Tag: 3 stars

Memoir Review: That Bird Has My Wings by Jarvis Jay Masters

That Bird Has My Wings: The Autobiography of an Innocent Man on Death Row
Author: Jarvis Jay Masters

Narrator: Korey Jackson
Published: September 22, 2009
9 hours 48 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: March 18-23, 2024
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Audiobook Description:

That Bird Has My Wings is the astounding memoir of death row inmate Jarvis Masters and a testament to the tenacity of the human spirit and the talent of a fine writer. Offering scenes from his life that are at times poignant, revelatory, frightening, soul-stirring, painful, funny, and uplifting, That Bird Has My Wings tells the story of the author’s childhood with parents addicted to heroin, an abusive foster family, a life of crime and imprisonment, and the eventual embracing of Buddhism.

Jessica’s Review:

This was our book club read for March and I think I went in expecting another The Sun Does Shine, which it wasn’t. This was just a depressing book for me. It wasn’t uplifting at all. So many examples of Masters life which was always negative and only a few chapters focused on when he went to prison. He is still on death row for the murder of a prison guard. Is he an innocent man? No, he actually did commit assault and theft. But he is also a casualty of his family upbringing and a broken foster care system.I can’t say much more than this, because this is someone’s actual life, but it was just too much for me. Masters can write well for someone with limited schooling and can tell his story in his own way. His memoir just was not for me.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Audiobook Review: First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston

First Lie Wins
Author: Ashley Elston

Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld        
Published: January 2, 2024
Audiobook: 9 hours 16 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: March 5-11, 2024
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars      

Book Description:

Evie Porter has everything a nice, Southern girl could want: a perfect, doting boyfriend, a house with a white picket fence and a garden, a fancy group of friends. The only catch: Evie Porter doesn’t exist.

The identity comes first: Evie Porter. Once she’s given a name and location by her mysterious boss Mr. Smith, she learns everything there is to know about the town and the people in it. Then the mark: Ryan Sumner. The last piece of the puzzle is the job.

Evie isn’t privy to Mr. Smith’s real identity, but she knows this job will be different. Ryan has gotten under her skin, and she’s starting to envision a different sort of life for herself. But Evie can’t make any mistakes—especially after what happened last time.

Because the one thing she’s worked her entire life to keep clean, the one identity she could always go back to—her real identity—just walked right into this town. Evie Porter must stay one step ahead of her past while making sure there’s still a future in front of her. The stakes couldn’t be higher—but then, Evie has always liked a challenge… 

Jessica’s Review:

First Lie Wins came out at the beginning of the year to a lot of positive feedback, but this is just one that did not work for me.

We have a female con artist who has seemingly met her match with someone pretending to be her actual self! And we have the creepy “Mr. Smith” that lurks.  The ending had a big twist for me that I actually liked.

The narrator did a good job for me portraying our con woman. We have chapters that take place in the past with her former jobs, which I just wasn’t interested in. But these chapters ended up being necessary to the story.

This one just wasn’t for me, but maybe you will like it! It’s a debut novel, so I would be willing to give the author another try in the future. 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Audiobook Short Story Review: The Gift by Freida McFadden

The Gift
Author: Freida McFadden

Narrator: Alyson Krawchuk
Published: December 4, 2022
Audiobook: 1 hour 4 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Listened To: December 20, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Short Story Description:

It’s Christmas Eve and Stella Hansen is broke.

She is so broke that despite working two jobs, she can’t even afford a present for her husband on their first Christmas as man and wife. But then a mysterious storekeeper at a pawn shop offers Stella an intriguing trade.

Stella wants more than anything to buy her husband the Christmas gift of his dreams. But will it come at a terrible price?

The Gift is a gripping Christmas-themed thriller inspired by the classic O. Henry tale, The Gift of the Magi.

Jessica’s Review:

I wanted to share my review for this one before we got too far away from Christmas, so I am sharing it now!

Please note that this is not a full-length novel, but a short story. The book is about 50 pages and the audiobook (which I listened to) is just over an hour.  I knew this going in as it says right there on Amazon the pages/ how long this story is.  It is not the author’s fault if the reader does not notice that, and yes, I knew going in that it was short. I was ready for that as my commute is right at an hour and I knew I could get completely listened to then carry on for my work day!

The reader should also be aware that is inspired by that classic that we have all read in school: The Gift of the Magi, so we know the general direction this short story will go. But in McFadden fashion she has her own twist to it!

For me this short story was just average. The buildup was good, but the big twists didn’t shock me as I was hoping they would.  It was more of a ‘what goes around comes around’ in a way certain characters did not see coming.

The narrator was Alyson Krawchuk and I have listened to her before. Her narration was good, especially with the old lady portrayal!  

I’d love to see McFadden try her hand at more short stories, but with the ‘negative reviews’ as to the length of it (which again is mentioned if readers would actually… read ‘about the book’) I don’t think she will write more short stories.

If you enjoy McFadden books give it a try, but please realize that this is a short story!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK