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Five fab festive audiobooks (so you can ‘read’ whilst wrapping!)

15 Dec

2016 was the year that I got into audiobooks and now that I’ve discovered crochet my audiobooks are keeping me ‘reading’ while I work on my projects.

Audiobooks are great for keeping you company in the car or making repetitive tasks more interesting – I’m loving listening to Christmas stories while I wrap presents this year so here are my suggestions for a festive audio treat. I use Audible but other audiobooks are available.

christmas feastA Christmas Feast and other stories by Katie Fforde

Katie’s Christmas short stories are always favourites of mine so I was excited to see that they’d been brought together in a lovely festive collection and even happier that I can now listen to them!

A delicious Christmas feast of short stories from the Sunday Times number one best-selling author of A French Affair and The Perfect Match.

Add some extra sparkle to your Christmas by joining Katie Fforde for a perfect romantic Christmas feast of short stories. Collected together for the first time and including one brand-new story. Make your Christmas wishes come true….

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore Narrated by: Jeff Bridgesnight before

This is only short but its lovely and Jeff Bridges has the perfect voice for it! My sons both love this story/poem and we’ve been listening to it at bedtime in the run up to Christmas.

Academy Award Winner Jeff Bridges’ iconic voice brings the beloved holiday classic story “The Night Before Christmas” to life.

Celebrate the holiday season with the only audiobook of “The Night Before Christmas”, read by Jeff Bridges. No other narrator brings Santa and these merry scenes to life quite like Mr. Bridges – it’s an instant Christmas classic! Create a new family tradition as you add this audiobook to your holiday activities leading up to December 25th.

xmas factor audioThe Xmas Factor by Annie Sanders

This is my all time favourite Christmas book so it’s lovely to have an audio version too. You can read my review here:

Meet two women with two totally different approaches to the festive season. Beth: it’s only September and already she has performance anxiety. Not surprising when she has agreed to lay on the annual Christmas Eve village bash – the piece de resistance of her husband’s former wife – not to mention having to host Christmas for his difficult offspring. New to this frenzied build-up to the festivities, Beth begins to lose sight of what it all means. To her the Christmas lights are looking more like the headlamps of an oncoming train. Carol: glamorous magazine editor, who put her aspirational Christmas issue to bed sometime in July and is so involved in finding a scoop to save her ailing magazine that she fails to notice the impending festive rush. Panicked and wracked with guilt, she is determined to make it a picture perfect time for her little boy and, opting for convenience, books a lovely-sounding cottage in a quaint village. Even the best laid plans have a habit of unravelling – and no plan at all is a recipe for disaster. So when these two Christmases collide, it looks like it’s going to be anything but goodwill towards men…

christmas carolA Christmas Carol: An Audible Original Drama by Charles Dickens

This Christmas Classic narrated by a sparking star cast has just been released by Audible and if you’re a member it’s free to download at the moment!

Jenna Coleman, Miriam Margolyes, Derek Jacobi, Brendan Coyle and Roger Allam are amongst the celebrity voices coming together this Christmas in a brand new multi-cast dramatization of Charles Dickens’ ghostly Christmas tale, A Christmas Carol.

letters from fatherLetters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien Narrated by: Derek Jacobi

Another lovely listen for all ages with beautiful narration and music.

Can you imagine writing to Father Christmas and actually getting a reply?

 Every year, the children of J.R.R. Tolkien would write to Father Christmas, and the letters they received told wonderful stories of his adventures at the North Pole.

These humorous tales are brought to life by Derek Jacobi as Father Christmas, John Moffatt as Polar Bear, and Christian Rodska as Ilbereth the Elf, complete with specially composed music.

Do let me know what your favourite Christmas stories to listen to are – I’d love to add to my collection!

Happy listening!


Audio book news: Audible launches new sharing tool ‘Clips’

24 Jul

audibleI do love my audio books and now Audible has launched an exciting new service that lets listeners share their favourite audio quotes with others.

The digital feature in the Audible app, enables listeners to easily select, save and share bite sized audio snippets from their favourite passages with family and friends.

To celebrate the launch of this new social sharing tool, Audible have released audio clips of some of the most inspirational quotes from literature. The clips, narrated by some of the world’s best storytellers and most famous voices, were taken from its library of over 200,000 titles and Audible hopes to encourage listeners to share the passages they find most inspirational.

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice Through The Looking Glass, narrated by Miriam Margolyes

“If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important rule of beauty,

which is: who cares?”

Tina Fey, Bossypants

Not all those who wander are lost”

J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings, narrated by Robert Inglis.

Don Katz, founder and CEO of Audible said:

“Audible customers are book lovers whose print books are likely to be full of their own annotations and underlines. Listeners also love talking about books, authors, and narrators they are passionate about, and clips makes it easier for our customers to start meaningful conversations with their friends and family directly from their audiobook whenever inspiration strikes! We are also excited to launch this new, easy-to-use tool that authors and narrators can use to raise awareness of their audiobooks.”

Clips will allow audio to be shared across multiple destinations including Facebook, Twitter, SMS, e-mail, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp. It will be available in iOS, Windows, and Android in the UK.

I’ve already had a lot of fun with this and will leave you with a very well known clip from one of my favourite novels: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, narrated by Rosamund Pike

Audio book review: High Tide by Veronica Henry

23 Jun

high tide audioReturning to Penfleet after years in New York, Kate can’t help but feel a pang of affection for the little town by the sea where she grew up. If only she were returning in happier circumstances. This last trip is full of farewells: to her childhood home, her once best friend and the life she left behind.

Kissing the widow of the richest man in town wasn’t one of Nathan’s best ideas. Now he can’t get Vanessa out his mind. Skippering his grandfather’s boat on picnic cruises up and down the river, Nathan wonders if it’s time to move on. Small towns can be dangerous places if you’re in the middle of a scandal.

Her husband’s death has left Vanessa unsure what her role should be. After years of playing the part of a trophy wife, she can finally think about what she wants for a change.

Sam moved to Penfleet to raise his boys following the death of his wife. His deli has become the place where locals pour out their troubles and swap gossip, but amidst all the banter and laughter, has anyone stopped to notice what’s troubling Sam recently?

In the narrow, cobbled streets that lead down to the harbour, the inhabitants of Penfleet live out their hopes and dreams.

I’m a big fan of Veronica Henry’s books but had never listened to one in audio format so when the audio of High Tide popped up on Audible’s deal of the day a few weeks ago, I downloaded it. I do enjoy sitting back and listening to a story as an audiobook and this story in particular lends itself to curling up somewhere cosy for a rainy afternoon.

The story is set in the fictional seaside town of Penfleet in Cornwall. Unusually for a seaside setting, the story starts at my favourite time of year – autumn. I really enjoyed Veronica’s descriptions of the town and coast after the summer rush and reading this book felt like taking a look behind the scenes into the real life of the town (not the one that the tourists see!) Leading lady Kate has a foot in both camps; she’s an super-efficient events planner now living in New York but she was born and grew up in Penfleet and has fond memories and close connections to the town but having been away for a number of years can also see it as outsiders do.

Kate returns to Penfleet following the death of her Mum, who was by all accounts a very much loved member of the community. The initial contrast between the life Kate is used to and the sleepiness of Penfleet is stark but Kate really needs an escape from the rat race and time to heal and Penfleet gives her that. As someone who grew up by the sea and now lives on the outskirts of the capital, I could very much see the appeal of Penfleet – listening to High Tide had me wishing I could pack my bags and move back to the coast!

Moving on after bereavement is a big theme in the novel but despite being very poignant, High Tide isn’t a sad novel – in fact it’s all about new beginnings. Sam moved to Penfleet with his teenage son and daughter for a new start following the death of this wife. Veronica writes beautifully of Sam’s relationship with his wide and also of his relationship with his children. Dad’s often get short shrift in novels but in Sam, Veronica has created such a lovely caring Dad- I was really hoping he’d find a happy ending.

Finally we meet Vanessa whose wealthy business man husband has also recently passed away. Vanessa is now unsure what to do with her life and I enjoyed the turns her story took. As with Veronica’s novels like The Beach Hut, I enjoyed the snapshots into the different characters and families lives and as I listened I found myself trying to guess who would end up with who and how the stories would come together. With past loves, new romances, firendships and business ventures, Veronica skilfully weaves a seaside soap opera that had me hooked. I didn’t want to leave Penfleet and I very much hope Veronica allows us to visit again soon!


High Tide is out now in paperback, ebook and audio formats. Veronica’s new novel, How To Find Love in a Book Shop has just been released in Hardback and ebook formats.

Find out more about Veronica and her writing at:

Audio Book News: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Narrated by Scarlett Johansson

25 Feb


image001 (5) has just released a fab new version of the classic Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. The new release is performed by Golden Globe nominee and Tony Award-Winning actress Scarlett Johansson who you may know for her roles in films such as Lost in Translation, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Scarlett was joined in the recording studio by her sister, actress and accomplished audiobook narrator Vanessa Johansson, who served as director of this production. Vanessa has narrated dozens of audiobooks in her own right, and brought her own experience and unique perspective on the art form to the recording process.

“It was a great pleasure to work alongside my sister, Vanessa, to read aloud the great works of Lewis Carroll,” said Scarlett.  “Having grown up loving the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and reading many books aloud with Vanessa, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to share my love for Alice with an audience. I hope that this recording is enjoyed by not only those who are existing fans of the material, but also by new and curious readers, who may just be discovering Carroll’s work for the first time.”


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is such a deliciously whimsical and curious story,” added Vanessa, whose audiobook credits span a variety of categories including children’s books, history, fantasy, biography, fiction, self-development and more. “We had such a blast dialoguing during the recording process, thinking about the characters, and creating an audio world for this book. I hope the joy that we experienced together comes across to listener.”

Find out more and download your copy at: