Friday, May 30, 2014

Review: The Hidden Child by Camilla Lackberg

9781622313211-204_2 Title: The Hidden Child
Author: Camilla Läckberg
Narrator: Simon Vance
Publisher/Date: HighBridge Audio, 05/06/14
Format: Audio
About the Book: (from publisher)
Crime writer Erica Falck is shocked to discover a Nazi medal among boxes in her late mother’s attic. Haunted by a childhood of neglect, she resolves to dig into her family’s past to finally uncover the reasons why.
Her inquiries lead her to the home of a retired history teacher who had been among her mother’s circle of friends during the Second World War, but her questions there are met with bizarre and evasive replies. Two days later the man is brutally murdered in a house he shared with his brother, a Nazi war criminal investigator with the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Detective Patrik Hedstrm, Erica’s husband, on paternity leave with their newborn child, soon becomes embroiled in the murder investigation. Who would kill so ruthlessly to bury secrets so old? The answers may lie in Erica’s mother’s wartime diaries, but can they find them before dark secrets from over sixty years ago surface to destroy them all?

Related Media:   Book Trailer

About the Author:
Camilla lackberg Born in 1974, Camilla Läckberg graduated from Gothenburg University of Economics, before moving to Stockholm where she worked for a few years as an economist. However, a course in creative writing triggered a drastic change of career. Her first six novels all became Swedish No. 1 bestsellers. She lives in a suburb of Stockholm.
About the Narrator:
simon vance narrattor
Simon Vance has been narrating audiobooks for more than 30 years and has completed more than 700 titles.
He has won accolades from across the publishing world and beyond for his masterful ability to bring books to life.

My Review:  Camilla Läckberg, a Swedish crime writer, is a new author to me. I received this book from HighBridge Audio in exchange for an honest review.  The Hidden Child is part of a series, but I read it as a stand alone book.   While I was initially overwhelmed by the sheer number of characters introduced in the book, I found the book stood well on it’s own.  The story is set in Fjallabacka Sweden, a small fishing village on the west coast of Sweden. 
Each character is well developed and even though I hadn’t read the previous books in the series, I felt I had a good understanding of the characters.  My favorite character was Erica Falck, the crime writer who is married to Patrik Hedstrom a detective with the Fjallabacka police.  She is a strong, consistent character.  I also found Police Chief, Mellberg very enduring and love how he evolves through the book. 
The Hidden Child has two story lines taking place within the book.  One occurring in present day Fjallabacka and the other World War II (1940 – 1945) Fjallabacka. The transition between the to times periods is very well done and adds to the mystery as the story unfolds.  Themes in The Hidden Child include mystery, history, relationships, the strength of friendship and family bonds and the power of secrets to influence the future generations.
My Rating:  4.0 - I found the Hidden Child by Camilla Läckberg to be very engaging and a quick listen.  I found myself looking for additional moments in the day to pop in my ear buds and hear a few more chapters.  The audio of the Hidden Child was performed by Simon Vance and is very impressive.  Each character has such a distinct voice that I was surprised they were all performed by a single person!  These distinct voices really bring the characters alive and make for a very enjoyable experience for the listener. 
My Rating Scale: 1 – didn’t like it; 2 – it was ok; 3 – liked it; 4 – really liked it; 5 – it was amazing
The Hidden Child was also reviewed at Euro Crime & Reactions to Reading 
Happy Reading!

**Disclosure – Copy of The Hidden Child by Camilla Läckberg  was received from HighBridge Audio in exchange for a fair review.

Review: Goodnight June by Sarah Jio


Title: Goodnight June

Author: Sarah Jio

Narrator: Katherine Kellgren  

Publisher/Date: Blackstone Audio, 05/27/14

Format: Audio, MP3

About the Book: (from publisher)

The New York Times best-selling author of Blackberry Winter imagines the inspiration for Goodnight Moon.

Goodnight Moon is an adored childhood classic, but its real origins are lost to history. In Goodnight June, Sarah Jio offers a suspenseful and heartfelt take on how the "great green room" might have come to be.

June Andersen is professionally successful, but her personal life is marred by unhappiness. Unexpectedly, she is called to settle her great-aunt Ruby's estate and determine the fate of Bluebird Books, the children's bookstore Ruby founded in the 1940s. Amid the store's papers, June stumbles upon letters between her great-aunt and the late Margaret Wise Brown - and steps into the pages of American literature.

About the Author:


Sarah Jio is the international, USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of THE VIOLETS OF MARCH (a Library Journal Best Book of 2011 and a USA Today bestseller), THE BUNGALOW, BLACKBERRY WINTER (an instant New York Times and USA Today bestseller, as well as an international bestseller), THE LAST CAMELLIA (a Kirkus Books Most Anticipated Book of 2012), MORNING GLORY, and GOODNIGHT JUNE (to be published in June 2014)--all from Penguin (Plume). To date, Sarah's novels are published in 24 countries, including Italy, France, Brazil, Turkey (where two of Sarah's books have become nationwide bestsellers), Slovenia, Russia, China, Norway, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Spain, and many others.

A magazine writer and the former founding health and fitness blogger for Glamour magazine, Sarah has written thousands of articles and blog posts for national magazines including Redbook, O, The Oprah Magazine, Cooking Light, Glamour, SELF, Real Simple, Fitness, Marie Claire, Hallmark magazine, Seventeen, BRIDES, Health, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, The Seattle Times, Parents, Woman's Day, American Baby, Parenting, and many others. She has also appeared as a commentator on NPR's Morning Edition.

Sarah recently finished her seventh novel and is at work on her next. She lives in Seattle and is the mother of three young sons.

About the Narrator: 


Katherine Kellgren has recorded over seventy-five audiobooks, including winners of the Audie Award, the American Library Association's Odyssey Honor, the Earphones Award, the Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award, and ForeWord Magazine's Audiobook of the Year. She was named one of AudioFile Magazine's Best Voices of the Year for 2008, and in 2009 received the Audie Award for Best Solo Narration - Female.
Katherine has appeared onstage in London and New York, and her recent work includes the role of Laura in a regional production of The Glass Menagerie. She has recorded numerous plays and dramatizations of novels for the radio, including winners of the Peabody Award.

My Review:  I loved the idea that the letters between two friends influenced the development of Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.  What book lover can’t recite the entire book, Goodnight Moon!  I also found the journey the letters took June on very interesting and the ending, simply perfect and surprising.  The characters in Goodnight June by Sarah Jio were are well developed.  I felt like I could really understand their thoughts.   I felt that the book store itself was a character and I simply fell in love with this bookstore and what it meant to some many.   A real feeling of older, simpler times.  The story line and June’s relationship developed a little faster than seemed realistic, it was all tied up in a neat little bow very quickly.  This did not distract from my enjoyment of Goodnight June by Sarah Jio, but did stand out to me.   I love bookstores and the Seattle area, both of which were very well described.  The story is told between dual time periods.  The transition between time periods was very well written and smooth.

I received this review book as an audio, narrated by Katherine Kellgren.   I found the narration easy to listen to and enjoyable.   I would have preferred a little more distinction between the male and female voices. 

My Rating: 3.5 (liked it) - I would recommend Goodnight June to anyone looking for a light, enjoyable read.

My Rating Scale: 1 – didn’t like it; 2 – it was ok; 3 – liked it; 4 – really liked it; 5 – it was amazing

Happy Reading!

**Disclosure – Audio Copy of Goodnight June by Sarah Jio was received from Blackstone Audio in exchange for a fair review.