despised just so he can avoid dealing with devastation his actions wrought. I do love that Amber talked to both her parents and they stood by her. The fact that they embraced her immediately and validated her was everything. Her parents seemed to be really good parents unlike Tyler’s parents.

I didn’t like the hypocrisy in the end with Amber committing a crime, but it’s viewed with “understanding” and it’s okay that Tyler covered her actions up because I guess Tyler owes Amber for his part in hurting her.

At the end of the day, I hope all rape victims get counseling and have a support for their healing. .This book was hard to review but it make me examine my own beliefs on the topic. I hope to learn more about how to help victims.

Ezi

June is Audiobook Month (6/1/17)

Did you know June is #audiobook month?  I’m joining Jess and Tina (@asreadbyTINA) to celebrate and to play #audiobingo!

Almost all of the books I logged on Goodreads last year were are audios. I listen to about 300 audiobooks a year. I mostly 👂 via @audible, @overdrive, @oneclickdigital, @HooplaDigital apps. But there are other audio apps you can try.

This month of June, I will spotlight a different group of five narrators and/or audiobooks to share my thoughts or experiences.

This week I will start by listing my Top Five favorite narrators (in no particular order). I’ve also added a book each narrated that I rated highly.

    1) Rosalyn Landor absolutely nails historical romances. I first discovered her in Then Came You by Lisa Kleypas. They make an excellent author-narrator pair. I devoured the Gamblers of Craven series, followed the Wallflowers series and then The Hathaways series. (Devil In Winter Review).
    2) Robert Petkoff is the reason I finished The Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole. I initially quit reading the series after book 5 until a GR friend suggested that I listen 👂 instead of reading it. His voice made all the difference and this series is among my favorite now. (Lothaire Review). His voice is theatric and exudes humor. I can almost hear him cackling “muhaha” as I reflect on his work. He is amazing.
    3) Lauren Fortgang IS the assassin Gin Blanco. She’s done a great job in other audiobooks I’ve heard but the way she bodied The Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep just took my appreciation to another level. (Bitter Bite Review). She can give you sass, confident, humor and snark like no one else. 
    4) Julia Whelan (aka Sophie Eastlake) does young adult and adult voices  with perfection. It was her narration of The Witness by Nora Roberts that first made me take notice of her. Then I experienced her with The Elder Races by Thea Harrison, so I started seeking out other audiobooks read by her. Her voice just commands my attention and keeps me completely engaged. (Flat-Out Love Review).
    5) Therese Plummer has one of the most melodic and friendliest voices ever. When I hear her voice, it’s just soothing to my soul. It feels like listening to your best friend tell you a story. She’s a narrator that takes an average story and elevates the experience. I love her in chick lit and contemporary romances. (The Wanderer Review).

🎧 Those are my top five. Please share the narrators do you ❤️ with us.🎧 Or if you would like a recommendation, please ask.

Goodreads Monday (5/29/17): When It’s Real by Erin Watt 

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners . To participate, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out her blog and link back to Lauren’s Page Turners and add your own links! 

My choice today is When It’s Real  by Erin Watt.


BLURB
:


From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes the addictive contemporary tale of a teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend.

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley’s team decides it’s time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he’s settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of “normal.” Under ordinary circumstances she’d never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn’t have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley’s team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley’s a shallow, self-centered jerk? It’s not like they’re going to fall for each other in real life…right?

ADD TO GOODREADS 

Isn’t that cover beautiful? Erin Watt is the brainchild of two bestselling authors: Jen Frederick and Elle Kennedy. I devoured their Royal series (See Review) on audio in a week. I hope to finish this book tonight and have a review for tomorrow. I’ve only read one book by Jen Frederick but I just bought my second audiobook to try. On the other hand, I’ve read 2 different series by Elle Kennedy which I will loved:  Killer Instincts  and Off Campus. I normally don’t enjoy rocker romances but I like this one so far.  Have you read anything by the two author? What did you think?

What are you reading today from your Goodreads TBR shelf? 

ARCstravaganza Monday (5/29/17)

Thanks to #ARCstravaganza Monday is a weekly meme started by our friends at YA and Wine Blog! One of the best parts of being a book blogger has got to be getting ARC/eARC copies of books, and this meme is your opportunity to show those beauties off and spread the word about your most anticipated new releases!

Feel free to get creative! Post those Bookstagram pictures, share a book feature on your blog, or both! You are more than welcome to use the creates #ARCstravaganza image. Linking back to our page in your post is, of course, much appreciated!

Use the #ARCstravaganza hashtag on Instagram or comment on our weekly #ARCstravaganza post with a link to your own post, and you will be entered to WIN A PHYSICAL ARC COPY OF AN UPCOMING YA NOVEL at YA and Wine Blog! One winner will be selected randomly each month.

The ARCs that I’m most excited about are: 

The Story of Us by Tara Sivec

Stay (WAGs #2) by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker

Standalone Sunday (5/28/17): The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Standalone Sunday is a fun feature created by Megan at Bookslayerreads where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend. There’s so much focus on books that are part of a series… she thought it’d be nice to focus on some standalone novels, too!Feel free to join in on this weekly feature by creating your own Standalone Sunday post! And be sure to check out Megan’s very creative blog and leave a link in her Standalone Sunday comments section so she can add your blog to the list

My Standalone Pick this week is: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. 

BLURB:

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

ADD TO GOODREADS 

I’m currently watching the made-for-tv series on Hulu because my husband listened to this audiobook narrated by Claire Danes.

I chose this book because I’ve been captivated by this intense dystopian series and its been hard trying to avoid spoilers from the Love of my Life who is so eager to share his book knowledge.   We have this same issue (him attempting to share spoilers) with The Walking Dead and the Game of Thrones tv shows. The GoT is series I’ve vowed that I will not start the audiobooks until the author finishes the series. I’m not convinced there will be an end to the series due to author’s snail paced writing schedule.

Anyway, the Handmaid’s Tale is painful as a woman to watch as the women were reduced to homemakers and breeders. I’m afraid to see the season finale next week, but I will start the audiobook then.

Have you read or listened to this book? Are you watching the Hulu original series? What do/did you think about it?