First Light by Bill Rancic & Barbara Keel #AudiobookReview A Story of Survival @BillRancic #SundayBlogShare

A father from Chicago takes a road trip to the city of Whitehorse, in Yukon Territory, with his wife and son. During the car ride, they reveal to the boy their harrowing experience surviving a horrific plane crash in the wilderness ten years before, which is how the boy, in fact, came to be born.

When the invitation arrived to attend a ceremony about to be held in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, honouring the victims and survivors of the plane crash that almost cost the lives of his family, he decided it was time. His son deserved to know what happened to his parents. The trip will take several days by car, neither he nor Kerry would get on a plane again. They can use the time to tell Jackson the whole story. Continue reading

In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scott ~ Contemporary #Fiction #Audiobook #TuesdayBookBlog

Twenty years ago, six Penn students shared a house, naively certain that their friendships would endure—until the death of their ringleader and dear friend Bea splintered the group for good. Now, mostly estranged from one another, the remaining five reluctantly gather at that same house on the eve of what would have been Bea’s fortieth birthday.

It’s almost twenty years since six students, Bea, Lindy, Catherine, Annie, Owen and Colin, spent their last night together at Pennsylvania University. The proposed reunion and time capsule was Bea’s idea, the letters they wrote to their forty year old selves cataloguing hopes for the future; where they’ll be, what they want to achieve. They were all going their separate ways the next day, Catherine and Owen to married bliss, Lindy and Annie to New York and Colin to medical school. Bea wanted be certain they’d always be close, a family. Continue reading

Morrighan (The Remnant Chronicles 0.5) by Mary E Pearson #TuesdayBookBlog #YA #PostApocalyptic

Before borders were drawn, before treaties were signed, before wars were waged anew, before the great kingdoms of the Remnant were even born and the world of old was only a hazy slate of memory told in story and legend, a girl and her family fought to survive. 

Although this is a prequel it can be read as a standalone novella. I haven’t yet read any of the Remnant Chronicles so I’m not sure of the connection to the series. From what I can gather the characters in this don’t feature in the main storyline and are, perhaps, ancestors.  Continue reading

Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline ~ #TuesdayBookBlog ~ Contemporary #Fiction #audiobookreview

Lisa Scottoline delivers another searing, powerful blockbuster novel that explores hot-button issues within the framework of an intricately plotted thriller. When a woman and her husband, desperate for a baby, find themselves unable to conceive, they decide to take further steps.

Christine and Marcus Nilsson are unable to begin the family they so desperately want due to Marcus’ infertility, so decide to use donor sperm. All is going well until, one day, Christine sees a news report on the TV showing the arrest of a suspected serial killer. The man closely resembles the photograph she has of her donor. Christine panics and the situation is further compounded by Marcus’ growing ‘all about me’ attitude. Cracks begin to appear in their relationship and Christine, despite Marcus’ objections, has to know the truth since Homestead, the sperm donor facility, will neither confirm or deny the identity of their donor. Continue reading

Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young ~ #YA #AudiobookReview ‘Stay Tonight, Stay Forever’

  • 24465518Audiobook Review
  • Author: Suzanne Young
  • Performed by Julia Whelan
  • Published: Simon & Schuster Audio, released on Audible November 2015
  • Category: Young Adult, Supernatural
  • three-half-stars

When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.

Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are devastated over the sudden and premature death of their mother. Their father is also finding it hard to cope and is taking them to stay with their grandmother. The three of them are distanced from each other, dealing with grief, or not, in their own way. Tired and emotional, their father decides on a one night stop over at the Hotel Ruby. Continue reading

Before He Finds Her by @michael_kardos #mystery #audiobook @justjuliawhelan #SundayBlogShare

  • BeforeHeFinds herAudiobook Review
  • Author: Michael Kardos
  • Performed by Julia Whelan
  • Released by Audible: November 2015 and Published by Jammer Audio
  • Category: Suspense, Mystery
  • four-half-stars

Everyone in the quiet Jersey Shore town of Silver Bay knows the story: on a Sunday evening in September 1991, Ramsey Miller threw a blowout block party, then murdered his beautiful wife and three-year-old daughter.

The story opens with a blog post from Arthur Goodale, an eighty-one year old blogger, writing from his hospital bed in the critical care unit after having bypass surgery. A retired newspaperman, one story which has never been solved is always present in Arthur’s thoughts. That is the case of murdered Alison Miller and the subsequent disappearance of her husband, Ramsey Miller and their daughter, Meg. No motive was ever uncovered and no sightings of Ramsey or Meg have ever been reported but their disappearance led the people of Silver Bay and the authorities to believe Ramsey was responsible. Why Ramsey did it and how he and Meg vanished, and where to, have plagued Arthur for the fifteen years since the murder. Continue reading

Playing With Fire by @tessgerritsen ~ #Historical/Present Day @jwdamron @justjuliawhalen #SundayBlogShare

Julia doesn’t understand what is happening to her daughter, but she thinks she knows what’s causing it. She is terrified for Lily, and for herself, but what scares her more is that no one believes her.

If she is going to help Lily, she will have to find the answers alone, embarking on a search that will take her to the shadowy back streets of Venice. 

There, Julia uncovers a heartbreaking, long-buried tale of tragedy and devastation – a discovery that puts her in serious danger. Some people will do anything in their power to keep the truth silent . . .

Playing With Fire is two interwoven stories from different times. Julia Ansdell is a professional violinist living in present day America with her husband, Rob and three-year old daughter, Lily. While on a visit to Rome Julia finds an old book of music in an antique shop, which contains a hand written piece of music; a waltz entitled Incendio, composed by L Todesco. As she reads the music, desperate to test the notes on her violin, she knows she must have it. Continue reading

Plus One ~ #Audiobook @elizabethfama #YA @justjuliawhelan Alternate Reality

A dying wish. A family divided. A love that defies the law.

Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day/night divide, Elizabeth Fama’s Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.

Following the flu pandemic of 1918, the medical profession was divided into day and night teams in order to cope with the scale of the disease. Before long this segregation was widened to encompass the whole population, which served to slow and eventually stop the spread of the flu, and continued even after the epidemic was over in order to increase efficiency and production. Those who live and work during the night hours are known as Smudges, those more privileged who live in daylight hours are Rays. Lives are rigidly controlled and restricted. Phones are controlled and tracked.  The laws are strictly upheld and any misdemeanour is punishable.  Continue reading

The Visitant ~ A Venetian Ghost Story

  • Audiobook ReviewTheVisitant
  • Author: Megan Chance
  • Performed by Julia Whelan
  • Published: September 2015 by Brilliance Audio
  • Category: Historical Fiction, Paranormal
  • four-stars

After she nearly ruins her family with a terrible misstep, Elena Spira is sent to Venice to escape disgrace and to atone by caring for the ailing Samuel Farber. But the crumbling and decaying Ca’ Basilio palazzo, where Samuel is ensconced, holds tragic secrets, and little does Elena know how profoundly they will impact her. Soon she begins to sense that she is being watched by something. And when Samuel begins to have hallucinations that make him violent and unpredictable, she can’t deny she’s in mortal danger.

Elena Spira is sent to Venice by her father to nurse Samuel Farber, a man from a wealthy family, who was badly beaten while in Rome. He is the guest of his good friend, Nero Basilio, who owns the Casa Basilio, while he recuperates. He also has epilepsy, which Elena is under instruction to keep secret from all at the Casa. In those days the condition was misunderstood and deemed to have it’s roots in insanity. Continue reading

The Collector ~ the audiobook

  • The CollectorAuthor: Nora Roberts
  • Performed by Julia Whelan
  • Released: April, 2014 by Brilliance Audio
  • Category: Murder/Mystery/Romance
  • three-half-stars

As a professional house-sitter and freelance writer, nothing ties Lila Emerson down—not her work, not a home, and definitely not a relationship. She spends her life moving from one job to the next, sometimes crashing at a friend’s Manhattan apartment. And though she can appreciate her clients’ extraordinary homes, their expensive collections, and their adorable pets, Lila has never longed for possessions of her own. Everything she has, including her heart, is portable.

But when she witnesses a possible murder-suicide from her current apartment-sitting job, life as Lila knows it takes a dramatic turn.

Artist Ashton Archer knows his charming, clever, and impulsive brother couldn’t have killed his girlfriend—or taken his own life. His hope of unraveling what happened lies with Lila, the only eyewitness. And even buried in grief, Ash longs to paint the woman whose deep, dark eyes seem to hold endless reserves of strength and a fiery passion.

Chalking up their intense attraction to the heat of the moment, Lila agrees to help Ash in trying to find out who murdered his brother and why. From the penthouses of Manhattan to grand Italian villas, their investigation draws them into a rarefied circle where priceless antiques are bought, sold, gambled away, and stolen, where what you possess is who you are, and where what you desire becomes a deadly obsession….

Lila Emerson, house sitter and YA author, looks after clients homes, their pets and plants.  She loves to people watch and get a view of other people’s lives and her binoculars are never far away. Her present job is an apartment in a high-rise in NYC, the perfect place to indulge her hobby.

I like to watch people, think up stories about them. It’s spying.” She said flatly. “I don’t think of it that way, honestly don’t mean it that way, but it’s spying. It’s just…all those windows are like little worlds.

After a cupcake and wine evening with her best friend and unable to sleep she decides to settle down with her binoculars. What she sees changes her life.

It’s all there, murder, bad guys, mystery and romance but it just didn’t sing for me. I couldn’t really connect with the characters although I did like the idea of having such a large family a spreadsheet was needed to keep everyone in some sort of order.

Ms Roberts is a wonderful writer and paints a vivid picture of places and characters. However, there were so many descriptive passages that didn’t really enhance the depth of the story and the level of tension was lower than expected given the storyline. 

The historical background on the Fabergé Eggs was interesting as was the description of the Italian trip. I do sometimes wonder though, how many books an author can write without them and/or the characters becoming slightly repetitive and stereotypical. 

It was an enjoyable enough listen, more like a cozy mystery than a suspenseful thriller.

Julia Whelan did a great job with the narration.

The book can be purchased from Amazon UK and Amazon US