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June 20, 2018 / Leslie

The War Bride’s Scrapbook by Caroline Preston

A Rapid Review

A Novel in Pictures

Publisher: Ecco| December 2017
Format: Hardcover | 224 Pages | Rating: 5 stars

A World War II love story, narrated through a new bride’s dazzling array of vintage postcards, newspaper clippings, photographs, and more.<

After only a few weeks together, Lila and Perry elope. Their story is told in the first person by Lila using photos, drawings, notes, correspondence, newspaper/magazine clippings, illustrations, advertisement – all types of memorabilia. An original concept that I enjoyed reading.

This is a love story and also historical fiction; a realistic glimpse of what life was like in the early 1940s. It’s not only a book to read, but one to experience. It’s a form of graphic novel, but uses a multimedia scrapbook format rather than illustrations.

I have tried to read graphic novels with some success but often find them frustrating. As a scrapbook, this is different. It’s not just a story with pictures. It immerses you in the time period. It’s engaging. Interesting. Authentic. It was an enjoyable break from a regular print novel.

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Source: Review copy
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June 18, 2018 / Leslie

Mailbox Monday ~ June 18th

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia of To Be Continued, a place where readers share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

After several years of being on tour with different blogs as the monthly host, the Mailbox Monday Blog is now the permanent home for the meme.


 

Two new books and a heat wave arrived last week. Summer is here with a vengeance. I like warm weather but a 108 degree heat index in mid-June is a bit much even for me!

New Arrivals

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle from Flatiron.

For fans of Me Before You and One Day comes a wondrous novel of first love, loss, and the dinner of a lifetime.

Ohio by Stephen Markley from Simon & Schuster.

The debut of a major talent; a lyrical and emotional novel set in an archetypal small town in northeastern Ohio—a region ravaged by the Great Recession, an opioid crisis, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—depicting one feverish, fateful summer night in 2013 when four former classmates converge on their hometown, each with a mission, all haunted by the ghosts of their shared histories.

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June 14, 2018 / Leslie

Celebrate Audiobook Month: Tips for New Listeners and a Giveaway

An industry-wide celebration

Audiobook Month is celebrated industry-wide during the month of June with the goal of increasing awareness of this growing format. In celebration of audiobook month, the Audio Publishers Association and Audiobooks.com are sponsoring a giveaway. More on that below.

For those still hesitating to try the format, summer is the perfect time to try an audiobook. All of my audio listening is while multitasking: Doing boring household chores, driving, walking, gardening.

Audiobooks are an acquired skill

Don’t be disappointed if listening to a book doesn’t work on the first attempt. It took me several tries and failures before I embraced the format. Start with something easy like non-fiction or short stories.

Things to avoid for new listeners

Too long, complex plot, too many characters or changes in point of view, or multiple jumps in time and place. Having to constantly press the reverse button and listen again can get very frustrating.

How to find a good audiobook

The best way to find a good audiobook is to read reviews or ask for recommendations. When I review an audiobook I’m now including a difficulty rating ie Easy, Intermediate or Difficult. The narrator also makes a difference. Some are such a pleasure to listen to that they could read the phone book and I’d enjoy it!

Recommendations For New Listeners

Bossypants by Tina Fey

A favorite of mine from several years ago is Bossypants, Tina Fey’s memoir. Entertaining, interesting, and funny. Laugh-out-loud funny! The book is narrated by the author and she does a superb job. This is the perfect book for non-audio folks to try an audiobook. No complex plot lines, one narrator, and no problem staying interested.

A recent read that I found engaging and delightful was Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson. He is a pleasure to listen to and he makes astrophysics sound easy. At only a few hours long, I was wishing for more.

Why Dinosaurs Matter by Kenneth Lacovara is a short, interesting look at dinosaurs. This was read with enthusiasm by the author and is a book the entire family will enjoy. At only four hours long, it’s a good choice for a long ride in the car.

A Few of My Many Favorites

Win Audiobooks

In celebration of audiobook month, the Audio Publishers Association and Audiobooks.com are sponsoring a giveaway.

The winner will receive a fantastic selection of 8 audiobooks that have been generously donated by Blackstone Publishing, High Bridge Audio, Hachette Audio, LA Theatre Works, Macmillan Audio, Post Hypnotic Press Audiobooks, Scholastic and Tantor Audio. The books will be available on Audiobooks.com for download. (US only)

For a chance to win . . .

Fill out the form below on or before midnight, June 30th. I will draw one random winner (US only) and they will be notified by email. That’s it. Easy!

The Eight Titles

  1. Seven by Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Carol K. Mack, Ruth Margraff, Anna Deavere Smith, and Susan Yankowitz
  2. Gone to Dust by Matt Goldman, narrated by MacLeod Andrews
  3. Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris, narrated by Kevin Hely and Cathleen McCarron
  4. Wings of Fire Book One: The Dragonet Prophecy by Tui T. Sutherland, narrated by Shannon MacManus
  5. Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan, narrated by Todd McLaren
  6. Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan, narrated by David Shih
  7. A Girl Stands at the Door by Rachel Devlin, narrated by Robin Miles
  8. Torn from Troy, Book 1 in the Odyssey of a Slave Trilogy by Patrick Bowman, narrated by Gerard Doyle

For more chances to win, visit the other participants in the tour.

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June 13, 2018 / Leslie

Wordless Wednesday: Blue Jay

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June 11, 2018 / Leslie

Mailbox Monday ~ June 11th

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia of To Be Continued, a place where readers share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

After several years of being on tour with different blogs as the monthly host, the Mailbox Monday Blog is now the permanent home for the meme.


 
Rain, rain, rain. June is not usually a rainy month, but it seems like every morning has been cloudy and raining. That’s nice for the plants and grass, and I don’t need to spend time watering, but the mosquitoes and other insects are also thriving! I finally got a book photo outside between the raindrops!

Two new books and a win arrived last week . . .

New Arrivals

On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old by Parker J. Palmer from Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Drawing on eight decades of life — and his career as a writer, teacher, and activist — Palmer explores the questions age raises and the promises it holds. “Old,” he writes, “is just another word for nothing left to lose, a time to dive deep into life, not withdraw to the shallows.”

Left by Mary Hogan from William Morrow.

In this beautifully crafted novel from the author of the critically-acclaimed Two Sisters, comes the story of a woman who retreats into a fantasy world on New York City’s Upper West Side as she slowly loses her once whip-smart husband to dementia—perfect for fans of Still Alice.

A Win

From Lisa See, author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, a Tea-Tasting Package to try raw and aged pu’er while reading the book.

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June 6, 2018 / Leslie

Wordless Wednesday: Green Heron

Almost wordless: I see an amazing variety of birds in the park near my house. This guy was sitting on a branch over the pond looking for a meal.

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More Wordless Wednesday.
Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy. Visit her blog to see more great photos.
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June 5, 2018 / Leslie

AudioBooks I Decided to DNF too Quickly?

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Topic

Books I Decided to DNF too Quickly?

Maybe I gave up on these too soon. I’m usually not quick to DNF a book, especially when it has a lot of positive reviews and is a subject or author I usually enjoy.

Since June is audiobook month, I have selected books I tried to listen to rather than read in print.

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Gave up about a quarter of the way through. I had high expectations after reading all the positive reviews but this was going nowhere for me. There were too many narrators, but most of all, there was no story and nothing to ground me. I enjoy biographies and historical works, but this book wasn’t engaging for me.

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I really enjoyed Girl on a Train so I was eagerly anticipating the author’s new book. But it wasn’t working for me. Too many changes in point of view! I could not follow the plot. If I can’t multitask while listening, I give up. Is it worth trying this in print?

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Got about a third of the way through the audio and just wasn’t getting into the story. Maybe I’m missing something. I may try again when I’m in the mood for fantasy, which is always a hit or miss genre with me.

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I listened to the first quarter of this book and gave up. Besides not liking the main character, I don’t like the narration. And that usually does it for me even if the book is good. The voice for Lily the dog is beyond annoying. The dog SHOUTS. OUT. HER. WORDS. And each word has a pause like its own sentence. Awful. Perhaps I would do better reading it rather than listening.

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After two attempts and several hours of trying to listen to the audiobook, I could not stay focused on the story. It was difficult to follow the subplots and many characters while listening and after a while I just didn’t care. I doubt I would like it much better in print and perhaps the story just isn’t right for me.

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I definitely did not give up on this one too soon but I had to include it as my number one audio fail. I might have been able to slog through the book to see what all the fuss was about, but the audio was so HORRIBLE, I had to stop listening.

The narrator’s voice was very annoying. In trying to sound young all I could hear was a “valley girl” type voice that was grating on my ears. The female voices all sounded the same and the narrator could not do a convincing male voice much less a hot, sexy male. Hearing her “Christian” speak was an immediate turn-off. The dialog itself isn’t very good and the audio version emphasized that enormously. If I had to hear “jeez”, “holy $hit” or how “weird” something was one more time I was going to scream! At almost 20 hours, this is too much for anyone to bear.

 

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