Jennifer's books

Goodbye, Vitamin
American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land
Mrs. Hemingway
Poetry Will Save Your Life: A Memoir
The Princess Diarist
Watch Me Disappear
Hello, Sunshine
Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success
A Man Called Ove
The Heirs
Our Souls at Night
White Fur
Confessions of a Domestic Failure
The Map That Leads to You
The Little French Bistro
Love the Wine You're With
Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
The Party
New Boy

Jennifer Curry's favorite books »
Showing posts with label Audiobooks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Audiobooks. Show all posts

Monday, July 24, 2017

This Might Have Been My Best Book Week of 2017...

Book of the Month picks

I am not exaggerating. I read three excellent, extremely different books over the last 8 days. All courtesy of Book of the Month Club (BOTM). I do not work for BOTM. I am simply a recent subscriber, and I am sharing my love for the service with all of you because I love it (and you will too).

To be fair, I am posting a referral link to BOTM which offers new members 3 months for $9.99 each – that equals 3 new release hard back books for $29.97. If you so choose to click on the link below and give it a try, I will get a free month.

Now that the nasty business stuff is out of the way, let me tell you about the 3 incredible books I read this week. I have one for nonfiction lovers, one for realistic fiction lovers, and one for the horror lovers. It’s been a strange and delightful week.

American Fire by Monica Hesse

American Fire by Monica Hesse

Whoa. I didn’t choose this as one of my BOTM pick because I knew another friend choose it (we plan our months accordingly), but when I saw it pop up on my library’s Hoopla app, I downloaded it immediately. And, holy smokes (ha), is it good! I started listening and could not stop. I felt like I was listening to a Serial-like podcast.

American Fire by Monica Hesse hoopla

American Fire is the true story of a couple that goes on an arson spree in a rural town in Virginia destroying more than 80 residences. The firefighters are depleted. The community is reeling. The couple is on fire.

I had the opportunity to go hear Monica Hesse speak at Hub City Bookshop this Tuesday after listening (reading? Do you we call it reading if you just listen to the audiobook? What verb is more appropriate?) to the book over the weekend. She was wonderful. Her experience as a journalist and her passion for the story was evident. She lived in the town for months at a time – and she grew to know the members of the community.

It is a must read. I did buy a copy and asked her to sign it at the event.

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

Goodbye Vitamin Rachel Khong

The next book I read was Goodbye, Vitamin. This was one of my BOTM selections. This story focuses on a 30-year-old woman who returns home after breaking up with her fiancĂ© to help take care of her father who is starting to show signs of Alzheimer’s.

Written in a sort of diary format, this book made me laugh and cry within pages of one another. Ruth’s journey back home reveals truths about her father and her family and herself. As she struggles to come to terms with the father she thought she knew and the one she learned he is, the reader is right alongside her on the journey.

No one in the book is evil. No one is perfect. The characters are all real. The situation is realistic. You will feel frustrated and hopeful just like you would in real life.

It is one of the books you read that you are immediately glad you read. It was highly satisfying and one I think those who like family dramas, diaries, and heartbreak with laughter will love.

Final Girls by Riley Sager

Final Girls Riley Sager

Confession – I have not read a horror novel since I read R.L. Stine. I chicken out anytime I start to read Stephen King (just ask my book club). I have nightmares from shows like Criminal Minds. So, this novel was far from my usual reads.

 But, with all the positive reviews for Final Girls, I decided to pick it as one of my BOTM selections. I put off reading it until last night. And I started it when we put the kids to bed and did not put it down until I finished it around 1 AM.

Because, while it was horrifying, I had to know what happened and what was happening and why it seemed like it was all about to hit the fan.

Final Girls refers to the final girls that somehow survived bloodbath style massacres (think movie style massacres – college students in a cabin, sorority girls in their sorority row house, a cheap motel). The comparisons to slasher films is what ultimately made me buy it.

When one of the three nationally recognized final girls dies of an apparent suicide, the other two final girls meet in person. And, all hell breaks loose.

Told with flashbacks to the original Pine Cottage massacre and present day, you do not find out what happened or is happening until the final pages of the novel. It is a page-turner with entertaining plot points and quirky characters.

I am surprised (and happy) to announce I not only read the entire book without hiding it in my freezer, I enjoyed it and I did not have nightmares! (That may also be because I made my husband talk about all sorts of bright and shiny things like unicorns to take my mind off it before sleep).

Again, I think BOTM is great because it has introduced me to books I would never have picked on my own, but books that are some of the best I read this year – and this is just July’s book selection. However, if getting fun book mail monthly is not your thing, these books can be purchased on Amazon by clicking the pictures or links (or from your local library’s hold list).

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog!*

Monday, June 19, 2017

Book Review: Confessions of a Domestic Failure

Mom Monday Book Review: Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan

Moms of little ones – you need to read Bumni Laditan’s Confessions of a Domestic Failure right away! Many of you are already fans of her truthful and hilarious blog, The Honest Toddler. Like the blog, this book will make you laugh at the realities of mom life.

When I first heard about this book, I assumed it was her memoir. It isn’t. It is actually a fictional book about characters in the mom world. Specifically, one mom who wants to be a great mom but thinks she is failing compared to all the good moms she sees around her, on social media, and on television. (Sound familiar?)

The mommy guru she follows is hosting a mom competition with the winning mommy being award lots of money – and a prestigious mommy award. The main character, Ashley Keller, is thrilled when she is selected to be one of the contestants.

However, in the midst of the competition, she is dealing with the frustrations of not enough sleep, a dirty house, a pestering mother-in-law, marriage troubles, financial troubles, etc. She is also finding stay at home motherhood to be desperately lonely. 

While the motherhood competition sounds silly, the author uses her trademark poke fun at the ridiculousness to make it entertaining. For example, one event is focused on crafting which results in some hilariously realistic examples of moms who do versus moms who don’t.

I laughed throughout the book because I did recognize many of the mothers in this book. Even if they are caricatures, it is still easy to see who is who and what mommy tribe they belong in. There were several times I wanted to smack Ashley because she did things that were foolish (such as pretending to breastfeed to make friends in the Le Leche League). But, in the end, you will end up rooting for her.

I actually listened to the audiobook version of this novel and I found it very enjoyable. It was an entertaining and funny book to listen to and the narrator did a wonderful job. My husband even listened along with me in the car one day and thought it was funny. *Side note – we had to frantically turn it off when there is an unfortunate phone sex debacle that we didn’t want to explain to the children in the back seats. Haha!

The book is encouraging to moms and points out what we often try to hide – no one knows what they are doing and no one has it all together. 

I highly recommend it to all my friends doing their best to survive the early stages of motherhood, as well as fans of Bridget Jones and the Shopaholic series. It is a book that should be gifted at baby showers letting soon-to-be-moms know everyone is just full of it. 

* You may order this book from Amazon here. This is an affiliate link. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Amazon Prime Has Movies for Kids Based on Classic Children's Books

Anyone who knows me well knows that I could not survive without Amazon Prime. Our poor mail lady brings packages to our door several times a week. Diapers, wipes, coffee, Clorox wipes, and more come directly to my doorstep whenever I need them. In just TWO days!

(I’ll pause here to admit my extreme jealousy of those who live in towns where they can get their Amazon Prime goods delivered in a matter of hours. We have an Amazon distribution plant here locally. Something is not right about this issue. It is very unfair. And the Spartanburg Prime Peasants are angry.)

But, in addition to shopping for products, I love Amazon Prime for television! There are tons of shows and movies that we like to watch, and several are exclusive to Amazon Prime. Plus, they have added premium channels like HBO that you can pay for monthly.

Now, we are too cheap for anything premium, but I have found the loophole. You know during the summer when everything is on reruns? Well, you can pay for one month of HBO, watch it that summer month, cancel it and then do it again the next summer (or during Christmas holidays when everything is on repeat). You can cancel and restart anytime.

Today’s post is not really about my love of Amazon Prime, but my litlovingmom love of Amazon Prime’s children’s movies based on classics. I am a big fan of using visuals alongside books. There is something special about seeing your favorite book characters and stories “come to life” on a screen. It is also a great way to introduce “reading and seeing” to young children. If they can see how the words on the page turn into grand adventures, they will be more interested in reading.

Amazon Prime’s collection keeps growing, but here are my five of my current favorites.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

We are huge fans of this series, and my children practically have them memorized. However, this movie has the same characters, but the plot does not follow the book. If your children are fans of the series, they will like “hearing” and “seeing” their favorite mouse on a new adventure.

Room on the Broom

If you have not read this fantastic picture book, you need to get it today! It is a wonderful, creative story about helping others. In this story, the witch is not scary. She uses her spells to help others. But, there is a frightening dragon the witch and her animal friends have to fight. The great thing about this movie is that it follows the book line by line. I can’t count the number of times we have watched this one.

The Snowy Day

Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day is a classic that everyone should have in the home library. Thankfully, Miss Dolly Parton sent us our copy through the fantastic Imagination Library program. Right at the holidays this year, Amazon Prime released this beautiful adaptation. It features Boyz II Men. Do I need to say anything more?

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

For those parents who are fans of onomatopoeia and repetition, this is the book and movie for you. We read this book all the time in our home – and act it out. So, we were thrilled when this movie joined the Amazon Prime collection.

Reading Rainbow

Parents who grew up in the 80’s will be thrilled to know the Reading Rainbow is on Amazon Prime. The first four seasons are available, so these cover many wonderful children’s books. I loved Reading Rainbow as a kid, so I love being able to share it with my children. LeVar Burton is just awesome. I can still sing the theme song – anyone else?

What Amazon Prime movies or shows based on children’s books should I add to our watchlist?

* This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Book Review: The Marriage Lie

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

My book club read The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle this month, and while I had to miss because of this stupid cold, I have a feeling this book garnered quite the conversation. This is because I think this book falls squarely into the “Books You Love to Hate” category – and those are always so much fun to tear to pieces.

The Marriage Lie


When I say “Books You Love to Hate,” I do not mean it is terrible writing or anything like that. I mean books that have plots or characters that drive you crazy. In The Marriage Lie, the wife, Iris, finds out her husband has died in a plane crash. However, he should not have been on that plane headed to Seattle according to what he told his wife. He should be headed to Orlando. The first part of the book becomes a guessing game for Iris and readers. Was he having an affair? Did he have a whole other family and life on the opposite coast?

It becomes pretty obvious that while her husband is the liar of all liars, he did not have a whole separate wife and children. Instead, he had a whole life she knew nothing about before he met her involving one crime after another. Astute readers will be able to guess where this book is headed early on – he is not dead. Once the author and Iris are both in agreement with this fact, readers have to deal with multiple soliloquies where Iris waxes on about how even after all the lies, she still loves him. Gag. Y’all, I’m sorry, but I wanted to hit the women in the head with the book.

Let me be clear about something. I think it is absolutely terrible when a woman finds out a huge secret about her husband. And, I know it does happen. I have friends it has happened to. The ones that scare me the most are the women who claim they truly had no clue what he was up to. So, as I was reading this book and hearing the times Iris’s friends and family asked her difficult questions about her husband and heard her respond, “Well, no. I gave him a long leash,” I wanted to scream. Because knowing about your life partner is your business. I am all up in my husband’s business. And I expect him to be the same with me.

As the book was wrapping up, I was seriously at the point of wanting to hurl my earbuds across the room (listened on audible, y’all – and the dramatized reader was highly entertaining). But, Kimberly Belle found a way to redeem the book with the book’s FINAL PARAGRAPH. Way to go. You got me. And I would have really mad at you if you didn’t.

If you want to see what all the hype is about, you can jump into your library’s wait list or you can purchase it from amazon here. This is an affiliate link. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Book Review: Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)

Between doing laundry and school pickup, I had the pleasure of listening to the audiobook version of Talking As Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham (read by the author). As a huge Gilmore Girls fan, I have been anxiously waiting for my turn on the library’s hold list to get my turn to hear her story. It did not disappoint.

lauren graham talking book

Graham spends some time discussing her childhood and her education, though I wish she had told us more as it sounded quite unusual. For instance, she lived with her father on a houseboat and could read fluently by the time she entered kindergarten. Then, she moves on to discuss her career journey. Again, she is so entertaining, I wish I could have heard even more of her personal stories about the ins and outs of the business.

The highlight of the book for me had to be the amount of time she spent discussing Gilmore Girls (the original and the Netflix reboot). A large portion of the book is dedicated to discussing what her time on the show was like, her friendships with the other Gilmore actors and her feelings about the show in general.

As I listened, I could tell she loved the show and was overjoyed with an opportunity to finish the show correctly. (The original series ended abruptly without the actors or crew knowing it was the end.) The last section of the book is actually Graham’s diary from filming the new reboot. It was a fun way to hear her read the diary entries with her usual mix of upbeat humor and honest reflection.

Between her shocked admission to the show’s FINAL FOUR WORDS and her tears at the finale, I was enthralled. I just love her. I loved her on Gilmore Girls and Parenthood. I loved her fiction novel. I loved this memoir. If you are a fan of Graham’s or the Gilmore’s, give it a read (or a listen). 

You can purchase the book on amazon if you don't want to wait for the hold lists at your library. This is an affiliate link. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Friday, January 27, 2017

First Five Books of 2017

I plan to write book reviews as I read them. Since I am just started this blog, I want to do a little bit of catching up. My mother-in-law gave me an awesome reading journal for Christmas that I have been using. It is such a treat for a book nerd like me. It not only has space to journal, it has lots of checklists! So far, I have read and recorded my thought about five very different books. Read along for my quick takes.

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher

I listened to the audiobook version of this memoir, which was read by the author, to honor Carrie Fisher who passed away this Christmas. I am sad that she left us, and I am disappointed it took her passing for me to read one of her books. Wishful Drinking was originally a one-woman stand-up show, so it translates well as an audiobook. Fisher is hilariously sarcastic even when discussing difficult subjects such as drug abuse, alcoholism, mental illness and failed marriages. Her love for her mother, daughter and brother is clear in every anecdote. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys celebrity memoirs, likes to learn about people who struggle with mental illness or for those looking for an entertaining car trip audiobook.

Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsburg

Beat poetry

As a lover of poetry and an English major, I figured it was time to read the classic poem "Howl" in its entirety along with the other poems in this collection. While I did enjoy the poetic elements (rhythm, word choice, repetition, alliteration, consonance and assonance), I did not enjoy the content. Ginsburg writes from a dark place that I have little to no understanding. The poem focuses on the seedy underbelly of society. I enjoyed the "sounds" of his poetry - I just did not like what he said with those "sounds." However, while I can not appreciate the situations because they are so far out of my realm, I can appreciate the importance of this poem and beat poetry.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult

The initial premise of the latest Picoult novel is eye-catching. It focuses on a Neo-Nazi couple who give birth and refuse care from the only black nurse at the hospital. When the baby goes into cardiac arrest, does the black nurse intervene even when she has been told she should have no interaction with the baby because of her skin color? And what are the consequences either way? In this novel, Picoult goes back to writing courtroom dramas using multiple narrators. There is also the usual twist at the end. Unfortunately, several events occurred during the falling action that I found implausible. Some characters acted in ways that did not align with the character traits we'd read about for the duration of the novel. While the premise is intriguing, the novel itself let me down.

The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare

It has been a few years since I have read any Shakespeare, so I decided to read The Taming of the Shrew This is a comedy I have not read, but a plot line and characters I am familiar with due to the movies based on it (such as 10 Things I Hate About You). I listened to a dramatized audio version of the play while attempting to keep up with my son's Lego Brick Shakespeare version. Unfortunately, the Lego Brick Shakespeare version is abridged, so it was difficult to follow along this way. The lego illustrations were funny though. The play revolves around a man (Lucentio) who wishes to marry Bianca; however, her more stubborn sister must marry first. Enter Pertruchio. Petruchio's goal is to marry the older sister, Katherine, in order to receive a large dowry. The basic plot is entertaining, but I was disappointed by the whole idea of having to "tame a shrew" - in other words, quiet and still Katherine's fiery and feisty personality.

Love Story: The Hand that Holds Us from the Garden to the Gate by Nichole Nordeman

Nichole Nordeman

Wow. I have known Nichole Nordeman as a singer for years. I even sang her songs for solos in church. But, I didn't think of her as a storyteller until I heard her speak at the Belong Tour. Her soft, heart spoken truths stayed with me. So, when I read a recent post on social media by her and was moved again, I decided to see if she had published anything else. I was thrilled to find this book. I bought a copy immediately and it was the perfect remedy for what had been a difficult weekend. As I read each page, I grew. She uses personal reflections and stories to discuss her take on how different Biblical men and women might have felt when they understood the Savior's love. This is one of the few books I think I will read again. I wish she would write another one.