Category Archives: Audiobooks

Review: Interred With Their Bones, by Jennifer Lee Carrell

interredThis novel has a split personality crisis. It is a murder mystery crossed with The Da Vinci Code crossed with a Shakespearean criticism tome. I think it would have been better with the Shakespearean puzzle but without the murders. The victims are good friends of our heroine but she has an “Oh well, too bad for them” attitude that I found off-putting. There is a lot of interesting information about Shakespeare and his times but the characters tend to run on in too great detail at the drop of a hat–or gun or knife–about Elizabethan theater, historical personages or contenders for the real author of Shakespeare’s plays. That said, I did enjoy the book on CD version. The narrator, Kathleen McNenny, gave each character his or her own voice and appropriate personality.

RATING: * * * A good read

Reviewed by: kh

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Review: Summer Lightning, by P.G. Wodehouse

wodehouseOriginally published in 1929, this is another absurd send-up of the British aristocracy at which Wodehouse excelled. The Hon. Galahad Threepwood is busy writing his Reminiscences which promise to incriminate half of the local gentry, much to their horror. This promised publication leads to the abduction of Lord Clarence Emsworth’s prize pig, a.k.a. The Empress of Blandings. Then there is the chorus girl disguised as an American heiress, the flower pot throwing ex-private secretary and, did the butler do it after all? The narrator, John Wells does a fantastic job narrating, giving every character an appropriate voice.

RATING: * * * * Very, very good

Reviewed by: kh

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Review: Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Some may be a little unsettled reading Coates’ very blunt account of life as a black American. Written as letter to his son, Coates’ ties his life experiences growing up in Baltimore, attending Howard University, and living in New York as a writer to the historical and current oppression of black people. Coates is raw in describing the reality of race relations in the U.S. and offers no comfort to the reader, but is emotional in his treatise and offers wisdom through knowledge and experience. In light of recent social and political movements sparked by police violence against black people in the U.S. this is a must read for anyone concerned with human rights, civil liberties, and the state of the world.

ADDITIONAL INFO: I also listened to the audiobook, read by the author. It was a bit difficult to listen to due to the complex prose and Coates’ rather monotone reading. However, the reading comes off as forlorn and leaves you with an added emotional twinge you might not get from just reading it.

RATING: * * * * Very, very good

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Reviewed by: Bri

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Review: Yes Please, by Amy Poehler

Did you know that Amy Poehler was born right here in Newton? In her memoir, Yes Please, Poehler shares her own personal anecdotes of growing up in nearby Burlington, Massachusetts, attending Boston College and going on to her comedy career at the Upright Citizens Brigade and Saturday Night Live. Poehler also gives her audience a look into her personal life as an adult as well, talking about her marriage to Will Arnett as well as being a mother to two small boys. This memoir is candidly refined and will give you insight into Poehler’s life without being an expose of her life in celebrity life in Hollywood.If you enjoy Amy Poehler on screen, you will surely enjoy Poehler on the page. The audiobook, playaway or digital audiobook version of this book is highly recommended, as Poehler reads it herself, and it is with hearing her voice that her words really come to life.

ADDITIONAL INFO: Through OverDrive, you can download the digital audiobook copy.

RATING: * * * A good read

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Reviewed by: Laura

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Review: The Life and Works of Chopin, by Jeremy Siepmann

This is a set of 4 CDs that alternately feature Chopin’s biography and his music. It really is an easy and interesting way to learn more about the 19th century’s greatest composer for the piano. Born in Poland, he lived the majority of his life in Paris. He was quite a dandy with his white gloves and the daily services of a hairdresser. Most of his income came from the piano lessons he gave to the well-to-do daughters of the Parisian upper class. He died in Paris at the age of 39, probably from tuberculosis.

RATING: * * * A good read

Reviewed by: kh

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Review: Murder in Mind, by Lyndon Stacey

This mystery is set in the rural West Country of England amid horse farms and steeplechase race courses. Matthew, a leading jockey, finds his good friend and fellow jockey, Jamie, accused of a shocking crime. As Matt attempts to delve into the circumstances of the crime, someone is trying to derail his career and personal life. If you enjoy the Dick Francis stories, this is one for you to try. I listened to the book on CD and the narrator, Jonathan Keegle, was excellent.

RATING: * * * A good read

Reviewed by: kh

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Review: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou

I read this book several years ago and just listened to the book on CD version which was read by the author. Angelou with her background as an actress and poet gives an excellent reading of her work. This is the first of the eventual seven volumes she wrote about her fascinating life. This book is often found on high school reading lists and is one of the most challenged. Angelou, born in 1928, grew up in the pre-Civil Rights era in Stamps, Arkansas, St. Louis and San Francisco. The blatant, institutional racism of that time is graphically described. The author finds strength in her family, especially her mother, grandmother and brother and in her love and studies of literature including Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe and Paul Laurence Dunbar.

RATING: * * * * Very, very good

Reviewed by: kh

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Review: Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good, by Jan Karon

This is the latest in the Mitford series about Episcopal priest Father Tim, his family, and the people of the tiny village of Mitford, high in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Mitford is modeled on the author’s hometown of Blowing Rock in that state. Father Tim finds himself volunteering at the local bookstore to help out the owner, Hope Murphy, who is in the midst of a difficult pregnancy. He also tries to forge a better relationship with his adopted son Dooley’s brother, Sammy, a troubled seventeen year old. I listened to the book on CD narrated by John McDonough who did a superb job. Do yourself a favor and take time for a “visit” to Mitford, you will enjoy it.

RATING: * * * * Very, very good

Reviewed by: kh

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Review: Inspector Ghote’s First Case, by H.R.F. Keating

Keating was a prolific British crime fiction writer and the author of twenty-six Inspector Ghote novels. Though titled “First Case,” this book from 2008 was the twenty-fifth written in the series. Ghote has just been promoted to the rank of Inspector in the Bombay Criminal Investigation Department and he and his wife Protima are expecting the arrival of their first baby. Retired chief of the Bombay police, Sir Rustom Engineer, asks Ghote to investigate the apparent suicide of the young wife of a longtime friend of his, English ex-patriot Robert Dawkins. Protima is not happy to be left alone so close to her due date as Ghote travels north to the Dawkins’ home but Ghote is determined to thoroughly investigate the death of Iris Dawkins. I listened to the book on CD and the narrator, Sam Dastor, a Bombay native, did an excellent job.

RATING: * * * A good read

Reviewed by: kh

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Review: Bury Your Dead: A Chief Inspector Gamache novel, by Louise Penny

This is the sixth Chief Inspector Gamache novel, of which there are now ten. There are several plots unfolding in this one. Gamache is staying in Quebec City with his long time friend and mentor as he recovers physically and mentally from a hostage rescue mission gone wrong that resulted in the deaths of four of his team and the wounding of several others. We learn about this in flashbacks occurring throughout the book. Secondly, Gamache has sent his colleague Jean Guy Beauvoir back to the village of Three Pines to re-investigate his last case on the fear that the wrong man has been convicted of murder. And last, a murder occurs while Gamache is in Quebec City. An amateur historian obsessed with finding the remains of Samuel de Champlain is found murdered in the basement of the English language Literary and Historical Society and the local police ask for his help. The “Lit and His” really exists and you may visit it or take a tour on your next trip to Quebec City. This volume was the winner of several mystery awards. I listened to the audio book which included an author interview.

RATING: * * * * Very, very good

Reviewed by: kh

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