Tag: 5 stars

Audiobook Review: The Teacher by Freida McFadden

The Teacher
Author: Freida McFadden

Leslie Howard

Danny Montooth
Published: February 6, 2024
Audiobook: 9 hours 35 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read:  February 19-23, 2024
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Lesson #1: Trust no one.

Eve has a good life. She wakes up each day, kisses her husband Nate, and heads off to teach math at the local high school. All is as it should be. Except…

Last year, Caseham High was rocked by a scandal involving a student-teacher affair, with one student, Addie, at its center. But Eve knows there is far more to these ugly rumors than meets the eye.

Addie can’t be trusted. She lies. She hurts people. She destroys lives. At least, that’s what everyone says.

But nobody knows the real Addie. Nobody knows the secrets that could destroy her. And Addie will do anything to keep it quiet…

Jessica’s Review:

There are a couple of trigger warnings with The Teacher that should be addressed: Inappropriate teacher/student relationship, grooming/pedophilia, and bullying. People seem to not realize this from the book description, but it is there!  Go in knowing this, and you won’t be surprised if you can be triggered by these circumstances.

I had no idea going into listening The Teacher how mind blown I was going to be by the end! I also gave it 5 stars! I’ve read several of McFadden’s books and enjoyed them, but I wasn’t prepared for the sheer direction the twists were going to go this time! In fact, I need to listen to the book again knowing how it ends! My mouth just dropped in shock with her final two twists! McFadden knows what she is doing! It helps that her chapters are shorter, which makes it harder to stop reading the further you get into the novel!

These characters were just unlikeable and I felt so much emotion for them. McFadden captured Addie beautifully: It helps she has a teenage daughter (and at one time was one herself), so she was able to capture the angst and emotions of a teenage girl.  At the end of the book there is a note from McFadden with the help she got from her daughter.   Leslie Howard was one of the narrators and she also captured that teen angst! Danny Montooth was the other narrator, and while his was a much smaller narration, he did a great job with capturing Nate!

This is the sixth book I’ve read from McFadden (also her Christmas short story) and I think I can say I’m a ‘Freida Readah’ now! She is another author I think I will read or listen to no matter what, and she has two more books coming out this year: Bring them on!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

ALC Review: The Guest by B.A. Paris

The Guest
B.A. Paris

Narrator: Emily Joyce
To Be Published: February 20, 2024
Audiobook: 8 hours 14 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: January 4-9, 2024
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars

Audiobook Description:

Some secrets never leave.

Iris and Gabriel seem to have it all: a beautiful home in the British countryside, a daughter happily working in Greece, and good friends Laure and Pierre from Paris, who they often vacation with. But when a young man has a tragic accident in a nearby quarry, Gabriel is the one to find him and hear his final words, leaving Gabriel with a guilty burden.

As Iris tries to help ease her husband’s trauma, they acquire an unexpected house guest. Laure has seemingly moved in after her husband’s revelation that he has had a child with another woman. Iris and Gabriel insist Laure stay as long as she needs. But Laure keeps wearing Iris’s clothes, following her every move, and asking her about the recent death of the young man.

Their only respite from the increasingly tense atmosphere in their own home comes from a couple new to town and expecting their first child. But with them comes their gardener, who has a checkered past.

With fractured relationships and secrets piling up around them, can Iris and Gabriel’s marriage survive?

Jessica’s Review:

I have enjoyed B.A. Paris’ novels and hers will be ones I will pick up, but her last few have been less than enjoyable for me.  I have also listened to those in audiobook format, so at this point I think her books I need to actually read versus listen to get everything I need to from the book and full enjoyment. This is no fault of the narrator, It just seems that Paris’ books I need to read. 

The Guest is her newest novel coming out on February 20th, 2024. It is an extremely slow burn that shows how secrets and lies can affect everything and everyone.  I did have trouble keeping the characters straight, even though it is not a huge cast of characters.  I was totally engrossed in the story with the death and final words of one character given to another who decides to keep them secret from the mother. The rest I was not interested in.  Once the body count started around 55% in is when the story got moving for me. There was so much buildup, but it was needed!  

The chapters are short, but then when the novel is over we have the epilogue and that was almost an hour long!  And there is where the ending of the novel comes together in an unexpected way, so I gave an extra half star to my rating for it. 

I will have to try and read a physical copy of The Guest at some point because I know I missed so much with the audiobook in this case.  I might even enjoy it better that second time around. Any future B.A. Paris books will be read!

Many thanks to the publisher Macmillan Audio for granting me an alc!

Pre-order Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


ALC Review: Do Not Open by Kiersten Modglin

Do Not Open
Author: Kiersten Modglin

Narrator: Mara Wilson
To Be Released on Audio: December 26, 2023
Audiobook: 5 hours 4 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To:  December 11-13, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

On the day author Mari Montgomery receives the email, she has little left to live for.

The message—simple yet utterly life-changing—offers a glimmer of hope to her dismal existence. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, and if she takes it, it could change everything.

Mari’s immediate sense of unease is eclipsed only by her curiosity—elicited from the supposed fan on the other end of the email. Unsatisfied despite doing her due diligence, and with no way to discern the legitimacy of the sender, Mari takes a leap of faith and replies.

What harm could come from one innocent message?

Soon, as she comes face to face with her ‘number one fan,’ it’s all too clear things are not what they first appeared. Now trapped by a villain far more sinister than she could’ve crafted herself, the fate awaiting her is inspired by the darkest depths of the monsters in her own novels.

In order to escape and survive, Mari must use the strength of the heroines she’s spent years writing about. But this villain has spent years inside her worlds, too.

How will she defeat an evil who has learned from the best?

For fans of Misery, YOU, and Behind Closed Doors, million-copy bestselling author Kiersten Modglin brings us a haunting tale of obsession and survival in the form of a writer’s worst nightmare come to life.

Jessica’s Review:

I can round up my thoughts of Do Not Open saying this: It’s like Misery but on crack! It has a gender reversal and is set up for our time now with social media complications. I have only ever seen the movie once many years ago and had to watch it again after finishing Do Not Open.  Modglin may take the basics of King’s Misery, but definitely makes the story her own!

I guess this is every writer’s nightmare: Meeting your ‘number one fan’ according to said fan and end up fighting for your life. This novel may be troubling for some as the ‘#1 fan’ is a man and our author MC is a woman, and yes, we do have violence done against her. 

This story takes off from the very beginning and just keeps going!  There are issues dealing with grief, alcoholism, obsession, and survival.  Mari made some decisions I just didn’t agree with. I didn’t know where Modglin was going to end this story, and it did go in an unexpected direction for me!  When the big twist happened, I was confused and had to listen to the previous track again.  But OMG!  This unexpected direction deals with some serious emotions. This is the second audiobook I have listened to that was written by Modglin, but she is definitely on my radar now!

The audiobook is narrated my Mara Wilson.  Yes, that Mara Wilson! The little girl who starred as Matilda is all grown up now. She did a good job with her narration.

Do Not Open has been out since October 30th in paperback and will be out in audio on December 26th. I was fortunate to receive an alc from the publisher Dreamscape Media. It is a shorter audio book, just over 5 hours, but intense the entire time! 

Many thanks Dreamscape Media for the advanced listening copy! It was a pleasure to listen to this one! Just keep bringing on the thrills!

Purchase Links (As it is already out in physical/Kindle format. The audio will be out December 26, 2023):
Amazon US
Amazon UK