Friday, 18 May 2018

Audiobook Review: Last Words by Shari J. Ryan

About the Book

Last Words, where Non-Fiction meets Fiction, and the lines in between are blurred by forbidden love.

Amelia - 1942:
The inside of my closet held the last bit of my freedom before I was torn from my home and shoved onto a dark train.

Our destination was even darker. “Women and children to the right. Men to the left,” they shouted at us.

Everything was taken from me, leaving only the smoke filled air, piercing screams, and soul-burning cries.

I was slowly starved and weakened to the bone, but there was a man—a Nazi—who brought me extra food. He called himself a prisoner too, but he scared me, and I wondered if he was the enemy I should fear the most.

Emma - Current Day:
My grandmother hid her past in an old diary under her bed. The tattered, brown leather book sat there for years until she asked me to find it and read her unspoken words. Now, her stories and secrets are consuming every moment of my life.

She’s dying ... and asking for a man no one in our family has ever heard of.

I never imagined a hand-written book could change my entire life, but it has. It opened my eyes to a new beginning, and I learned that love is not the unsaid word my grandmother has refused to speak. It’s an action—it’s longevity, taboo and sometimes forbidden. Do we fight for what’s wrong, or do we spend our lives searching for what’s right?

Last words were never spoken because love doesn’t stop until a heart is no longer beating.

My Thoughts

Stephanie Willis, Susan Larkin, Chris Kayser narrated Last Words: A Diary of Survival, and they did an excellent job. The tone and pacing was excellent, the characters all sounded their age and the narration was packed with emotion. I was immersed from the start, and really, what else could you want from an audiobook?

Amelia’s story...well, what can you say? It’s heartbreaking, touching, moving. The story is not a comfortable one, but I can imagine the reality was much worse than described. As Amelia’s past is revealed, the book moves between the past and the present. In the present time, Amelia is a 92 year old woman who is dying. Her granddaughter Emma is tasked with reading Amelia’s secret diary about her experiences during WWII.

The present time is portrayed in a much lighter tone and includes a romance for Emma. As enjoyable as this part of the story was, it felt more of a “fluff piece” that took away from Amelia’s story. There just seemed to more there that we are not told.

Overall, I highly recommend this audiobook. It’s entertaining. It’s educational. It’s hopeful.

About the Author

Shari J. Ryan is an International Bestselling Author of heartbreakers and mind-benders. Shari was once told she tends to exaggerate often and sometimes talks too much, which would make a great foundation for fictional books. Four years later, Shari has written eleven novels that often leave readers either in tears from laughing, or crying. 

With her loud Boston girl attitude, Shari isn’t shy about her love for writing or the publishing industry. Along with writing several International bestsellers, Shari has split her time between writing and her longstanding passion for graphic design. In 2014, she started an indie-publishing resource company, MadHat Books, to help fellow authors with their book cover designs, as well as assistance in the self-publishing process. 

While Shari may not find many hours to sleep, she still manages to make time for her family. She is a devoted wife to a great guy, and a mother to two little boys who remind her daily why she was put on this earth.

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