Reviewing Indie Authors One Book at a Time

Posts tagged ‘AudioBook’

Blue Hydrangeas – Marianne Sciucco

Blue Hydrangeas is a book reflecting the struggle of a family with Alzheimer’s. When you learn that you are going to lose everything you know due to this illness, you are terrified and sad. But is it harder on the victim of the disease or the loved one’s who now have to make decisions they hoped they’d never have to make?

Sara is informed that she is developing Alzheimer’s. From Jack’s point of view, Sara’s husband, the reader is drawn into the dilemma of an elderly man trying to take on too much as his wife’s condition deteriorates. We worry with Jack when Sara disappears from time-to-time; our hackles raise when the doctors and social workers and his own children insist it is time to find more permanent care for his wife. From Sara’s point of view, we get a sense of the disorientation, fear, and discomfort of losing the most recent memories, never quite knowing where she is or who she is with. Both characters are stubborn and strong, trying to force their lives to work out as they planned even though things are clearly not going their way. Along the way, we delve into the thoughts and worries of various family members.

A particularly stirring chapter describes Sara getting lost on her way to the market just a few miles away from the bed and breakfast the couple operated. Having visited Cape Cod a few times, I’m familiar with the winding roads and how easy it is to get lost from turn to turn. I understand the feeling of looking at road signs and trying to remember what turn goes where. Being unable to find your way home would be terrifying.

Narrated by Eleanor Bell, the audio version of Blue Hydrangeas is well-voiced, giving the characters a range of inflections that enhance the story. The drama reaches out and grabs you, as well as the sorrow and heartache, and the wishfulness that things were different.

The story reminded me of something that might be found as a made-for-TV movie on a family-friendly channel. The story brings further awareness to this devastating illness.

This book receives 4 Stars.

I received a copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review.BHMS

For more about this book, see the previous post by Guest Author Marianne Sciucco.

Marianne Sciucco – Guest Post

Love Still Alice Promo Card Pink Thunderclap

Marianne Sciucco is not a nurse who writes but a writer who happens to be a nurse. A lover of words and books, she dreamed of becoming an author when she grew up but became a nurse to avoid poverty. She later brought her two passions together and writes about the intricate lives of people struggling with health and family issues. Her debut novel, Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s love story, is a Kindle bestseller, IndieReader Approved, a BookWorks Book of the Week, a Reader’s Favorite, and winner of IndieReCon’s Best Indie Novel Award. A native Bostonian, she lives in New York’s Hudson Valley and, when not writing, works as a campus nurse at a community college. She loves books, the beach, and craft beer, and especially enjoys the three of them together.

Please welcome Marianne Sciucco as she discusses her book. MKS

Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s love story by Marianne Sciucco

What if the person who knew you best and loved you most forgot your face, and couldn’t remember your name?

A nursing facility is everyone’s solution for what to do about Sara, but her husband Jack can’t bear to live without her. He is committed to saving his marriage, his wife, and their life together from the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease. He and Sara retired years ago to the house of their dreams and operated it as a Cape Cod bed and breakfast named Blue Hydrangeas. Jack has made an impossible promise: He and Sara will stay together in their beautiful home no matter what the disease brings. However, after nine years of selfless caregiving complicated by her progressing Alzheimer’s and his own failing heart, he finally admits he can no longer care for her at home. With reluctance, he arranges to admit her to an assisted living facility. But on the day of admission, Sara is having one of her few good days and he is unable to follow through. Instead, he takes them on an impulsive journey to confront their past and reclaim their future. In the end, he realizes that staying together at any cost is what truly matters.

What inspired you to write a book about Alzheimer’s?BHMS

One day at work as a hospital case manager, I met a fascinating couple who were in their 80’s. She was a lovely woman, so pretty, and had Alzheimer’s. I’d ask her a question and she’d try to answer, but then say, “Oh, I’m so mixed up,” and laugh, quite charming.  Her husband was frail, an amiable sort of guy, and devoted to her.  My job was to assist with the discharge plan, which was for her to go to a local nursing home for rehab (she’d broken her pelvis) the next day. I discussed the arrangements with her and her husband. Their son was also present, and he told me to make sure his parents didn’t leave the hospital without him; he planned to drive them to the nursing home and assist with the admissions process. Later on, I couldn’t stop thinking about that couple, wondering what would happen if they left the hospital without their son. Where would they go?  What would they do?  Thus, the seeds of Blue Hydrangeas were sown, my wild writer’s imagination took off, and the story began to grow.

I worked on this book eleven years.  It sounds crazy, I know, but after I finished what I thought was the final draft and sent it out into the literary market place with no takers, I continued to tweak it, cutting scenes, adding others.  In the midst of all this, I developed repetitive strain injuries from an inappropriate computer workstation at my job, and everything just stopped.  I could no longer write.  I put everything aside for a couple of years.  But the story haunted me, and when I was able to I continued to revise and rework the manuscript.  Two years ago a friend suggested I publish on Kindle and I figured I had nothing to lose.  It took me a year to prepare and publish the book.  My book is unique because there aren’t many novels about Alzheimer’s, although 5.5 million people are suffering from it right now.

 

An interview with Marianne Sciucco, author of Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s love story

http://youtu.be/W4UvTVY4en4

 

Here’s an excerpt from Blue Hydrangeas.

Sara has had an accident and is in the hospital.

After dining on the cafeteria’s daily special, Jack returned to his wife, now sleeping peacefully, her face devoid of any stress. Jack stared at her for a long while, seeing vestiges of a young Sara, remembering the first time he had seen her fifty-seven years ago. Sara was nineteen, a blue-eyed beauty with rich auburn hair and tiny freckles splashed across her tiny nose. The face he saw now was older and well seasoned, but at seventy-six she was still a beauty.

The auburn hair had turned snow white and covered her shoulders like a silken shawl. Her blue eyes still sparkled like jewels, but now tiny lines framed them. He smiled, thinking of how she lamented those wrinkles, blaming herself, a redhead living her life in the sun. She had taken care, but her love for the outdoors, the ocean, and her gardens had gotten the better of her. Jack thought the wrinkles added character, a testament to a life well lived.

Her hands, though, revealed the most about her. Once as soft as rose petals, they had become calloused and worn by her life’s work. As a commercial artist, she had dipped them into oil paint and turpentine for decades. And, when her hands were not commanding a paintbrush they had dug deep into the earth, creating a spectacular garden that reaped awards from gardening groups throughout New England.

Jack loved those hands, and held both of them in his own. Over the years, he had lavished her with exquisite jewelry, but these days she wore one simple gold band on her wedding finger, delicately inscribed with the words: “Always, my love. Jack.” He stroked the ring, gazing at her with a mixture of love and grief. The last nine years had been tough and promised to get tougher. He sensed change, and loss, and death ahead and it filled him with fear deeper than he had ever known. The realization that one of them would die, would leave the other, paralyzed him. How could he live without her? What would she do without him?

“Oh, Sara,” he whispered, a catch in his throat. Tears formed in his eyes and he brushed them away. He did not know whom he pitied more: Sara or himself.

He pulled away from her bedside and went home to call their son.

 

Connect Links:

Blog:  http://mariannesciucco.blogspot.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/marianne.sciucco.1

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18002405-blue-hydrangeas?from_search=true

Google+: google.com/+MarianneSciucco

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mariannesciucco/blue-hydrangeas/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarianneSciucco

 

Blue Hydrangeas is available in paperback, audiobook and ebook at these and other online booksellers.

Audible

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iBooks

Kobo

Smashwords

 

 

 

 

Blue Eyes Trilogy Audiobook Promo

More News from CBB Book Promotions
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YA Fantasy:  Blue Eyes Trilogy

All three books of the bestselling Blue Eyes Trilogy are now available in audiobook format.
Narrated by Caprisha Page.
Available at Amazon, Audible, and iTunes

 


Owners of the $0.99 Kindle edition of The Legend of the Blue Eyes can buy the professionally narrated audio edition for $1.99
*******
 

The Legend of the Blue Eyes

www.bkristinmcmichael.com/lotbe

Audiobook LOTBEArianna Grace liked her boring Midwestern teenage life where she ignored the many unanswered questions of her childhood. Why were her parents dead? Why doesn’t she have a family? Why do her memories only start at five? When someone offers to explain it, Arianna thinks she is just getting answers. Instead, she is thrown into a world of night humans that drink blood.

On Arianna’s sixteenth birthday, her world is thrown upside down when she changes into a vampire. Night humans, or demons as some call them, live in normal society. Learning all the new rules of a world she didn’t know existed would be hard enough, but it’s further complicated by two former-friends that now want to help her take her role as the successor to her grandfather.

There is a war going on between the night humans. Sides have been taken and lines are not crossed. Four main clans of night humans are struggling for control of the night. Divided into two sides, clans Baku and Tengu have been at war for centuries with the clans Dearg-dul and Lycan. That is, until Arianna Grace finds out the truth; she is the bridge of peace between the two sides. But not everyone wants peace. With the night humans divided onto two sides, Arianna is now a pawn in the war between them. Arianna must choose a side- her mother’s family or her father’s- and for once in her life decide her own fate.

Becoming a Legend

www.bkristinmcmichael.com/bal

Audiobook BAL
Arianna Grace is about to turn seventeen, and her life has been very complicated lately. She is the leader of four clans of night humans: dearg-dul, baku, tengu, and lycan. While the four clans seem to get along better with each other, there is internal conflict on both sides of her family, not to mention the three boys vying for her attention. Devin is set on keeping her safe above all else. Turner’s goal is to make her happy. And Andrew wants her for himself. At some point Arianna will have to choose between them, but first she needs to survive the plots against her.

Edward Lucan is making a chase for the power to lead the baku clans and is playing his cards by using his nephew Andrew to lure Arianna into a trap. Unfortunately for Lucan, Andrew has his own plans. He has spent the last year waiting for Arianna to see him as more than a friend, and he now finds it necessary to make a move for her affection, despite his uncle.

In the dearg-dul estate, Arianna discovers that the ambitious Lord Seeger has been laying his own strategies for power and is slowly poisoning her. After getting away with her grandfather’s murder, he is setting his sights on her. Luckily for Arianna, her team is on to all of the plans and is making their own counter strategies. Will it be enough to keep Arianna safe? Several people close to Arianna have been keeping secrets. If Arianna is to take power and control of the night, she will need to know the truth. Will someone finally tell her what it really means to become the legend everyone is waiting for, before it is too late to turn back?

Winning the Legend

www.bkristinmcmichael.com/wtl

Audiobook WTL
Arianna has gathered the outside clans to decide her fate in marriage. A tournament will be held, and she is the prize, whether she wants to be or not. The only thing for her to do is watch the clan leaders fight over her, or is it? Thanks to her team’s well-made plans, Arianna has other strategies in place. Hopefully one of those plans will earn her freedom.

As the contestants gather and she learns more about the night human world, there are new allies to keep close and more enemies to keep even closer. Some even hold more secrets to her legend and possibly the actual reason to her existence. Now Arianna must decide what to do with the fate she has been dealt. The time has come to step out of the shadows of the men who protect her, and into her own power. The time is now for Arianna to take control, and fight for the destiny she wants to live.

Amazon

bioAbout the Author:
Originally from Wisconsin, B. Kristin currently resides in Ohio with her husband, two small children, and three cats. When not doing the

 

mom//thing of chasing kids, baking cookies, and playing outside, she is
using her PhD in biology as a scientist. In her free time she is
currently hard at work on multiple novels. Every day is a new writing
adventure.
 
Contact the author:
Website | Mailing List (Sales and New Release Info) | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Stores:
Giveaway:
Three winners will win the full set of the Blue Eyes Trilogy in audiobook (via audible.com)
International (where audible.com is available)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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