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Bloggers Recommend Picks for January – April 2014

As much as I had hoped to write full reviews of the books I’ve loved and shared so far this year through Bloggers Recommend, it just hasn’t happened.  Here are my recommendations from May through July.

In case you haven’t yet subscribed to the newsletter, scroll down to the bottom of the Bloggers Recommend homepage and enter your email address. It’s easy peasy. If you’d like to go back and explore more recommended books thus far, you can access past issues of Bloggers Recommend on the website.

January Recommendation

Cover of The Art of FallingThe Art of Falling by Kathryn Craft

I was thrilled to hear when Sourcebooks, one of my favorite historical fiction publishers, announced that they would begin publishing contemporary fiction. The Art of Falling by Kathryn Craft was my first read and I loved it. It’s funny to me that I don’t necessarily enjoy watching ballet but I do enjoy reading about it. The idea of reading a book about a ballerina who survived a terrifying fall caught my interest immediately and I found that it was so much more.

Here is my blurb from the newsletter:

When Penny survives a 14-story fall, she must honestly confront her life and her body outside of Philadelphia’s dance community. One need not be graceful or understand dance to be drawn into Penny’s life and to experience the beauty of her self-expression. Craft’s fluid style shines in this story of denial, friendship, and redemption.

February Recommendation

Cover of The Swan GondolaThe Swan Gondola by Timothy Schaffert

I am so glad that I read this book. I loved spending time at a World’s Fair, meeting interesting people, and discovering where a high jacked hot air balloon can take you. Timothy Schaffert certainly captured my imagination. This is an excellent choice for a book club because there is so much to discuss, beginning with everyone’s favorite character. It also would be the right book to pick up when you’re looking for a fun escape from the modern world.

Here is my blurb from the newsletter:

With charm and whimsy, Schaffert sweeps readers up into the exuberance of a late-19th-century World’s Fair. The Swan Gondola is a lush stage of vivid characters, ventriloquism, sleights of hand, lost love, and spiritualism. A love letter to Omaha and an homage to The Wizard of Oz, this is an unforgettable novel.

March Recommendation

I did actually post a review of my March recommendation on the blog. You can read my review of Savage Girl here.

April Recommendation

Cover of HiddenHidden by Catherine McKenzie

The modern world with its technological advances has made life easier and more complex in equal parts. The ability to text and send private messages through any number of sites and apps has made it even easier to develop intimate relationships with people other than your spouse. Catherine McKenzie brings this slippery slope to life in this novel. My thoughts on what may or may not have happened fluctuated throughout. If you’ve read this book, I would be interested in your take on the last chapter. This is a novel you’ll want to read with someone else so that you have someone to talk to when it’s all said and done.

What happens when a man’s death leaves two women mourning? Alternately told by Jeff, his wife Claire, and his co-worker Tish, Hidden explores the definitions and boundaries of love, loyalty, and adultery in the age of Facebook, email, and video conferencing.  McKenzie immediately engages readers with her fast paced and witty storytelling and leaves them reevaluating long after they finish.

 

 

Monday Mini ~ The Hidden Child by Camilla Läckberg

MondayMini3Getting back into the swing of things each week is hard. So is finding the quiet time to write a review over the weekend. In order to ease out of the weekend, I’ve decided to begin my blogging week with a mini review.

For me, Swedish crime fiction is where my love of audiobooks began. While I’ve not read any of  Camilla Läckberg’s novels, when I saw that Simon Vance narrated The Hidden Child, I had to ask for a review copy.  While Läckberg is a much different author than Stieg Larsson, listening to this audiobook was like coming home. I really enjoyed the experience.

The Hidden Child by Camilla LäckbergCover of The Hidden Child
Pegasus ~ May 15, 2014 ~ 400 pages
HighBridge Audio ~ Simon Vance ~ 14 hours 58 minutes

After spending a year looking after her infant daughter, Erika Falck hopes to get back to her writing. Her husband Patrik, a local police officer, agreed to take paternity leave to look after their child so that Erika could focus on just that. Unfortunately, Erika wasn’t able to stay focused on her book. She was more interested in her deceased mother’s diaries and the Nazi medal she finds in her attic. Then, as Patrik’s paternity leave begins, the elderly World War II historian researching that medal is found murdered in his home. Patrik finds it difficult to devote himself entirely to his paternity leave when this murder seems to be related to other local deaths. This creates tension in Patrik and Erika’s marriage, but neither of them are able to stay away from a case that becomes more and more personal.

Simon Vance and Swedish crime drama are like two peas in a pod. From the very beginning, his work made me feel at home when I was coming in blind to the Fjällbacka series. His characterizations were excellent. I especially enjoyed his work on some of the minor characters, such as Melberg. It gave them a life they might not necessarily had if I read the book in print.

I very much enjoyed the experience of listening to The Hidden Child. The mystery was interesting. I did not figure out who the murderer was before the reveal, but I wasn’t completely surprised. It made sense. What I enjoyed the most about this book was the exploration of gender roles, parenting, and marital relationships. It was interesting to see how the politics played out when both parents have leave. Throughout it all, Vance remained true to the characters and the story. I highly recommend this audiobook.

Monday Mini ~ Overwatch by Marc Guggenheim

Cover of Overwatch

Getting back into the swing of things each week is hard. So is finding the quiet time to write a review over the weekend. In order to ease out of the weekend, I’ve decided to begin my blogging week with a mini review. It’s not often that I pick up a political thriller, but I […]

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Reading, Blogging, and the Power of Why

TheBigWhy

I spent half of last week attending the Human Performance Institute‘s Corporate Athlete course. While the title of this course focuses on work, this course has changed my life on every level. Having listened to much of the audiobook of All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner leading up to that business trip also helped to set the […]

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Monday Mini ~ The Transcriptionist by Amy Rowland

Cover of The Transcriptionist

Getting back into the swing of things each week is hard. So is finding the quiet time to write a review over the weekend. In order to ease out of the weekend, I’ve decided to begin my blogging week with a mini review. It’s been a while, folks. Blogging just hasn’t been a priority for […]

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The 2014 Short Stories/Collections Audie Award Winner and Giveaway

Audie-Logo

When I was asked to participate in the APA’s @Audiobook Community Audio Month campaign I jumped at the chance to feature the Short Stories/Collections category. After judging the Literary Fiction category for three years, I discovered this category and was so happy judging it. It offers such a wide variety of stories and narrators. While […]

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Summer Shorts ’14 Blog Hop featuring Jo Anna Perrin

Jo-AnnaSpring12-269x300

I am so glad that Summer Shorts has returned again this year for another round of wonderful short narrations recorded by the best of the best audiobook narrators in the business. Today I have the good fortune of featuring Jo Anna Perin, talented narrator, writer, co-founder of Abbreviated Audio, and personal friend who frequently makes […]

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Monday Mini ~ The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham

Cover of The Snow Queen

Getting back into the swing of things each week is hard. So is finding the quiet time to write a review over the weekend. In order to ease out of the weekend, I’ve decided to begin my blogging week with a mini review. I typically don’t listen to celebrity narrators outside of the titles I […]

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Summer Shorts ’14 Blog Hop Featuring Dion Graham

Dion

I am so glad that Summer Shorts has returned again this year for another round of wonderful short narrations recorded by the best of the best audiobook narrators in the business. Today I have the good fortune of featuring Dion Graham. June wouldn’t be audiobook month for me if Dion didn’t stop by the blog. […]

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Summer Shorts ’14 Blog Hop featuring John Lee

Summer-Shorts

I am so glad that Summer Shorts has returned again this year for another round of wonderful short narrations recorded by the best of the best audiobook narrators in the business. This year I have the good fortune of featuring John Lee, the multi-award winning narrator of over 400 titles to date. To prepare for […]

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