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review 2018-02-22 23:34
#Audiobook Review: Murder's a Witch by Danielle Garrett
Murder's a Witch: Beechwood Harbor Magic Mysteries Series, Book 1 - Danielle Garrett,Tantor Audio,Amanda Ronconi

Holly, a powerful witch, has been tossed from the Haven, a secret system of living for paranormals. She’s been placed in a communal home for displaced paras, living in the small town of Beechwood Harbor. Working at a coffee shop to make ends meet, Holly is shocked when she shows up for work only to find her grumpy boss Peg murdered in the back alley. When her best friend is named as the primary suspect, Holly uses her witchy ways to get to the bottom of this mystery.


Murder’s a Witch is a fun, entertaining story. This is the first time I’ve selected an audiobook primarily because of the narrator, and I’m glad I did. I enjoyed the small-town, cozy paranormal mystery with a slight blossom of romance. Even though at first, I found the house infighting annoying, and the characters a bit over-the-top, I grew to like the residents of Beechwood Harbor. 


Holly is a bit of a mess, and she has secrets, of which we learned very little. Hopefully those answers will come in time, but the immediate mystery of who killed Peg was engrossing. I liked listening as Holly worked to put all of the pieces together. I loved the light-hearted nature of the story, watching friendships develop, seeing Adam’s genuine interest in Holly, etc. Some of the storylines were a bit cheesy - like the vampiress beauty queen, but mostly it is a good mix of fun. 


As I mentioned, I picked up this story because while it looked interesting, the narrator is one of my favorites: Amanda Ronconi. She does a wonderful job with the story, creating and maintaining unique and fitting voices for each character. Ms. Ronconi succeeds with the quirky, first-person female lead, and Holly is no exception. I’ve become familiar with most of her voices, yet never did I confuse Murder’s a Witch with another story.


In the end, I enjoyed my first visit to Beechwood Harbor. I like that there is still a lot of unknown around Holly, like why she was kicked out of the Haven system, and with town newcomer, Nick… I feel like there is more to him than meets the eye. I will definitely pick up future titles of the Beechwood Harbor Magic Mysteries with Amanda Ronconi narrating.


My Rating: B
Narration: B+


Review copy provided by Tantor Audio

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review 2018-02-12 15:15
#Audiobook Review: Thomas by Grace Burrowes
Thomas: Jaded Gentlemen Series, Book 1 - Tantor Audio,Grace Burrowes,James Langton

Thomas Jennings arrives at his newly acquired estate to discover his steward has been absent for two years, leaving his more than capable daughter, Loris, to fill the roll. However, with discontent among the staff, Thomas makes changes immediately, and now someone is causing mischief on his property, leaving the unprepared Thomas dependent on Loris’s knowledge and advice.


Loris Tanner enjoys her position as steward despite the hard work because she loves the land. She’s comforted to realize the new owner is reasonable and plans to keep her on in her role. However, neither Loris nor Thomas planned on the growing attraction that draws the pair together.


Even though Thomas is the first book in the Jaded Gentlemen series, it’s the second I’ve listened to. Now that I am familiar the author’s voice and storytelling, along with the narrator’s style and vocalization, it all fell into place. I adore Thomas and Loris. I love that both are unconventional for the time. She is a strong female who uses her smarts and wit. She’s happy running the land, doing a man’s job… and she’s mostly accepted, which is not something that would have happened. Likewise, Thomas is kind and generous. He values not only Loris’s opinions but the word of all his honorable employees. He gives Loris time and comfort, recognizing that she has been hurt and needs to be in charge of her own life. 


The narration by Mr. Langton is comforting. His voices are soothing and familiar. While none of the characters stand out, each is just different enough that every character is unique and distinguishable from the next. While he never quite comes off as a woman, his female voices are appropriate and feminine. 


Even though the story takes place only over the course of a couple months, Thomas is sweeping and almost epic in nature due to the methodical approach to both the romance and the mystery of who is behind the sabotage. I like that story gives equal footing to the romance, the mystery, and the development of the two main characters. Overall, Thomas is a delightful listen.


My Rating: A-

Narration: A-

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review 2018-01-31 02:06
A strong thriller hampered by iffy narration.
Silence - Thomas Perry,Michael Kramer,Tantor Audio

Jack Till is a retired LAPD homicide detective turned P.I. Six years ago, he helped a woman named Wendy Harper vanish from the face of the Earth. She'd been horribly beaten and was afraid that next time she wouldn't survive, and neither would her loved ones. But now, for reasons unknown, someone has framed her former business partner/fiancé for her murder. It's clearly a trap set for her, but the only way to prove his innocence is to prove that she's still alive.


Even though Till knows the tricks he taught her to disappear, he doesn't know how she applied his lessons or where she might have gone. It takes some ingenuity, tenacity and luck, but he eventually does. It then takes a lot more of the same to get her back to LA to demonstrate that she habeas her own corpus.


Meanwhile, Paul and Sylvie Turner, ballroom dancing aficionados and professional killers, perpetrated the frame and are on Till's trail as he looks for Wendy (or whatever her name is now). They flirt, bicker and kill their way across California and beyond in their efforts kill Wendy.


The narration jumps between the perspectives of Till, Paul and Sylvie for most of the book -- with a little bit of Wendy's and, eventually, the man who hired the Turners. Perry makes some interesting choices about whose perspective we see some events through, giving us Till when you'd expect a Turner (and vice versa). Not only do we see the current action from their perspectives, we get a pretty detailed backstory for Till, the Turners and their boss -- interestingly, almost everything we learn about Wendy, we learn from her disclosures to TIll, so we only see her from his point of view.


I really got into the story, and found the Turners pretty interesting -- ditto for Till. The focus was on the Turners enough that if you told me that Perry'd written a sequel about them, I'd believe it (he did write one about Till). I never managed to get as invested in the backstory (or the current-story) about the man who hired the Turners. There's some good twists, some smart reveals, and just good action moments.


I found the dialogue stiff, awkward and occasionally painful -- the interior monologues of the various POV characters could also grate my nerves. I'm honestly not certain if that's Perry's issue or Kramer's. Thankfully, the story was strong enough that I could put up with the problems I had.


Kramer's got a huge list of credits, and is clearly beloved by many. But man . . . I found him tolerable at best, and frequently annoying. There's a lot of problems that I had with the book that I'm attributing to his narration -- I may be wrong about that, but I think if I'd been reading the book, I'd have overlooked and/or not had many of the problems that I did.


A strong story, with enough tense moments to satisfy any thriller reader, Silence is something to try, but probably only in text-form.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/01/30/silence-audiobook-by-thomas-perry-michael-kramer
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review 2018-01-17 15:57
#Audiobook Review: Jack by Grace Burrowes
Jack: Jaded Gentlemen Series, Book 4 - Tantor Audio,Grace Burrowes,James Langton

Bachelor Sir Jack - not a rake, and a fine gentleman, is dreading the impending visit of his mother - a woman he can never please. She’s going to be staying with him for a few months after the holidays and he’s at wit’s end. His household staff isn’t gelling, and he’s worried what will happen. He seeks advice from his friends, the Belmonts, who instead give him a solution. They offer their own Miss Madeline Hennessey to be his mother’s companion and help straighten out affairs. 


Madeline doesn’t want to leave her post with the Belmonts - she’s worried that the newly married widow and his wife, whom she adores, will discover her services are no longer needed. However, the coin is too good to pass up. Soon, she has Jack’s household running smoothly, she’s assisting Jack in solving the mystery of a petty theft spree, and falling for the man she never wanted.


I simply adored Jack and the slow-burn romance that develops between Jack and Madeline. Both strong individuals, the pair are quite equally matched, both kind and compassionate, and not of the norm for the time period. They are very attracted to one another, both in mind and body. Knowing nothing could ever come of their dalliances, the indulge in scandalous behaviors, drawing them both further into true feelings of love.


This is the first historical romance I’ve listened to via audiobook, so I don’t know if the performance by Mr. Langton is typical. At first I found it a little awkward, unsure if it’s only the narrator or if it’s also the writing style, but the story came off like a tale from long ago being shared with me by an wise, old man. After a while, I became used to Mr. Langton’s performance, enjoying the variety of voices he uses for the characters. While I never felt that he put me into the story or that he became the characters, I did enjoy sitting back and listening to him spin the tale.


Jack is a wonderful tale about an honorable man and a worthy woman finding love. Jack and Madeline make a great pair. Right from the start, we witness how well they understand one another and how they make the other a better person. Working together to solve mysteries - whether they are solving crimes or domestic issues - the pair are unstoppable. 


My Rating: B+

Narration: B+

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text 2017-12-09 03:57
WooHoo!! Another Half Price Sale on Audible
A Hologram for the King - Dave Eggers,Dion Graham
Thursday the Rabbi Walked Out: A Rabbi Small Mystery, Book 7 - Harry Kemelman,George Guidall
The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Wordplay More Than Some Antics - John Pollack,Pete Larkin
M. Butterfly - David Henry Hwang,L.A. Theatre Works,Margaret Atwood,Tony Wong,John Lithgow,David Dukes

My 2018 TBR is slowly but surely filling up thanks to all of the sales that Audible is having. Any time I can get a book for less than the cost of a credit, I consider it a good price. So, today I went through my wish-list picking off a few titles that appealed.



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