Audiobook mini-reviews: Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani; Smokin’ Seventeen by Janet Evanovich; Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares; and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Title: Brava, Valentine
Author: Adriana Trigiani
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher: Harper
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Cassandra Campbell
First line: The most magical thing happened on the morning of my grandmother’s wedding in Tuscany.

Brava, Valentine picks up shortly after the end of Very Valentine. Valentine is in Italy for her grandmother’s wedding, hoping to rekindle her romance with Gianluca, and wondering how she is going to run the Angelini shoe company without her grandmother. Gran has a surprise in store, however, when she gives the company to Valentine and her brother, Alfred – to run together. She will have to learn to work with her brother to save the company, as well as decide what she wants for her romantic future. I loved this book as much as the first. The crazy Roncalli family is the main element that makes these novels so much fun – a family that is equal parts insanity, love, and loyalty.

Audio notes: Cassandra Campbell is rapidly becoming one of my favorite female narrators. Her reading was pitch-perfect.

Title: Smokin’ Seventeen
Author: Janet Evanovich
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Bantam
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Lorelei King

I have to admit, these books are starting to drag. I still love the characters, but there is really only so much you can do with a series like this. I think Evanovich would be wise to end the series with the next book – and finally let Stephanie choose between Ranger and Morelli.

Audio notes: If my only choice were to read these books in print, I would have given up on this series. But I can listen to them on audio, read by the brilliant Lorelei King, and so will stick with it.

Title:
Author: Ann Brashares
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher: Random House
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Angela Goethals
First line: Once, when she was thirteen, Carmen remembered turning to Tibby with her CosmoGirl magazine in one hand and her eye pencil in the other and declaring that she could never, ever get sick of doing makeovers.

Brashares has given all of us lovers of the Sisterhood a fitting ending to the series. Without giving anything away, I was pretty mad at the author for a good bit of this book, but came around and ended up loving it.

Audio notes: Angela Goethals was the perfect choice to give the members of the Sisterhood their voices.

Title: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
Author: Helen Simonson
Genre: Contemporary fiction, British fiction
Publisher: Random House
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library; print copy that was a gift from Vasilly
Audiobook reader: Peter Altschuler
First line: Major Pettigrew was still upset about the phone call from his brother’s wife and so he answered the doorbell without thinking.

This has all the elements of a terrific comedy of manors – very Austen-esque – only set in modern day Britain. I loved Major Pettigrew’s character and his thoughts and observations on the people around him often made me smile or chuckle. The author has dealt with modern-day prejudice with honesty and humor and given the reader a wonderful later-in-life romance. Highly recommended.

Audio notes: Peter Altschuler became Major Pettigrew’s voice in my head. He also did a wonderful job of voicing the other characters, with all their varying accents. I will be watching for more books narrated by him.

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14 Responses to Audiobook mini-reviews: Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani; Smokin’ Seventeen by Janet Evanovich; Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares; and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

  1. Pam says:

    Oh I love this and I want to listen to Major Pettigrew!

  2. bermudaonion (Kathy)
    Twitter: bermudaonion
    says:

    I love anything and everything Trigiani writes, but haven’t experienced her work as an audiobook yet.

    I’ve skipped the last couple Stephanie Plum books but plan to give the new one a try. I hope I like it more than you did.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Kathy – I am now determined to read everything Trigiani has written. I also hope she continues Valentine’s story!

  3. Beth Hoffman says:

    I haven’t read a Stephanie Plum book in years and years and I think I’ll try one via audio, you have me curious about Lorelei King’s narration.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Beth- Lorelei King is one of the best narrators – she makes the books so much fun.

  4. Kailana says:

    I have these big plans to listen to more audio books and then never manage to do so. Must do better!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Kelly – No worries – some people don’t enjoy them as much as I do. I’m kind of addicted. :)

  5. Dorte H
    Twitter: DorteHJ
    says:

    I really like the cover of Mr Pettigrew, and your review has made me even more curious.

  6. Kathleen says:

    I will probably read all of these except for the Evanovich. I’ve tried reading a few of hers and just found them to be too predictable.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Kathleen – yes, they are – the characters sustained me for a while, now it’s simply the divine performance by the audiobook reader that keeps me coming back.

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