Looking for a few audiobooks to close out August? I’ll review two this week on Book Talk Tuesdays–a non-fiction title about a war heroine and a fast-paced general fiction novel.
I receive free electronic advanced reader copies of these books through an arrangement between the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion on NetGalley’s website. I only review books on my blog that I really love.
Audiobooks, or Books on Tape?
I date myself by even asking that question. But I have a really hard time calling audiobooks anything but ‘books on tape.’ My first introduction to stories happened when my parents would play the stories of Dr. Rabbit on our old plastic white and orange recording player.
My next memories of listening to stories happened when my parents would check out cassette tapes of books from the library and play them when the family went on road trips. If the tape happened to break in the middle of the story, we’d break out in an uproar.
These days, we don’t have to worry about scratched records, broken tapes, or missing CDs from the library’s collection. Audible and other companies offer digital copies of books that a person can download right to one’s phone. Audiobook bliss! If the narrator speaks too slowly, you can always increase the narration speed (I’ve done this multiple times).
What’s your first memory of books on tape (or record, or CD)? Do you listen to a certain type of book more than others? Or maybe you don’t listen to audiobooks at all. Do tell. I’d love to know!
The Indomitable Florence Finch: The Untold Story of a War Widow Turned Resistance fighter and Savior of American POWs
by Robert T. Mrazek, Hachette Audio, Narrated by Dan Woren, 10 hours and 19 minutes.
Children grow up learning about war heroes—the men who fought and died for freedom. Unfortunately, school children rarely learn the just as thrilling stories of the women who made the men’s victories possible. This book shows how it takes both men and women to fight for freedom.
Florence, a mestiza (her father was American and her mother a Filipina), left home at age seven and soon learned to rely on her intelligence and intuition to make her way in life. After finishing high school, she found a position working as a secretary for Carl Engelbart, the deputy chief of intelligence for the Americans in the Philippines.
Florence met her husband while working in the intelligence office, and they married shortly before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. This book chronicles Florence’s acts of heroism during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. Her acts of bravery saved American lives not only in the prisoner of war camps (where her former employer, Carl Engelbart was imprisoned), but among those citizens living in imprisonment in Manila.
Readers young and old will enjoy the story of heroism and bravery by an ordinary woman who saw an opportunity to do her part to fight for freedom and never backed down. A caution for younger listeners, the scenes from imprisonment are truthful but harsh. I’d would listen along with my pre-teens and younger teens.Don't miss this amazing story of resilience and courage from @HachetteAudio Click To Tweet
By Beth O’Leary, Macmillan Audio, Narrated by Alison Steadman and Daisy Edgar-Jones, 10 hours and 11 minutes.
Trigger warning—this delightful story will keep you laughing out loud and crying quietly into your Kleenex.
Leena Cotton succumbs to a panic attack in the middle of a presentation to a client at work. Not something the old Leena would do. But for the past year, the old Leena has slowly disappeared. When her boss orders her to take a two-month holiday, Leena grudgingly complies.
Eileen Cotton, Leena’s 79-year-old newly single grandmother, has problems of her own. Her husband left her over a year ago, and Eileen doesn’t think she’s too old to love again. But the possible pool of suitors in her tiny village doesn’t look promising.
When Leena heads north to visit her grandma, the two decide they each need a change of pace. Leena needs to escape everything to do with her job, and Eileen needs to find a bigger dating pool. They do the logical thing—agree to switch lives and locations for two months.
Eileen leaves Leena with a list of her normal village responsibilities (how hard could it be to fill the shoes of an almost octogenarian?). Leena turns her trendy flat and quirky flat mates over to Eileen (what kind of trouble could an elderly lady encounter in London?).
As the two women make their way in each other’s territory, they find joy and healing in the least expected places.
Why I Loved This Book
Beautifully narrated by Alison Steadman and Daisy Edgar-Jones, listeners will enjoy the comic scenes of this fast-paced story about finding oneself—no matter one’s age. While not the normal genre I listen to, I loved the narrators and the subject matter. While seemingly lighthearted, the author weaves a more serious strain on how we deal with grief into the pages of the story. Recommended for a mature audience (Leena uses the f-word frequently, and it has PG-13-bedroom scenes), but definitely worth the listen.If you love quirky comedy and relatable romance, you'll love #TheSwitch by @OLearyBeth. It's not just a fluffy romance, though. #amlistening #amreading #bookreview Click To Tweet