Jackie’s 2012 Top 5 Audio Books

Even though I am not done my last 5 reviews of 2012 (SLACKER!) ’tis the season for “Best Ofs” so here it goes… my top 5 Audio Books listened to in 2012. Click on the image for the Literary Hoarders review and see below for a quick summary.

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Shine Shine Shine – Joshilyn Jackson’s voice was PERFECT for all of the fantastically quirky characters of this WONDERFUL debut novel by Lydia Netzer. Maxon and Sunny are the Romeo and Juliette of our time!! GO ROBOTS!

In The Pleasure Groove – Life, Death and Duran Duran – I’m sorry! I’m sorry!! But John Taylor HIMSELF narrates it!! How can I not LOVE IT?? A “must listen” for Durannies everywhere!

The Orphan Master’s Son – A fascinating story that takes place in North Korea. 3 different narrators made the story absolutely come to life and it is one I will not soon forget! If you have a desire to read this one I highly recommend the audio– it will not disappoint!

Rules of Civility – One of the first I listened to in 2012 that is still so fresh in my mind because of its greatness! I was absolutely transported to the 1930’s by Rebecca Lowman’s narration! Katey Content is still one heck of a gal in my eyes!

A Land More Kind Than Home – A heartbreaking and well told story made even better because of the narration! I agree with Penny 100% on this one!

Honorary Mentions

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Unbroken – The story is just so unbelievable! Louis Zamporini is a true-life hero like no other!

Gold – Amelia Fox’s narration MADE this book for me! I fell for all the clichés and cheesiness hook, line and sinker!

City of Women – Wanted to pound the s**t out of self-righteous Sigred but the narration was undeniably FANTASTIC! Click the image for Penny’s review.

A Big Fat YIKES

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The Marriage Plot – GHASTLY narration and pathetic characters that 100% ruined this one for me. BLECK!

Seriously… I’m Kidding – Oh Ellen! I love you but this was a RIP OFF!

As Small As An Elephant – I am not done this review yet but the winey-ness of this narration would rival Luke Skywalker from the first Star Wars movie (which is actually the 4th Star Wars as my nephews often point out LOL).

A Game of Thrones – Finding out that the same narrator does all 5 books made me stop at this one. TOO MANY VOICES!

Looking forward to another great year of listening pleasure in 2013! Definitely more fun than talk radio and over played pop songs! Thanks to Audiobook Jukebox and the Windsor Public Library for some FANTASTIC audio books in 2012!

 

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Penny’s 2012 Top 5 Audio Books

‘Tis the season for the “Best of…Lists” and numerous have been flying around of late. I’m certain I’m late to this game, but, for my “Best of” series, I thought I would focus on my “Favourite Audio Books Read in 2012”.

This year was definitely the YOAB (Year of Audio Book) for us here at the Literary Hoarders. 2012 truly demonstrated our growing fascination and obsession with this format! Our public library has a wealth of them and thanks to the suggestion from fellow LH Jackie, Elizabeth and I quickly searched for and devoured many books in this format this year. I think I can truly say that they became a requirement for the daily commute to work!  We also owe a great big thank you to Audiobook Jukebox for allowing us the fabulous opportunity to become Solid Gold Reviewers! That was a true treat!

Below is a pictorial snapshot of my Top 5 that I read this year. If you click on the image it will take you to the review written for it.

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Now, I would be remiss if I did not include these 3 other audio books as well, because I thoroughly thoroughly enjoyed these ones too! Each of the narrators in these stories were wonderful and delightful and did great justice to the stories. Kyra Sedgewick read Sea Glass, and I could have had her read to me all the live long day!

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But as much as you have a Best of, I’m also going to add what I considered to be the Worst of, as they should get a mention too! Both of these made me cringe and suffer and want to drive my car off the road. The narrator is SO vitally important in establishing everything for these stories, and these are the ones that just did not live up to expectation and probably ruined what might otherwise have been fine stories.

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I know that 2013 will not see us slowing down in reading audio books at all and I’m looking forward to adding some new gems to my Best of…lists!

The Literary Hoarders, In Review 2012

Below please find the Literary Hoarders’ Annual Report for 2012. It has some amazing facts for our First Full Year of Blogging. Thank you so very much for stopping by, commenting and reading. It is tremendously appreciated and we hope to gather around for more reading fun in 2013!! From all of us here at Literary Hoarders, we wish you a Happy New Year and hope it is, as always, one filled with reading pleasures!!

(Thank you WordPress.com for pulling this together for us! What fabulous monkeys you have !!)

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 26,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 6 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Book Review: The Walnut Tree

walnut treeThank you to William Morrow and Edelweiss for advancing a copy of The Walnut Tree. It’s a novella occurring during the Great War and promised a cameo of Bess Crawford from Charles Todd’s Bess Crawford series. It was marketed as a holiday book and became available at the very end of October. Indeed, I was able to enjoy it over the Christmas holidays. And it was also something I enjoyed in one sitting as the weather outside was very frightful, with blowing snow and howling wind all day long. What a delightful way to spend a day curled up under the quilts reading! This was another perfect read for just that type of day too.

Lady Elspeth Douglas, Scottish royalty and daughter of an Earl, is beckoned to her school friend’s house in France just as the war is starting top grow in intensity for the French. She has promised to stay with Madeleine until her first child is born. Madeleine’s husband is being sent to fight along with Madeleine’s brother, Alain Montigny. Handsome and dashing Alain is someone that Elspeth has long had a childhood crush on. Now that Elspeth is matured, Alain is returning the feelings. On the eve before his departure he has stated his intentions to her and will write to her Uncle, her guardian as soon as he is able.

As the war rages ahead, Elspeth feels she must make her way back to her home in Cornwall, but becomes trapped among the fighting and spends her time helping the wounded in any way she is capable. While in Calais, she meets another childhood acquaintance, Captain Peter Gilchrist, who ensures her safety and comfort as much as he possibly can. Feelings begin to rise within Elspeth for Peter and she becomes quite confused as to what she truly feels for Alain and for Peter.

Lady Elspeth, taken by the nursing she helped with decides to go against her station and sign on for nursing school where she become a Nursing Sister. This is done completely in secret from her Uncle Kenneth and she never uses her title in any of the application forms. For once she feels free of her title and that she has accomplished something independently.

While working with the wounded she finds out that Alain has been captured as a prisoner and is severely wounded. Peter is also severely wounded and she fears may die from infection. Can she live in a world without Peter? What of her promise to Alain? Her feelings for Peter are growing stronger and she questions if these are the same kinds of feelings for Alain? Whom will she choose and settle her heart with?

Charles Todd also introduces Bess Crawford, and her landlady Mrs. Hennessey of their Bess Crawford Series. Elspeth rooms with Bess in London and at times works side by side with her. A nice touch to the story. There is also just a tiny hint of mystery as Elspeth questions what appears to be theft of paintings when she happens upon the same man she sat next to on a train and runs in to him a number of times, always carrying a wrapped brown package. This is only a small hint of the story though as it is quickly solved and set aside and only mentioned briefly.  Todd also uses the floating hospitals in the story, as they did in the Bess Crawford Series. That series was the first to bring my attention to that and I enjoyed hearing of it once again in The Walnut Tree.

Alain is still missing and Peter is being released in to Elspeth’s care. A fellow nursing sister has offered Elspeth her mother’s cottage in Sussex as a place of respite and she takes Peter there to rest and recover. There, their love develops and yet, Elspeth still struggles with her feelings for Alain. Outside of the cottage is a beautiful walnut tree and is a source of comfort to both Peter and Elspeth.

Elspeth receives word that she is to return at once to France, as Alain is home and in great despair. She leaves without hesitation or information to Peter and finds Alain in a very depressed state. What will happen for Elspeth? Will she neglect her strong and true feelings for Peter or maintain her earlier promise and remain with Alain? I’ll not tell, you must read and discover for yourself.

This was a wonderful and quick war-time romance to lose yourself in while relaxing by the fire as the howling winds and swirling snow carried on outside. A perfect escape on a blustery,wintery day. 3.5 stars.