Sunday, October 27, 2013

Audiobook Review: Happiness as a Second Language: A Guidebook to Achieving Lasting Permanent Happiness

Happiness as a Second Language: 
A Guidebook to Achieving Lasting Permanent Happiness
Author: Valerie Alexander
Narrator: Valerie Alexander
Unabridged, Length 3 hrs, 8 min
Publisher: Valerie Alexander 10/1/13

Publishers Summary:

The Ultimate Happiness "Textbook" for Everyone!
Happiness as a Second Language teaches happiness step-by-step, in the same manner as one would learn a new language. Each chapter builds on the concepts and exercises in the previous one, starting with the most basic lessons, progressing through the intermediate stages, and finally graduating to the more advanced concepts.
In addition, the audiobook contains "Audiobook Bonus" segments at the end of select chapters where the author has created exclusive audiobook content containing additional anecdotes and examples.
It is simple and straightforward, the instructions easy to follow, and the sample situations familiar, touching, often heartbreaking and sometimes hysterical. Listening to this book is the first step in your journey towards a lifetime of happiness.
Some of the work may seem hard, but with time and effort, you can be fluent in happiness.
©2010 Valerie Alexander (P)2013 Valerie Alexander

My Thoughts:

I think of myself as a happy person already so one of the reasons that I decided to listen to this book is that I felt that it would give me some insight about myself and inspiration to enhance my happiness.  It absolutely did.  

In the chapter "Saying Who You Are," Alexander uses the example of following a slow driver (which she usually has no tolerance for) but stopping to say out loud "I am happy" and then realizing that happy people don't let one slow driver ruin their day.  I've never let slow drivers bother me.  In fact, people riding with me are sometimes annoyed that I don't just whip around the offending driver.  The first time I listened to the book I thought to myself, well, maybe I do know some happiness baby talk.  Then the second time I listened, I realized there are other annoyances and frustrations that I allow to momentarily ruin my happiness.  I'm now trying to stop and realize that I'm a happy person and happy people do not let minor annoyances take their happiness away.  That's just one insight of many.  I listened twice and now I'm going through the Kindle edition, making notes and learning more.

I know people who live in a world of misery, not realizing that it can be changed.  I will recommend Happiness as a Second Language to any of them who will listen.  Anyone can learn the language of happiness. 

Valerie Alexander's narration is perfect.  She has a very pleasant voice and sounds so happy.  I give Happiness as a Second Language a five star rating.

Audiobook review copy provided by the author and publisher Valerie Alexander. 

Happiness as a Second Language in audio format is available at Audible. The Kindle edition is available at Amazon.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Audiobook Review: The Impersonator

The Impersonator
Author: Mary Miley
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Unabridged, Length 11hrs, 58 min
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc 9/17/13

 Publishers Summary:
 In 1924, a young vaudeville actress takes on the role of a lifetime when she impersonates a missing heiress in The Impersonator, the 2012 MB/MWA First Novel Competition winner. 

In 1917, Jessie Carr, fourteen years old and sole heiress to her family's vast fortune, disappeared without a trace. Now, years later, her uncle Oliver Beckett thinks he's found her: a young actress in a vaudeville playhouse is a dead ringer for his missing niece. But when Oliver confronts the girl, he learns he's wrong. Orphaned young, Leah's been acting since she was a toddler.  Oliver, never one to miss an opportunity, makes a proposition - with his coaching, Leah can impersonate Jessie, claim the fortune, and split it with him. The role of a lifetime, he says. A one-way ticket to Sing Sing, she hears. But when she's let go from her job, Oliver's offer suddenly looks a lot more appealing. Leah agrees to the con but secretly promises herself to try and find out what happened to the real Jessie. There's only one problem: Leah's act won't fool the one person who knows the truth about Jessie's disappearance. 

Set against a Prohibition-era backdrop of speakeasies and vaudeville houses, Mary Miley's The Impersonator will delight readers with its elaborate mystery and lively prose.
©2013 Mary Miley Theobald (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.   

My Thoughts:

I loved The Impersonator so much that I listened to it again.  I don't find many audiobooks that please me so much in every way.   I love Leah Randall.  She  is a truly delightful character and it was a real treat to follow her adventure impersonating the young heiress Jessie Carr.  I loved the mystery and suspense as Leah/Jessie turned her talents to solving murders and, even though it would put her own life in danger, she tries to find out what happened to the real Jessie.

I loved that it was set in the Roaring Twenties and is all about vaudeville.  Author Mary Miley made vaudeville come alive for me and sent me researching for more about that era.  I especially loved the way real vaudeville performers were integrated into the story.  My favorite was Jack Benny.  Leah had shared the stage with Benny and become friends.  She asked him to help her with the murder investigation and he gladly did so.  I can remember sitting with my ear glued to the radio when I was a very small child, delighting in the Jack Benny Show (his later ones).  A warm memory that sent me searching the internet where I found all of the Jack Benny Shows.  

I loved the narration.  This was my first experience with Tavia Gilbert's work.  Her stellar performance gave Leah/Jessie's voice energy and sparkle.  She was great with all the voices.  I'm adding her to my favorite narrator list.

I was happy to find The Impersonator is the first in the Roaring Twenties series.  I can't wait for the next one!  I absolutely loved it and I give it 5 stars for story, narration and production.  I would recommend it to anyone who who likes a good mystery/thriller, especially one set in the Roaring Twenties. 

Review copy provided by Blackstone Audio via the Audiobook Jukebook Solid Gold Reviewer program. 


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Audiobook Review: Dream Doctor: Dreams, Book 2

Dream Doctor: Dreams, Book 2
Author: J.J. DiBendetto
Narrator: Heather Jane Hogan
Unabridge, 11 hrs, 6 min
Publisher: James J. DiBendetto 
Audio release date: 10/2/13
 Book Description 
“I didn’t expect to be woken up by someone I don’t know dreaming about killing somebody. I thought I was done with that once and for all…”

But Sara’s not done with it. As if adjusting to life as a newlywed and starting medical school weren’t difficult enough, she’s started seeing the dreams of everyone around her, again. Before everything is said and done, those dreams might destroy Sara’s hopes of becoming a doctor, wreck her marriage and even end her life…

“Dream Doctor” is the thrilling second novel in the Dreams series©2013.

 James DiBenedetto (P)2013 James DiBenedetto. 

My Thoughts:

Dream Doctor, the second book in the Dreams series, begins about a year and a half after Dream Student.  Sara and Brian are now married and Sara is very busy with medical school.  The dreams have begun again.  More than one person is dreaming about killing the unpopular professor, Dr. Morris.   And Sara is seeing the dreams of people who are close to her - friends, classmates and family.  Being newly married, she wants to tell Brian everything but has to learn to keep the secrets of those whose dreams she sees.  Keeping the details of her dreams to herself is good practice. After all, a doctor's duty is to keep patient information private.  But she doesn't have to keep the dreams of the potential killer to herself and Brian makes a great partner in helping to solve the mystery.  I love the combination of romance, college life and mystery.  I can see how Sara is maturing as a person and future doctor. 

I do have one nit picky thing that bothered me.  Sara is intelligent and a college student.  She should know the "I and you" grammar rule (e.g. "following Brian and I" instead of "following Brian and me").  

Heather Jane Hogan has a nice voice and I enjoyed her performance except for her pace.  Again, as in Dream Student, I had to speed it up.  Her slow pace might not bother other listeners as it does sound dreamy. I'm glad my audiobook app has the option to listen faster.  

Dream Doctor can stand on it's own but is a great sequel to Dream Student.  I recommend the series to anyone who likes a bit of romance along with the mystery.

Review copy provided by James J. DiBendetto, author and publisher