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Have I got a story for you 2015 Articles

For your reading convenients below you will find all the have I got a story for you published in 2015

January 2015

Revival
Written by Stephen king
Read by David Morse
Reading time; 13 hours and 24 minutes

In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs - including Jamieís mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.

Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of 13, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his familyís horrific loss. In his mid-30s - addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate - Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devilís devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings.

This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written. It is a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Frank Norris, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe.

My Comments;

I have never been much of a King fan, I did not care for his early works but, his later books have been wonderful. King makes us stop and think, is there really something after death? And if so, what is it? Will we see each other? Know each other? Find the answers to all our questions? This book is full of complex characters as well as simple ones. Heartbreaking, uplifting and mesmerizing all in 1 story. Like a fine wine, King gets better with age. This book is available from audible and I would not be surprised if it gets to BARD in a very short time.

Wayfaring Stranger
Written by James Lee Burke
Read by Will Patton
Reading time; 13 hours and 10 minutes

It is 1934 and the Depression is bearing down when 16-year-old Weldon Avery Holland happens upon infamous criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow after one of their notorious armed robberies. A confrontation with the outlaws ends as Weldon puts a bullet through the rear window of Clydeís stolen automobile. Ten years later, Second Lieutenant Weldon Holland and his sergeant, Hershel Pine, escape certain death in the Battle of the Bulge and encounter a beautiful young woman named Rosita Lowenstein hiding in a deserted extermination camp. Eventually, Weldon and Rosita fall in love and marry and, with Hershel, return to Texas to seek their fortunes. There, they enter the domain of jackals known as the oil business. They meet Roy Wiseheart - a former Marine aviator haunted with guilt for deserting his squadron leader over the South Pacific and Royís wife, Clara, a vicious anti-Semite who is determined to make Weldon and Rositaís life a nightmare. It will be the frontier justice upheld by Weldonís grandfather, Texas lawman Hackberry Holland, and the legendary antics of Bonnie and Clyde that shape Weldonís plans for saving his family from the evil forces that lurk in peacetime America and threaten to destroy them all.

My comments;

James Lee Burke weaves powerful people, settings and history into each of his books and this one is no exception. His ability to pull emotions out of the reader is one reason I love his books. Burke can paint such a vibrant picture with words; you canít help but be drawn to the story. Here are just a few examples that made me catch my breath. ď The sun, a lemon colored piece of shaved ice.Ē Advice from the Grandfather, ďRich or Poor everybody gets to the barn and it can be a hard ride sometimes.Ē And one that truly moved me, ďSunsets that were like a metaphysical representation of the passion of Christ.Ē Will Pattonís narration is second to none. I cannot imagine reading a Burke novel without Will as my reader I have enjoyed all of the Dave Robicheaux books and will continue to be an avid Burke fan. This book is available from audible and on BARD as DB 75692. .

February 2015

As 2014 closes and a new year begins, we are inundated with ďbest ofĒ, ďmost popularĒ and ďtop 100 of everythingĒ lists. I am always interested to read the different book lists. I even vote on a few of them on Good Reads and other book sites.

So, do you grab the top 3 books and make a pledge to read them? Are your expectations high? Are you ever disappointed? If you are disappointed, will you give this author another try?

Below are 3 books that fit this category for me. First, all 3 are new to me, never before read authors. Next, I do not shy away from a long book. I really enjoy getting lost in a lengthy, engaging story, and I try to keep an open mind and not take reviews too much to heart.

Read on and then let me know what you think about new- to- you- authors, books you have been waiting to dig into, and how you feel about the writers.

All the Light We Cannot See
Written by Anthony Doerr
Read by Zach Appelman
Reading time; 16 hours and 2 minutes
Available on audible and on BARD as DB 79182

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laureís reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museumís most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laureís converge.

My comments;

This book is voted best of 2014 on so many lists, I just had to get it and read it. It is beautifully written, heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time and tells a story of struggle and hope. I kept waiting for that big ah ha moment and I never got it. After all the things I had read about this book, I was set to be blown away, but I was not. What I did get out of this book is a hard look at what the everyday German went through during World War 2, whether they wanted to or not, they had to choose. The lives of these people were turned upside down and their future uncertain. This book and The Book Thief written by Markus Zusak bring this aspect of the war to life. A lovely book that I do recommend.

The Book of Strange New Things
Written by Michel Faber
Read by Josh Cohen
Reading time;19 hours and 27 minutes
Available from audible and on BARD as DB 80328

It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC. His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter's teachings - his Bible is their "book of strange new things". But Peter is rattled when Bea's letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling. Bea's faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter.

My Comments;

Faber has been praised from one end of the book world to the other. This is not his first book, but it was for me. The story got bogged down, dragged on, and stalled out in several places. He could have trimmed it down considerably. The narrator had to read the speech of the aliens and it was a task to listen to, it sounded awkward and forced. An uncomfortable fit for an audio book. I liked the concept and where he was going, he just could not get there. It had a strange, abrupt ending as well. I will read another book by Michell Faber and hope it is better.

Remember Me Like This
Written by Bret Anthony Johnston
Read by Mark Bramhall
Reading time; 12 hours and 45 minutes
Available on audible and on BARD as Db 78840

Years have passed since Justin Campbellís disappearance, a tragedy that rocked the small town of Southport, Texas. Did he run away? Was he kidnapped? Did he drown in the bay? As the Campbells search for answers, they struggle to hold whatís left of their family together.

Then, one afternoon, the impossible happens. The police call to report that Justin has been found only miles away, in the neighboring town, and, most important, he appears to be fine. Though the reunion is a miracle, Justinís homecoming exposes the deep rifts that have diminished his family, the wounds they all carry that may never fully heal. Trying to return to normal, his parents do their best to ease Justin back into his old life. But as thick summer heat takes hold, violent storms churn in the Gulf and in the Campbellsí hearts. When a reversal of fortune lays bare the familyís greatest fears - and offers perhaps the only hope for recovery - each of them must fight to keep the ties that bind them from permanently tearing apart.

My comments;

I love it when a book quietly creeps upon you, weaving softly in and out and then you realize, you are hooked. Johnston does just that with Remember Me Like This. You expect to hear all the details of a child kidnapping, all the horrible things that happen to Justin, the thoughts of the kidnapper and what drove him to do this crime. But, not in this one, Johnston tells the other stories, all the stories of each family member, the friends, the community before, during and after the ordeal of Justin being taken. I really enjoyed this one and have already grabbed Johnstonís book of short stories called, Corpus Christi. A wonderful young writer.

March 2015

The Repeat Reader:

Do you reread books? Why? Do you go for a comfort factor??Is it to revisit a favorite author? Do you have one book that you return to time after time?

I poll several people in prep for my articles. I use a wide range of folks, blind and sighted, the young and the not so young, from all over the world and all walks of life. The majority of my readers said they hardly, if ever, reread a book. There is just so much out there to get to. I had one person that when he finished the Hunger Games Trilogy, he went back and read the first book again. He said it just brought it full circle for him.

Lots of you go for the comfort read, the childhood favorite, the book that gives you an emotional connection to a good time in your life. I will reread my favorite series in order to bring me back to the spot where the next book starts. To date, I have only done this with two series; The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon and the Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. Many of you will reread a classic such Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck or Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I do have some standalone novels that I will go back to from time to time. We will discuss ďcomfort readsĒ in another edition.

Below are three books. The first is a long standing favorite of mine. It is written by one of my all-time favorite authors, Anne Rivers Siddons. There is just something in this book that speaks to me. I have read it three times now, with about 10 to 12 years in-between readings. It is still a great read for me. The next two are by the same author, Mary Doria Russell. The first book is The Sparrow. I read this one several years ago; loved it and tucked it away as a great read and one to recommend. Until I learned that she had written a sequel, The Children of God. I went back and reread The Sparrow in order to be at the right place to start the sequel. I was not disappointed. If I had not been so taken with the first book, Iím not sure if I would have reread it before reading the second one.

Just like most of you, I have so many books on my ďto be readĒ list that it must be a great book for me to revisit it. Iíd love to hear if you reread books, why or why not. Also, I may send you my monthly questions to be a part of this article. Thanks for being a part of The Blind Perspective family and remember to share this newsletter.

Kingís Oak
Written by Anne Rivers Siddons
Available on audible, but only in abridge and on BARD as DB 32806
Reading time: 21 hours and 12 minutes
Read by Madelyn Buzzard

Diana "Andy" Andropoulis marries Chris Calhoun to get away from her father, but it is a disastrous marriage. So she and her daughter Hilary move to Pemberton, a small Georgia town near Big Silver Swamp and the Stratton-Fournier Atomic Weapons Plant. Andy finds herself drawn to Tom Dabney, a man passionately committed to nature. But can she trust a man who goes to such extremes to protect nature? Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex.

My Comments:
As with every Siddons book, this description only scratches the surface. This is a truly wonderful writer and a stunning book. Read it for yourself.

The Sparrow
Written by Mary Doria Russell
Available on Audible and on BARD as DB 43892
Reading time: 17 hours and 35 minutes
Read by Rick Rohan

It is the year 2059 when Jesuit priest Emilio Sandoz returns as the sole survivor of a forty-year space voyage to Alpha Centauri. Broken in body and spirit, Sandoz describes his horrific captivity by aliens and life in a depraved civilization. Strong language, violence, and descriptions of sex.

My comments:
Donít let this description scare you off, this is a fantastic read. Itís not science fiction for science fiction geeks. It is science fiction for the non sci fi reader. Russell has a message and itís a great one, donít sell these two books short and donít miss out.

Children of God
Written by Mary Doria Russell
Available from Audible and on BARD as DB49683
Reading time: 18 hours and 38 minutes
Read by Rick Rohan

The sole survivor of the original mission to Rakhat, Father Emilio Sandoz is still recovering from the brutality he suffered and is reluctant to return. When he arrives in 2060, he learns his former torturer is now in power.

My comments:
These two books will take you so far and in a good, but hard way. Russell opens up a new line of thought about faith, humanity and what may lie beyond.

If you read any of my book picks and would like to let me know what you think, Iíd love to hear from you. Never shy away from a book, you can always put it down, and you can always pick it back up. Happy reading!

April 2015

Three book reviews and your opinions on the 2015 Audie Awards
Hello again fellow readers, This month I have three book reviews and at the end of the article is a brief write up on the 2015 Audie Awards. A book is new to you if youíve never read it before. It doesnít have to be the latest and greatest for it to be a meaningful read. Dig back in your to be read pile and read something you have been putting off. At the bottom of this article is a brief note about the upcoming Audie Awards and a link to The Audio File Magazine article, and the complete list of all the nominees. Take a look and let me know what you think of the nominees and who you would vote for.

Remember you can email me with any comments or questions. carlajo@theblindperspective.com

Happy reading,
Carla Jo
The Fault in Our Stars
Written by John Green
Read by: Kate Rudd
Reading time: 7 hours and 14 minutes
Audie Award Nominee, Best Teens Category, 2013
Available from Audible and on BARD as DB 74112
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazelís story is about to be completely rewritten.

My comments;
I am so glad I finally read this book. I had heard so many great things about it and all were true. A tough, but worth it read. Iíd recommend this to anyone, any age.

Leaving Time
Written by Jodi Picoult
Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman, Abigail Revasch, Kathe Mazur, Mark Deakins
Reading time: 15 hours and 11 minutes
Available from audible and on BARD as DB 79657
For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. Refusing to believe that she would be abandoned as a young child, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice's old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her motherís whereabouts.

Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest. The first is Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons - only to later doubt her gifts. The second is Virgil Stanhope, a jaded private detective who originally investigated Aliceís case along with the strange, possibly linked death of one of her colleagues. As the three work together to uncover what happened to Alice, they realize that in asking hard questions, they'll have to face even harder answers.

As Jenna's memories dovetail with the events in her mother's journals, the story races to a mesmerizing finish. A deeply moving, gripping, and intelligent pause-resister, Leaving Time is Jodi Picoult at the height of her powers.

My comments:
WHOA!?I was not expecting that ending!?What a fantastic read. The narration is wonderful as they voice the different characters.

Five Days at Memorial; Life and Death in a Storm Ravaged Hospital
Written by Sherri Fink
Read by: Kirsten Potter
Reading time: 17 hours and 33 minutes
Available from Audible and on BARD as DB 77656
Pulitzer Prize winner Sheri Finkís landmark investigation of patient deaths at a New Orleans hospital:
ravaged by Hurricane Katrina - and her suspenseful portrayal of the quest for truth and justice In the tradition of the best writing on medicine, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs five days at Memorial Medical Center and draws the listener into the lives of those who struggled mightily to survive and to maintain life amidst chaos.

After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths.

Five Days at Memorial, the culmination of six years of reporting, unspools the mystery of what happened in those days, bringing the listener into a hospital fighting for its life and into a conversation about the most terrifying form of health care rationing.

In a voice at once involving and fair, masterful and intimate, Fink exposes the hidden dilemmas of end-of-life care and reveals just how ill-prepared we are in America for the impact of large-scale disasters - and how we can do better. A remarkable book, engrossing from start to finish, Five Days at Memorial radically transforms your understanding of human nature in crisis.

My comments:
This is simply one of the best books Iíve read. Iím not a big non-fiction reader, but this one intrigued me. Be prepared, this is a powerful book. I look at my friends and family who work in the health field differently. I would go on and give my opinion on that topic, but everyone needs to read this one and decide for yourself. Itís an involving read. I highly, highly recommend this one.

From Audio File Magazine:
20th Annual Audieģ finalists announced in thirty categories Winners announced at the Audie Awards Gala in New York City on May 28th hosted by award winning author Jack Gantos. Check out all the nominees and let me know who you like for winners!

list of nominees

May 2015

Lost in translation, again.

The Buried Giant
Written by Kazuo Ishiguro
Available from Audible and on BARD as DB 80886
Reading time; 11 hours and 50 minutes
Read by David Horovitch
Literature: Fantasy Fiction

An elderly couple in first-century Britain set off on a journey to find the son they barely remember. They face dangers mundane and supernatural that will test their bond, and they meet a Saxon warrior and a knight from King Arthur's court along the way.

Unrated.
Commercial audiobook.
Bestseller. 2015

My Comments;

I was very excited to read this book, having heard so much about it. Again, I find myself being disappointed. I have since read and listened to interviews with the author and I still donít get it. He never really states what he means with this book. He does say all that he doesnít mean and how others have this book all wrong. The writing is beautiful, but the story wandered a lot like the main couple in the story. If anyone reads this book and can give me some insight, Iíd love to hear from you.

Here are the first two books in the Bella Vista chronicles written by Susan Wiggs. The descriptions below donít even scratch the surface of these books. More than romance, Wiggs weaves in World War Two history, mystery, beautiful scenery, intriguing characters, and some wonderful recipes. Iím looking forward to the next one in this series.

The Apple Orchard
Written by Susan Wiggs
Bard number DB 76538
Read by Christina Traister
Reading time; 12 hours and 7 minutes
Family; Romance

San Francisco-based antiques expert Tess Delaney, raised in Ireland by her mother and grandmother, learns that the paternal grandfather she never knew is in a coma. Tess ventures to Sonoma County, where she meets her family, the Johansens, and falls in love with a vintner.

Some strong language and some descriptions of sex
Commercial audiobook. 2013
The Beekeeperís Ball
Written by Susan Wiggs
Bard number DB 80318
Read by Marsha Rehns
Reading time; 10 hours and 16 minutes
Romance

While transforming Bella Vista, her childhood home, into a destination cooking school, chef Isabel Johansen finds her plans interrupted by former war correspondent Cormac O'Neill, who has arrived to dig up old history.

Descriptions of sex and some strong language. 2014

If you have a favorite series, Iíd love to hear about it. You can carlajo@theblindperspective.com

Happy reading!

June 2015

This month we look at a science fiction blockbuster, a World War II story, and a nail biting child . A quick note; I use both BARD and Audible for my audio books, so the reading times and the narrators can be different. For reading times, Iíll use the BARD reference.

The Martian
Written by Andy Weir
Reading time; 12 hours and 45 minutes
Read by; on BARD, J. P. Linton and on Audible, R. C. Bray
DB 78389

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that heís alive - and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills - and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit - he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

My comments;

This book reads like a real life true story. Weir puts in enough technology to make it believable, but he gives Mark enough humor to keep it entertaining. At one point you will think all is lost and then at another you will just know he will survive. You never know right up until the very end. I loved this one and read it quickly. Once you start it, you wonít want to put it down. This book is nominated for 2 Audie awards, for science fiction and best solo narration-male.

At the Waterís Edge
Written by Sara Gruen
Reading time; 10 hours and 13 minutes
Read by Justine Eyre
DB 81118
This is the latest offering from the author of Water for Elephants and Ape House.

At the Water's Edge is a gripping and poignant love story about a privileged young woman's awakening as she experiences the devastation of World War II in a tiny village in the Scottish Highlands.

After disgracing themselves at a high society New Year's Eve party in Philadelphia in 1944, Madeline Hyde and her husband, Ellis, are cut off financially by his father, a former army colonel who is already ashamed of his sonís inability to serve in the war. When Ellis and his best friend, Hank, decide that the only way to regain the colonel's favor is to succeed where the colonel very publicly failed - by hunting down the famous Loch Ness monster - Maddie reluctantly follows them across the Atlantic, leaving her sheltered world behind.

The trio find themselves in a remote village in the Scottish Highlands, where the locals have nothing but contempt for the privileged interlopers. Maddie is left on her own at the isolated inn, where food is rationed, fuel is scarce, and a knock from the postman can bring tragic news. Yet she finds herself falling in love with the stark beauty and subtle magic of the Scottish countryside. Gradually she comes to know the villagers, and the friendships she forms with two young women open her up to a larger world than she knew existed. Maddie begins to see that nothing is as it first appears: The values she holds dear prove unsustainable, and monsters lurk where they are least expected.

My comments;

There are some truly despicable people in this book and they arenít war criminals or fictitious monsters. The 3 highly spoiled rich kids, 2 of whom have wormed their way out of serving in the army, are unlikable from the get go. The villagers are a hard scrabble lot and they manage to teach some life lessons while learning a few of their own along the way. This story has deep meanings woven all throughout it. A good, thought provoking read.

The Abduction
Written by Mark Gimenez
Reading time; 12 hours and 4 minutes
Read by; on BARD, Fred Major and on Audible, Buck Schirner
DB 66857

Ben Brice lives alone in the New Mexico wilderness, where he battles memories of Vietnam with oceans of Jim Beam. Miles away in Texas, his estranged son, John, an Internet geek turned billionaire, half watches his daughter Gracieís soccer game while conducting business on his cell phone. When her mother, Elizabeth, arrives, the coach reports that her uncle has already collected Gracie. But Gracie has no uncle - she was kidnapped.

From international best-selling author Mark Gimenez comes a terrifying child-in-jeopardy thriller in which dark family secrets make the finding of 10-year-old Gracie Brice more uncertain with every passing minute. And so begins a furious race against time to save Gracie from unknown kidnappers. With the FBI camped out in the Brice mansion, the family offers a reward of $25 million. Somehow, Ben and John Brice must find Gracie before it is too late. As the story unfolds with riveting twists and turns, the listener discovers that behind the kidnapping is an extraordinary government plot that could change the course of American history.

My comments;

WOW! This is the first of Gimenezís books for me, but not the last. Full of layers, creepy people, loveable people and all types in-between. What a great book! I couldnít read this one fast enough. I love when an offhand recommendation turns out to be a winner. Thanks to Buddy and Morry, you know who you are!

Next month I hope to take a look back at the Audie award winners and discuss them. Until then, Happy reading!

July 2015

Sharing the joy of reading with a youngster and a book I have been waiting to share with you. Hello fellow book lovers! This monthís article is a bit different as I want to talk about sharing reading experiences and a few books that have brought back some great memories for me. I am also reviewing a very special book, a book Iíve been waiting to be up on BARD before bringing it to your attention. So letís go!

I have two grandchildren. Audrey is seven, just finished the second grade and Landon is five and has just finished kindergarten. I have bought books for them from the time they could look at a picture book or be read to. I give books as gifts, to everyone. I love sharing my love of great stories with all my friends and family. All of them are sighted and I am the only one who uses audio books as my regular form of reading material.

The first week of June, Scott and I had the pleasure of having Audrey and Landon stay with us. They live about 360 miles away so these times are very special. They have always been taught about my blindness, they ask a ton of questions and they get honest answers. I also include them in activities such as cooking with me. They know about the talking aids I have and love to use them. This year I asked them to bring some of their books with them. Books that I knew were on BARD. For Landon, these were Pete the Cat books written by James Dean and for Audrey it was a couple of Junie B Jones books written by Barbara Park. Each day we would get my Victor Reader Stream, log on to BARD and choose some books to listen to that night. They loved reading the synopsis and picking out a favorite or a never before read title. At bedtime, we would pile up in the bed, turn the lights out, and listen to a few books. I enjoyed it as much as they did if not more. We listened to a bunch of Dr. Seuss books, Frog and Toad stories and some new ones. Iíll list the titles below.

Hereís what we did with the print books; First Landon read to me from one of his Pete the Cat books. It was so fun listening to him sound out the words and hear his pride in his reading progress. He would get in a hurry and not get a word correct. For example, he was reading and the word was waiting, he kept saying wanted. I told him, go back and do that one again, he did, same thing, I said, one more time spell that word out. He looks at me and says, how can you see that? I said, I canít. He said, then how did you know it was wrong? Because, I said, the sentence didnít make sense. You donít have to be able to see the print to know what makes sense or not. He was satisfied. Then we pulled up one of his books on the Victor reader and while the narrator read, he followed along with his print book. Audrey did that with two of her Junie B. books. Iíd never read any Junie B. books before and I loved them. Now they have a better understanding of how I read and being a part of the choosing books on a new piece of technology sparked them to listen each night. I would encourage you to share your love of books with a child, increase their understanding of vision loss, and the tools we use each day. Next we are going to tackle Braille. Iím not a Braille user, but I want them to know about it.

I also have two story poems memorized from when my children were little. Little Orphan Annie and The Sugarplum Tree. I have the book that I read them from when I was a child and it has beautiful illustrations. Emily, my daughter, their Mom, asked me to be sure and do the poems for Audrey and Landon. So we did and we talked about memorizing long poems and how long you can carry that story in your head for the rest of your life. I had other books memorized from the times I could read and would use them for when Emily and her brother were little. Green Eggs and Ham, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish and Clintís favorite, The Happy Man and his Dump Truck. If you have reading experiences, Iíd love to hear them. You can write to me at CarlaJo

Here are just a few titles that we read;
Where the Sidewalk Ends, poems by Shel Silverstein
Preposterous Pets by Laura Cecil
A Family Treasury of Little Golden Books 46 best loved stories compiled by Ellen Lewis Buell
Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day by Judith Viorst
Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman

These are just a few of the books we read, there are so many on the BARD site, you can find something to fit any age and any taste. Read with a child, youíll get so much out of it, pure delight.

And now for a book Iíve been waiting to tell you about! I read this one several months ago and loved it. I got my copy from Audible and kept an eye out for it to show up on BARD before writing about it. Finally, just today, it is there!

When Books Went to War: the stories that helped us win World War II; DB 80928
Written by Molly Guptill Manning
Reading time 8 hours and 52 minutes

When America entered World War II in 1941, we faced an enemy that had banned and burned over 100 million books and caused fearful citizens to hide or destroy many more. Outraged librarians launched a campaign to send free books to American troops and gathered 20 million hardcover donations. In 1943, the War Department and the publishing industry stepped in with an extraordinary program: 120 million small, lightweight paperbacks for troops to carry in their pockets and their rucksacks in every theater of war.

Comprising 1,200 different titles of every imaginable type, these paperbacks were beloved by the troops and are still fondly remembered today. Soldiers read them while waiting to land at Normandy, in hellish trenches in the midst of battles in the Pacific, in field hospitals, and on long bombing flights. They wrote to the authors, many of whom responded to every letter. They helped rescue The Great Gatsby from obscurity. They made Betty Smith, author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, into a national icon. When Books Went to War is an inspiring story for history buffs and book lovers alike.

My comments;

I canít give this book high enough praise. I was moved by these true stories of the soldiers, the writers and the people who campaigned to get books to the men and women who were fighting overseas. This is one more fine example of how much reading can make a difference. In this case, a difference on an entire culture and several generations. Books can change lives and this book tells the stories. I was amazed. Read this book!

Until next month, Happy reading!

August 2015

Greetings fellow book lovers, Here in Texas we are hitting triple digit temps. What better way to spend a hot afternoon but in the air conditioning with a good book. I have two for you this month. One nonfiction and one fiction. So read on!

Trauma Junkie; Memoirs of an emergency flight nurse
DB 54544
Written by Janice Hudson
Reading time; 7 hours and 24 minutes
Read by Margaret Strom

Emergency room nurse describes her career with the California Shock/Trauma Air Rescue service in the San Francisco Bay area. Provides anecdotes of the helicopter crews' varied missions during earthquakes, forest fires, shark attacks, and multiple highway and shooting incidents. Violence and strong language. 2001

My comments;
This is a very high energy book. When she started telling about the earthquake that hit San Francisco during the world series baseball game, I got chills. I have never read any accounts of a flight nurse and it was very interesting.

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth
DB 80408
Written by Chris Scotton
Reading time; 13 hours and 34 minutes
Read by Robert Petkoff

After witnessing the death of his younger brother in a terrible home accident, 14-year-old Kevin and his grieving mother are sent for the summer to live with Kevin's grandfather. In this peeled-paint coal town deep in Appalachia, Kevin quickly falls in with a half-wild hollow kid named Buzzy Fink who schools him in the mysteries and magnificence of the woods. The events of this fateful summer will affect the entire town of Medgar, Kentucky.

Medgar is beset by a massive Mountaintop Removal operation that is blowing up the hills and back filling the hollows. Kevin's grandfather and others in town attempt to rally the citizens against the "company" and its powerful owner to stop the plunder of their mountain heritage. When Buzzy witnesses the brutal murder of the opposition leader, a sequence is set in play which tests Buzzy and Kevin to their absolute limits in an epic struggle for survival in the Kentucky mountains.

Redemptive and emotionally resonant, The Secret Wisdom of the Earth is narrated by an adult Kevin looking back on the summer when he sloughed the coverings of a boy and took his first faltering steps as a man among a rich cast of characters and an ambitious effort to reclaim a once great community.

My comments;
This is Chris Scottonís first book. I will be reading anything else that he writes. A moving, beautiful, and heartbreaking coming of age story. This is one of those books that will stay with you for a long time. A wonderful read.

Happy reading,
Carla Jo

September 2015

Hello again book friends, This month I have 2 reviews for you. The first is actually book number four in a series, but it works well as a standalone read. The second one is the first novel for adults written by beloved childrenís author Judy Blume. Read on and remember, Iíd love to hear from you and you can write me at

The Forgotten Room
Written by Lincoln Child
Read byJohnathan McClain
DB 81794
Also available from Audible
Reading time: 9 hours and 50 minutes

Jeremy Logan is an "enigmalogist" - an investigator who specializes in analyzing phenomena that have no obvious explanation. In this newest novel, Logan finds himself on the storied coastline of Newport, Rhode Island, where he has been retained by Lux, one of the oldest and most respected think tanks in America. Just days earlier, a series of frightening events took place in the sprawling seaside mansion that houses the organization. One of its most distinguished doctors began acting erratically - violently attacking an assistant in the mansion's opulent library and, moments later, killing himself in a truly shocking fashion. Terrified by the incident and the bizarre evidence left behind, the group hires Logan to investigate - discreetly - what drove this erudite man to madness.

His work leads him to an unexpected find. In a long-dormant wing of the estate, Logan uncovers an ingeniously hidden secret room, concealed and apparently untouched for decades. The room is a time capsule, filled with eerie and obscure scientific equipment that points to a top-secret project long thought destroyed, known only as "Project S." Ultimately the truth of what Project S was...and what has happened in that room...will put Logan in the path of a completely unexpected danger.

My comments:
This is book four in Childís Jeremy Logan series. It is just as thrilling as a standalone novel as it is part of the series. I have read several books by Child and have liked every one of them. This one kept me on the edge and guessing just who was the bad guy right up until the very end. The other 3 books in this series are also available from BARD and Audible.

In the Unlikely Event
Written by Judy Blume
Read by Kathleen McInerney
Reading time: 14 hours and 7 minutes
DB 81763
Also available from Audible

When a series of passenger airplanes crashed in Elizabeth, New Jersey, within a three-month period in 1951-1952, Judy Blume was a teenager. "These events have lingered in my mind ever since," says Blume. "It was a crazy time. We were witnessing things that were incomprehensible to us as teenagers. Was it sabotage? An alien invasion? No one knew, and people were understandably terrified." Against this background, Blume uses her imagination to bring us the lives of three generations of families, friends, and strangers, who will be profoundly affected by these events, either directly or indirectly. But life goes on, and Blume digs deep into her characters - we see them coping not only with grief but with first love, estranged parents, difficult friendships, familiar obligations, divorce, career ambitions, a grandparent's love, a widower's hope, and everything in between.... Most important, In the Unlikely Event is filled with the same warmth and authenticity that have won Blume the hearts and minds of listeners of all generations.

My comments:
I find books that take a real life event and fictionalize it just fascinating. Thatís what Judy Blume does in this book. Itís a coming of age story for Miri Ammer, itís a historical snapshot of that time period and itís a story full of interesting people and the way they react to tragedy. I sincerely loved this book and hope she writes more adult novels.

Until next month,
Carla jo

October 2015

Greetings fellow book lovers! First, let me thank all of you who have taken the time to write me and send in book recommendations. I truly enjoy reading your comments and have kept these for future reference. This month I bring you three titles for your perusal.

The Winged Watchman
Written by Hilda Van Stockum
DB 43107
Reading time: 4 hours and 58 minutes
Read by Margaret Strom

This unabridged recording of The Winged Watchman is a story of World War II rich in suspense, plot and spiritual truth. There is a hidden Jewish child, an underdiver, a downed RAF pilot, an imaginative, daring underground hero, and the small things of family life which surprisingly carry on in the midst of oppression. The Verhagen family who live in the old windmill called the Winged Watchman are a memorable set of individuals whose lives powerfully demonstrate the resilience of those who suffer but do not lose faith. Original publication; 1962.

The Winged Watchman is her best-known book. It is a true story of how traditional windmills were used by the Dutch resistance for signaling under the noses of German occupiers. Two Dutch boys play a heroic role, carrying a warning message to the first windmill. The signal is then sent rapidly across the countryside by altering the position of the arms of the windmills. The book is based on letters Hilda received from relatives in the Netherlands, and has been praised for conveying an accurate sense of life under Nazi occupation.

My comments;
My Uncle Larry Bratton gave this book to my older sister, Sheila and I can remember being able to see the cover. By the time I lost my vision, I wasnít really old enough to read and appreciate this story. I have always wanted to read it and was just now able to get my hands on an audio version. Van Stockum writes childrenís books, but The Winged Watchman is a story for all ages and for all time. I never realized just what a part of the resistance the Dutch played in the war. I highly recommend this one for anyone over the age of 7.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest
Written by J. Ryan Stradal
DB 82282
Read by: Amy Ryan
Reading time: 10 hours and 5 minutes

When Lars Thorvald's wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine - and a dashing sommelier - he's left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He's determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter - starting with purťed pork shoulder. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. From Scandinavian lutefisk to hydroponic chocolate habaneros, each ingredient represents one part of Eva's journey as she becomes the star chef behind a legendary and secretive pop-up supper club, culminating in an opulent and emotional feast that's a testament to her spirit and resilience. Kitchens of the Great Midwest, about a young woman with a once-in-a-generation palate who becomes the iconic chef behind the country's most coveted dinner reservation, is the summer's most hotly-anticipated debut novel.

My comments;
I had read several reviews on this one and was looking forward to reading it for myself. I love to cook, try new dishes and new cooking techniques, so, this one was very enjoyable for me. Stradal tells a great story with some colorful characters and I would read another book by him.

We Bought A Zoo
Written by Benjamin Mee
DB 76707
Read by: Jack Fox
Reading time: 7 hours and 52 minutes

When Benjamin Mee decided to uproot his family and move them to an unlikely new homeóa dilapidated zoo in the English countryside where over two hundred exotic animals would be their new neighborsóhis friends and colleagues thought he was crazy. But Meeís dream was to refurbish the zoo and run it as a family business. So in 2006, Mee, his wife and two children, his brother, and his 76-year-old mother moved into the Dartmoor Wildlife Park. Their extended family now included: Solomon, an African lion and scourge of the local golf course; Zak, the rickety alpha wolf, a broadly benevolent dictator clinging to power; Ronnie, a Brazilian tapir, easily capable of killing a man but hopelessly soppy; and Sovereign, a jaguar and would-be ninja, who devised a long-term escape plan and implemented it. The grand reopening was scheduled for spring, but there was much work to be done and none of it easy for these novice zookeepers. Tigers broke loose, money was tight, the staff grew skeptical, and family tensions reached a boiling point.

Then tragedy struck. Katherine Mee, Benjaminís wife, had a recurrence of a brain tumor, forcing Benjamin and his two young children to face the heartbreak of illness and the devastating loss of a wife and mother. Inspired by the memory of Katherine and the healing power of the incredible family of animals they had grown to love, Benjamin and his kids resolved to move forward. Today the zoo is a thriving success.

My comments;
I think this is one of the most beautifully written books. All the more moving because it is a true story. I love this book so much, I gave it as Christmas gifts a couple of years ago. A wonderful read. Please treat yourself to this one.
Until next month,
Happy reading! Carla jo

November 2015

Wow! October is gone! That month just seemed to fly by. Did you read anything outstanding? Anything you would want to share with the readers of this newsletter? If so, please write me and tell me. , you might get a mention in an upcoming newsletter.

I have three books for you this month.

Station Eleven
Written by Emily St. John Mandel
DB 79693
Reading time; 10 hours and 42 minutes
Read by Kirsten Potter
Science Fiction
An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilizationís collapse. Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur's chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead.

That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.

Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten's arm is a line from Star Trek: "Because survival is insufficient." But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.

Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

My comments;
I have been on a real big kick the last few months, new to me authors. Most of them have been great experiences and a few were bombs. This was a truly wonderful find. I was transported away to this strange world these people live in and loved it. Itís a harsh world, but a fascinating one. For lovers of the dystopia novel, this one is for you.

Cutting for Stone
Written by Abraham Verghese
DB 70131
Reading time: 21 hours and 24 minutes
Read by Mark Ashby
Family
Medical fiction
A sweeping, emotionally riveting first novel - an enthralling family saga of Africa and America, doctors and patients, exile and home.

Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother's death in childbirth and their father's disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Yet it will be love, not politics - their passion for the same woman - that will tear them apart and force Marion, fresh out of medical school, to flee his homeland. He makes his way to America, finding refuge in his work as an intern at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him - nearly destroying him - Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him.

An unforgettable journey into one man's remarkable life, and an epic story about the power, intimacy, and curious beauty of the work of healing others.

My comments;
This is one of the most powerful novels Iíve read. It has stuck with me from reading a few years ago. Thatís why itís in this issue. A story that stays with you is one meant to share with others. Beautiful writing.

The Bourbon Kings
Written by J. R. Ward
Reading time: 12 hours and 47 minutes
Read by Alexander Cendese
DB 82339
Romance
Family saga
The number-one New York Times best-selling author of Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege - and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal....

For generations the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege - as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly's head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted - and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane's beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions - professional and intimately private - ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.

My comments;
I am tickled pink that this is going to be a series. Think English estate meets filthy rich good oleí boys. This is a fast paced book, or at least it was for me. I loved it.

On a side note: At this time, which is near the end of October, Iím reading The Dresden Files written by Jim Butcher. Iím getting my scary Halloween fix with these fun books. I am at the end of book 2 which is called Full Moon and book 1 is called Storm front. So far, Iíve encountered wizards, fairies, vampires, werewolves, a spirit named Bob who lives in a human skull and many more. A fun series.

So, until next month, Happy Reading and be thinking about submitting your favorite books to give as gifts. Not just audio, but all formats.
Carla jo

December 2015

Hello fellow book lovers, wow! 2015 is almost over. I thought this month Iíd tell you about a couple of websites for keeping track of your books, mention some readerís thoughts, and give you some gift suggestions.

Good Reads is a site for book lovers who want to keep track of their books. That is the simple description, but the site is more than that. On Good Reads, you can build virtual bookshelves, join reading groups, keep up with friends, read reviews, and post reviews of your own. You determine just how involved you want to be on Good Reads. You can receive email updates from groups you belong to, or from friends you have on the site, or you can just use it as a personal log of your reading habits and preferences. Groups on Good Reads range from folks who just read science fiction or other genres, certain authors, audio books, and groups that are a particular part of the country or world. Just as there are a variety of books and people who love reading and talking about them, there is a group for each variety. There are several authors who are on Good Reads. You can search for a certain author, become a fan, receive updates and blog notices of that author. The folks at Good Reads are adding new material all the time and it is very easy to add or delete the different features from your personal account. You can find so much more on Good Reads than just information on books. Check it out at http://www.goodreads.com

Fict Fact is a great site to help you keep track of your books in a series. Crate an account, select your favorite series by either title or author and off you go. It lets you know what is next in your series, whatís coming out soon and if a certain author has added a new series. Itís easy and itís fun. You can also register for a free monthly give away. Check it out at http://www.fictfact.com

Iíd like to thank Lillian for writing in and she recommends the author Diane Chamberlain and she also likes The Fixer written by Joseph Finder. I love Diane Chamberlain as well Lillian, thanks for writing in!

Books are my favorite gift to give, whether itís Motherís Day, a birthday or Christmas. There are so many wonderful books to choose from, bestsellers, biographies, timeless classics, cookbooks, travel and so much more.

Letís take a peek at the visual side of the book world. What I mean is, books that are directed at our sighted loved ones. We can pick out a beloved novel, crime story or book of poetry, but how are we at picking out a visual book? Here are some wonderful books that fill that bill and a few that are for everyone. Click on the link below to find my suggestions for gifts for the holiday season or anytime of the year. Here is my guide Holiday Book Gift Guide 2015

Remember to check with your local book store for other great book recommendations too. So, fellow readers, Iíll bid you farewell until we meet again in 2016.
Iíd like to thank each of you for being a blind perspective reader and for sharing your love of reading with me. I wish for each of you a safe, happy and joy filled holiday season. I truly love writing for this newsletter, you all are special. Carla jo

THE END