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Thanks to a couple long drives this month I was able to complete three (almost four) audiobooks. Of those, it was definitely a mixed bag. All entertained, but the one that truly stood out was a complete surprise to me!
I’ve struggled a bit finding audiobooks I really love this year, so if you’ve got any great recommendations, I’d love you to share.
My Thoughts: I don’t really consider myself a big Elin Hilderbrand fan. Her books can be a little too easy, a little too formulaic for my taste, and to be honest I’ve only read a few. One of those was last year’s 𝟸𝟾 𝘚𝘶𝘮𝘮𝘦𝘳𝘴, which I truly loved. I listened to it on audio and was such a fan that I put it on my 𝘉𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘉𝘰𝘰𝘬𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝟸𝟶𝟸𝟶 list. So, when faced with a six hour drive, I decided to spend it with the fabulous Erin Bennett, listening to 𝐆𝐎𝐋𝐃𝐄𝐍 𝐆𝐈𝐑𝐋, Hilderbrand’s 2021 offering. I was hoping to get substance in line with her previous novel.
Did I? Sadly, not really. I’m sure many Elin Hilderbrand fans will love 𝘎𝘰𝘭𝘥𝘦𝘯 𝘎𝘪𝘳𝘭, and it did entertain, but honestly the whole story felt like a big cheat to me. I don’t want to give anything away, so I can only speak generally. The entire storyline of this book was woven around a premise that gave the author permission to make unlikely plot points “make sense.” It felt very lazy, and way too easy. Top it off with the story being predictable and all too neat and tidy and you have one disappointed listener.
I hope I haven’t offended any Hilderbrand fans, but I just feel like she sort of phoned it in with this one. However, listening to Bennett’s narration elevated the story and, as usual, was fabulous. Grade: C
My Thoughts: I don’t get it! The hype around 𝐅𝐀𝐋𝐋𝐈𝐍𝐆 by T.J. Newman has been HUGE, really HUGE, so my expectations have been high, very high. Let’s see how those expectations worked out.
Was it a new sort of premise? Yes
Was it well told? Yes
Did it make me appreciate flight attendants more? Yes
Was the narration well done? Yes
Was it entertaining? Yes.
Did it keep me on the edge of my seat? No
Did it avoid the usual eye-rolling of thrillers? No
Would it make me think twice about flying? No
Would I call it great? No
Did it live up to all the hype? Sadly, not for me.
Hype can be a dangerous thing and I think that was definitely the case for me with 𝘍𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨. I expected more than was delivered. All that being said, I still enjoyed listening to 𝘍𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨 and know that it was loved by many. Grade: C+
Note: I received and ALC of this book from Simon Audio via Libro.fm in exchange for my honest thoughts.
My Thoughts: Finally! A nonfiction I loved! I’ve really struggled with nonfiction this year, both in finding books that interest me and in how I feel about them afterwards. Prior to NOWHERE GIRL by Cheryl Diamond, I’d only read 8 and the best rating I gave any of them was four stars. It was so nice to listen to Diamond’s memoir and love every minute of it.
Hers is a most unusual story of a most unusual life. Diamond’s earliest memories date back to when she was 4-year old Harbhajan and was living in India with her parents and older sister and brother. From there the family bounces around the world, making sudden moves when those around them get too curious or start asking questions. They take on new identities and new religions as her father plots new financial scams wherever they are. The older Diamond grows the more she realizes that MANY things about her family are more than just different. They aren’t right. She starts to see the lies and deceits that begin to tear her family apart.
Nowhere Girl is so unique, at times so unbelievable that it almost reads like fiction. For me, that’s the best sort of nonfiction. The audiobook was narrated by Eileen Stevens who did a fabulous job embodying Diamond and bringing light to her truly incredible life. I’ve searched and cannot find anything saying that Nowhere Girl has yet been optioned for film, but let me tell you, it would make a FABULOUS series! Grade: A
Bring on those audiobook recommendations!
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