This week, I drove down to Florida. It was the perfect time to listen to some audiobooks that I wanted to get to. On the drive, in the hotel and while unpacking, I listened to four audiobooks and enjoyed them all. Here are my thoughts on two of them. These two were provided to me by the publisher on request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.
The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain, Susan Bennett (Narrator)
Expected publication: January 11th 2022 by Macmillan Audio, St. Martin’s Press
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I am always eager to read the next Diane Chamberlain book and The Last House on the Street was another one that I enjoyed. This book is a historical fiction novel, written in two timelines. One storyline is set in 1965 and shares the story of Ellie Hockley and her involvement in SCOPE, a group that recruited college students to educate Black citizens about their right to register and vote, as well as help them register. Ellie was a proper, white girl raised in well-to-do Round Hill, N.C. I have read books about this time before, but was shocked by the happenings in this book. You never know what the people you live with, your family and neighbours are capable of. In 2010, Architect Kayla Carter and her 3 year old daughter, Rainie, are moving into what was supposed to be her dream house. She and her husband designed it, but he died in a freak accident and she isn’t sure if she still wants to live there. Several things happen to scare her off, including a strange woman showing up at her office to warn her off. What happened on that property all those years ago?
The last line of the blurb is a perfect line about this book: Two women. Two stories. Both on a collision course with the truth–no matter what that truth may bring to light
I did not know anything about the Scope Project and learned a lot about it. I did do a bit of googling to learn more. I loved the 1965 timeline the best. Learning about Ellie and what she went through as interesting and at the same time appalling. She was such a strong character, doing what she thought was right, even alienating her family. Win was also a wonderful character, doing what he believed in and helping others. Watching their relationship bloom, was sweet, but a disaster waiting to happen. I have to say, I didn’t enjoy Kayla’s storyline as much until the end when the two timelines come together. I would have liked a smoother transition between the two times, but I still very much enjoyed this book. The setting was creepy. An overgrown yard, a brackish pond/lake and noises gave me chills at time. This was an emotional read and it punched me right in the gut several times. This was a good read with a strong message about the civil rights that are still being fought for today. I definitely recommend this book. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Susan Bennett. She did a great job using expression and tone to give that creepy feeling and add emotion to this story.
Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins, Barrie Kreinik (Narrator)
Published January 4th 2022 by Macmillan Audio, St. Martin’s Press
This is a story that I am not going to say much about. Lux McAllister is waitressing, trying to keep a roof over her head when she meets handsome, charismatic, Nico, the black sheep of a wealthy family. He is planning to sail to Maui and asks Lux to go with him. He sets said and she follows shortly after using all her savings. She ends up cleaning motel rooms earning money to repair “The Susannah” who needs a new engine and a hull repair so they can said her around the world. Nico is approached by two college friends who ask him to sail them to a deserted island (atoll) Meroe Island for two weeks in paradise. The island has a history of shipwrecks, cannibalism, ghosts, murder and more, but it is a beautiful setting for a secluded adventure. When they arrive and drop anchor, they find another couple there before them, but they quickly become friends and spend all their time together, until they begin to pair off. What happens to this group on Meroe Island? The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.
This is one crazy story. I will say you need to give it time, it is not a quick moving story. There were a few times I almost gave up on it. There was some humor at the beginning with Lux sharing stories about her work, but I just didn’t think the story was going anywhere. Lux is the narrator of the story, but there is also several flashbacks from the various characters setting up what was going to come. Secrets abound and I wasn’t sure who to trust and what their agenda was. There are a lot of twists and turns in this one, so it did really keep me guessing. When the end comes, it had my jaw dropping. I still don’t know what I thought about this one. I read about 6 spoiled twenty somethings who just wanted to party and relax for most of this book, 5 of them that I really didn’t like a lot. Not much happened along the way, until it did for the last quarter or so of the book. I would be remiss not to mention the setting. Meroe Island was a character in itself. The descriptions of the various sections, the plants, the brackish water, and poisonous fish allowed me to feel the hints of danger to come. I was listening to this one while driving, so I let it roll and that is what I suggest you do, to get to the crazy but entertaining ending. The narrator, Barrie Kreinik, does an excellent job with the narration. She uses her tone and inflection to add emotion and mood to the telling of this story. I think the narration added to my enjoyment of the story.