Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Corset Diaries and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

I strive to provide variety in the books I share with you. Well, today I definitely do that as I have two audio books that I’d like to recommend. 

The first is a hilarious adventure set in present day English with a look back to the Victorian era. The second is a more somber story that could have been ripped from today’s headlines and should stay with you long after you finish the novel.

THE CORSET DIARIES by Katie MacAlister

corset diariesI don’t think I have ever laughed as much while listening to an audio book before as I did while listening to author Katie MacAlister’s contemporary romantic comedy, THE CORSET DIARIES.

Narrator Ann Marie Lee does a superb job bringing these zany characters to life. Her vocalizations will have you in stitches, as well as believing there’s more than on narrator. Her cadence draws you in and holds you spellbound as your sides ache from laughter. Lee’s British accent adds to the setting and enhances the author’s words.

American Tessa Riordan can’t say no to the opportunity to pay off all her late husband’s medical bills and have some money left over. All she has to do is play a duchess on a British reality television show, A Month in the Life of a Victorian Duke, where real people pretend to live on an English estate, circa 1879. She even gets to wear historical accurate costumes, but she didn’t realize that included wearing a corset for a month. She is, after all, ‘skinny-challenged.’

After meeting Maximillian Edgerton, the handsome English businessman, who will be playing her husband, the duke, Tessa is eager to play her role despite the corset. Then she encounters his bratty daughter, snobbish sister and a manor full of unhappy servants. The month is filled with parties and problems.

From the opening paragraph to the last line, this is a hilarious, laugh-out-loud, side-splitting adventure. If only reality television was this much fun. MacAlister has created witty characters with realistic flaws and emotions. Her eye for authentic historical detail enhances the story and the setting.

Making her protagonist ‘skinny-challenged,’ MacAlister added depth and determination to the character as she overcomes obstacles. MacAlister also creates steamy and explicit sexual encounters between Tessa and Max that will have you swooning and eager for more. The bantering among the characters is priceless and moves the story at a steady pace. In addition, MacAlister has woven in ‘true life’ accidents that elevates the realism of the story.

A trip to Victorian England with Tessa as a duchess is the best medicine for whatever ails you. 

Author Katie MacAlister’s website is 
The Corset Diaries by Katie MacAlister, Performed by Ann Marie Lee, Tantor Media, Inc., @2013, ISBN: 978-1452615899, Unabridged, 11 Discs, Listening Time: 13 Hours and 14 Minutes 

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Forgive Me CoverI began listening to author Michael Quick’s dark novel, FORGIVE ME LEONARD PEACOCK, with a bit of trepidation. 

It is, after all, a story about a teenager en route to school where he plans a murder/suicide. However, after listening to this riveting story, I would highly recommend it, especially to parents and anyone dealing with teenagers.

Narrator Noah Galvin does an excellent job bringing these complex characters to life, particularly the troubled teen, Leonard Peacock. Galvin’s cadence holds your attention as the story deals with tough issues for teens. His vocalizations emphasis the emotions and struggles presented throughout the story.

Leonard Peacock is going to school with four presents and his grandfather’s loaded souvenir Nazi-issue P-38 pistol in his backpack. It’s his 18th birthday and he plans to kill his former best friend, Asher Beal, and then himself. But first, he has to deliver the presents to a few people who matter in his life. These people are: Walt, his elderly Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next door neighbor; Baback, a musically gifted classmate; Lauren, a Christian home schooled girl he has a crush on that passes out religious tracts at the train station; and Herr Silverman, the teacher of his Holocaust studies class.

With the deliver of each gift, readers/listeners learn more about Leonard’s background, his emotional state, and why he feels he must do what he has planned. You also discover he wants to belong and be cared for and about. Leonard is suffering from a dark secret he’s been hiding that is destroying him. He has tried to seek help with little or no response. As Leonard draws nearer to his goal, you find the ruthless killer is a scared, lonely boy in need of help and love, who has an amazing outlook on life.

Feeling abandoned by his worthless parents, let down by the adults around him and out of place among his classmates, Leonard sees only sadness and pain ahead for himself. Can he find someone to show him there is hope and possibilities past the pain he feels now?

This story moves at a steady pace and can be a bit confusing at first when seemingly unrelated letters from the future are woven in. However, as the story unfolds the letters play an important part of the story. Quick does an excellent job stressing there are possibilities beyond present pain if one just holds on and looks to the future.

The characters are well-developed, memorable and alarmingly realistic. Quick pulls you in to feel the emotions of these characters as the story builds to a dramatic conclusion. The activities at Leonard’s high school and with the students could be any school in the nation making this a must read novel.

FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK is a fascinating story that will tug at your heart strings with elements that could have been pulled from today’s headlines.

Author Michael Quick’s website is
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Michael Quick, Performed by Noah Galvin, Hachette Audio, @2013, ISBN: 978-14789777, Unabridged, Digital Download, Listening Time: 6.5 Hours 

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
Thanks so much for joining me today. I do appreciate it. I hope I’ve given you a glimpse at a couple of audios that will entertain you. Please remember, these stories also come in print format if you prefer reading to listening.


  1. Mason - What a fascinating premise for a story in Forgive Me.... Really interesting! And the other does sound really funny. I'm glad you enjoyed them.

  2. I loved FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK! I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to watch Noah record in the studio. He did a fantastic job! I think it's an outstanding audiobook that many teens and families should listen to.


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