logo
Currently Browsing: mystery/suspense
Jun
21

JIAM #Audiobook Review: Death in a Stately Home by Sara Rosett

JIAM #Audiobook Review: Death in a Stately Home by Sara Rosett Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: Death in a Stately Home by Sara Rosett Author: Sara Rosett Narrator: Sarah Mollo-Christensen Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Murder on Location #3 Genre: Mystery Source: Tantor Audio Death in a Stately Home continues the story of Kate, the location scout turned amateur detective.  I enjoyed the latest murder mystery that Kate not only finds herself on location for, but the main suspect. Part of what makes this series compelling is the beautiful locations that the story takes place.  Kate is still in England, working as a location scout as well as exploring the romantic connection with Alex.  Much to her chagrin, she is still working for the persnickety director/producer of the Jane Austen biography.  On her weekend off when Kate should be getting to know Alex’s younger sister while she is visiting for a break, Kate is coerced into working a Regency-themed English get-a-way.  Her job is to research the event to see if parts of it can be included in the film.  Unbeknownst to the producer, the Lady of the house, Beatrice, wants Kate at the weekend event to keep an eye out for a sabotaging staff member who is trying to sully the family name and estate.  Beatrice and Kate are friends, and Beatrice knows how astute and observant Kate is.  While watching and enjoying the event, Kate stumbles across another murder.  Unfortunately, for Kate, she is the prime suspect and time may be running out to figure out the culprit. I enjoy the stoicism of Kate and her logical mind.  Alex is eager for Kate and Grace (Alex’s younger sister) to meet.  However, Alex is clueless about how awkward and anxious Grace might be feeling about meeting Alex’s girlfriend – someone who has the potential to drive a wedge between her and her brother.  Kate tries patiently to not step on Grace’s toes and allow Alex and Grace time together without her intruding.  The opportunity to work allows Kate the opportunity to bow-out without hurting Alex’s feelings.  However, Kate’s suspect status seems to be the much needed ice-breaker between her and Grace.  Now if Kate can only keep Grace from being bitten by the “armchair-detecting” bug, things will be perfect.   Ms. Mollo-Christensen expertly captures Kate’s personality as well as her keen intelligence.  The varied and differed accents of the various characters is astounding, and I enjoy listening to the series immensely.  The...
Read More
Jun
20

JIAM #Audiobook Review: Dressed to Kilt by Hannah Reed

JIAM #Audiobook Review: Dressed to Kilt by Hannah Reed Welcome to our feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Dressed to Kilt Author: Hannah Reed Narrator:  Angela Dawe Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Scottish Highlands Mystery #3 Genre: Contemporary, Cozy Mystery Source: Tantor Audio Winter is settling into the Scottish Highlands, and Eden’s time in Glenkillen is coming to a close, which has put her into a bit of a melancholy state. But another mystery begins when Leith and Eden compare invitations to an exclusive private whiskey tasting; each invitation saying it came from the other. Eden immediately turns on her investigative hat, discovering the owner of the distillery was a close friend of Eden’s paternal grandfather. Knowing Eden doesn’t care much for the Elliot side of the family, Bridie contrived a reason for Eden to visit her, but she also reveals she’s the subject of an anonymous threat. And when a dead body shows up in a vat of whiskey, it’s time for Eden and Inspector Jameson to discover the truths hidden deep within the local families.  Knowing that this is Eden’s last adventure in Glenkillen, I went into Dressed to Kilt feeling a bit melancholy myself. Eden spends much of her time reflecting on the friends and life she’s made for herself and how she’s changed over the past five-and-a-half months, as well as where her life back home is heading. Luckily a good mystery, involving the unfortunate death of a local, keeps Eden occupied.   The mystery this time around was just as exciting as in the previous two books. It was clear from the beginning that more was going on than the death of a local servant. I did make a few correct guesses as to some of the background behind the whys, but was off-base on other aspects. I love that I couldn’t figure it all out. The death leads Eden to discovering more about her estranged father and his family, something Eden has been avoiding since she was a young girl. The results are cathartic, even if Eden is unwilling to admit that she needed to go through it.   I did have a couple negatives with Dressed to Kilt: Eden is shut out of the case midway through the story. Her hurt is compounded when she discovers her friends (both home and in Glenkillen) hiding truths and manipulating her to discover more about her father’s family. I didn’t like the disconnect Eden had with her friends – especially as this is the...
Read More
Jun
15

JIAM #Audiobook Review: Escape Claws by Linda Reilly

JIAM #Audiobook Review: Escape Claws by Linda Reilly Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: Escape Claws Author: Linda Reilly Narrator: Callie Beaulieu Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Cat Lady Mysteries #1 Genre: Cozy Mystery Source: Tantor Audio Having recently enjoyed a few “cozy mysteries” on audio, as read by some of my favorite narrators, I thought I’d give an unknown a try. This is how I ended up listening Escape Claws, the first title in the Cat Lady Mysteries. While the premise was interesting and the mystery quite good, the overall presentation of the book didn’t work for me. Lara is a twenty-something artist living above a bakery shop in Boston. For various, never really specified reasons, she never went back to visit her beloved aunt after Lara and her parents left their small New Hampshire town for the bright lights of Massachusetts. Having recently reconnected with her BFF from childhood (Lara moved when she was six), she finds out that her aunt is struggling with her health, taking care of her numerous cats, and is being harassed by a local businessman. This prompts Lara to head back to her roots. However, shortly after she arrives, said businessman is found murdered on her aunt’s property, keeping Lara in place until everything is cleared up. The mystery of who killed Theo Barnes is exciting, holding my interest until the end, despite my issues with the book. I also enjoyed watching Lara reconnect with her aunt. While I’m a bit baffled why her family never visited after they moved (NH is not that far from greater Boston), I excepted that there were probably some unexplained family drama we aren’t privy to. Lara internalizes her guilt over abandoning her favorite aunt, which allows her to contemplate where she’s heading in her life, giving her character some depth.  However, the book itself was slow, and it felt extremely dated. Lara, age 27, uses terms like “flipity-flopity” and “presses her jeans.” These are not typical actions of any 27-year-old I have been around, reminding me of Ned Flanders from the Simpsons. Additionally, at one point, characters outright put down the romance and erotic romance genres, which turned me off. The book is set in present time, but the way the author develops her characters and the setting feels old to me. Finally, some of the characters are annoying and some of the towns’ folks come across stereotypical in nature. The narration by Ms. Beaulieu is decent;...
Read More
Jun
12

JIAM! #Audiobook Review: Raveled by Anne McAneny

JIAM! #Audiobook Review: Raveled by Anne McAneny Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: Raveled Author: Anne McAneny Narrator: Rebecca Roberts Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Standalone Genre: Mystery/Thriller Source: Narrator Suffice to say, I thoroughly enjoyed Raveled. It is an intensely emotional thriller as a daughter digs into a dark and haunted past on behalf of her incarcerated brother to uncover the truth of her father’s conviction of two heinous crimes.  It is an intriguing tale of two seemly unconnected victims, two different causes of death, and what seems an innocent man convicted by the court of community opinion prior to the end of the trial.  The accused man who is dead before the verdict and the sentence can be heard.  The story follows Allison, a woman who is deeply scarred by a monumental event and the scorn of her town.  She has put her hometown, Lavitte, and most of her youth behind her.  Allison isn’t really living, but surviving day to day.  She had no plans of digging into her father’s murder conviction sixteen years ago.  But when her brother begs her that knowing the truth could help his recovery from addiction, she concedes.  Allison could never have expected to uncover how deep the lies ran, nor how ugly the truth would be.  But her unwavering determination and the bittersweet healing that this investigation brings was captivating.  Though a truly darkly twisted truth is revealed, I was left with the hope that maybe, just maybe, Allison would be able to start living again. To assist in conveying the overall story of what happened, Ms. McAneny expertly uses flashbacks told from the different perspective of those individuals involved in the events that torn the town apart.   From Mr. Fennimore, Allison’s father, to the different victims, the flashbacks fill in teasers of the truth.  Timed along with Allison’s discovery of different clues, the past and present work together as the truth is slowly revealed.  It was chilling and emotionally wrenching as we learn that Allison’s opinion of her father had been greatly overshadowed by the final events in his life.   Ms. Robert’s narration was absolutely excellent.  Her portrayal of Allison was compelling and natural.  Ms. Robert was able to provide varied and unique voices for the numerous other characters.  Her narration contributed to my enjoyment of this emotionally heartrending and nail-bitingly intriguing novel.  Though the plot line is disturbing, I can see myself listening to it again. If an...
Read More
Jun
8

JIAM #Audiobook Review: To Spell and Back by ReGina Welling & Erin Lynn

JIAM #Audiobook Review: To Spell and Back by ReGina Welling & Erin Lynn Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: To Spell and Back Authors: ReGina Welling & Erin Lynn Narrator: C.S.E. Cooney Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Lexi Balefire Matchmaking Witch Mystery/Fate Weaver #3 Genre: Urban Fantasy, Mystery Source: Tantor Audio Things are truly coming to a breaking point for Lexi.  In To Spell and Back: A Lexi Balefire Matchmaking Witch Mystery she is able to learn far more about her past than she ever thought while also trying to procure living gold to repair the damaged Bow of Destiny. I really do continue to enjoy a mystery that does not involve dead bodies and vicious plots.  Lexi is working at trying to learn more about her past in order to fully understand her capabilities along with being a force for good in the world.  Her dedication to bringing couples together and doing the right thing is refreshing.  I enjoy her bubbly personality along with the unique and capturing family that Lexi has created.  As Lexi goes about trying to find the material to fix the Bow, she discovers a secret about the ring the Mudwitch gave her.  Not only that, Lexi discovers there is far more to the history of the Balefire witches and that her grandmother may not be lost. It was heartbreaking as we watch Lexi learn more about the past Balefire witches. Most specifically the relationship between her own mother and grandmother.  I enjoyed the parallel of Lexi trying to mend the bow and at the same time mending her own family’s secret past.  It was compelling.  As well as learning more about, the fairy godmothers and what they sacrificed to be a present and participating part of Lexi’s life.  I cannot decide what is more compelling, Lexi’s mission or the relationships around her.  The new friendship she developed adds another dimension and complication to Lexi’s life – but in a positive way.  Her adjustments to her best friend finding love is also another aspect of Lexi’s maturing.   Ms. Cooney continues to capture not only Lexi’s voice and personality, but also those of the varied other characters.  Her narration brings this series and the characters to life.  I look forward to listening to her narration for the next novel in this series.  Left with another surprising revelation, I am eager to see what happens next.  I continue to like the Fate Weaver series and look forward to the next light-hearted journey...
Read More
Jun
7

JIAM #Audiobook Review: Witch Way Home by Danielle Garrett

JIAM #Audiobook Review: Witch Way Home by Danielle Garrett Welcome to our feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Witch Way Home Author: Danielle Garrett Narrator: Amanda Ronconi Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Beechwood Harbor Magic Mysteries #4 Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery Source: Tantor Audio Witch Way Home opens shortly after the mysterious conclusion of the previous book, with our heroine, Holly the witch, reacquainting herself with the Seattle Haven after being banished for the past year. She’s preparing for her hearing with the Haven Council, hoping to gain permission to get her Master Potions license and reopen her store. Unfortunately, things don’t go well for her at the hearing, and it gets even worse when her SPA case worker, Harvey, suddenly leaves the hearing and goes missing. Once again, Holly ends up in the middle of a murder mystery and this time, he own future is at risk. Witch Way Home was an absolute delight, and it addressed pretty much everything I felt was missing from (wrong with) the previous book, Witch Slapped. I loved the focus on Holly: both her quest for her Potion license and how the events surrounding the trial and murder mystery impact her life. Gone were most of the side stories and confusion surrounding Holly when she is around Nick. Don’t get me wrong, Holly is still questioning what she’ll do with her life, but it wasn’t couched in any sort of romance/man-related setting. It’s all her and what she’s going to do – what will make her happy.  I also am very happy that she’s not running around behind her friends’ or Adam’s backs when looking for answers to the murder mystery during this story. Holly relies on her friends, and even better, confides in Adam. This is such an improvement over the past couple of titles. And it’s not just with the mystery, but also with her concerns over Nick and the fact that the memory wipe doesn’t seem to be holding. The residents of Beechwood Harbor all come together to deal with/help Nick, and even Adam considers him a friend. *fist pump* Once again, Holly and gang are brought to life through the performance of Amanda Ronconi. I adore her work and commend her interpretation of Holly. Ms. Ronconi convincingly portrays Holly’s thoughts, concerns, and expressions. She helps solidify Holly as a favorite character of mine. Her female voices are each a bit different and well-suited. However, her male voices tend to be a bit problematic for me, as many sound...
Read More
Jun
4

Review: Cash Plays by Cordelia Kingsbridge

Review: Cash Plays by Cordelia Kingsbridge Cash Plays Author: Cordelia Kingsbridge Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: It’s been three months since the serial killer known as the “Seven of Spades” resurfaced, and the Las Vegas police aren’t any closer to catching them than they were in the beginning. For Detective Levi Abrams, the accompanying frustrating days and nightmare-filled evenings are definitely taking their toll. In stark contrast, however, his relationship with his newly-licensed PI boyfriend, Dominic Russo, is better than ever. But, if living in Vegas has taught them both anything, it’s that more than fortunes can change in an instant, and sometimes not even love is enough in the end. While both of the previous novels in the Seven of Spades series had tough moments, Cash Plays was rough all the way through. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, because I did. I just spent most of the story cringing over the actions of one of the main characters, the whole situation turning into a downward spiral which he never recovered from. When things start to go wrong, they go very, very wrong, and traversing the worst of it was admittedly more difficult than I thought it would be. Rather than being a deal-breaker, however, I firmly believe that the series needed the darkness, and I’m hoping that the final two stories will guide both Dominic and Levi back to an eventual happy ending. Romantically, the early chapters of Cash Plays are as sweet as any harbinger of doom could ever wish to be. Dominic and Levi are perfect for each other, and Levi’s happily awkward discomfort with the open affection is endearing. That the relationship is about to undergo an onslaught of some kind is clear, however, and watching the hits come one after the other was downright painful in a way that obligated me to continue reading to the end.  Far from being a romance, though, Cash Plays builds on the already psychologically intriguing premise established in the earlier stories. Encompassing not just the main characters, but the public as well, it is an interesting exploration of the most twisted kind of hero worship and the moral dilemma inherent in vigilante justice. It’s not quite a modern-day Robin Hood with a body count, but there are some definite similarities.  Though there were a couple of issues that tested my faith in the narrative, Cash Plays is a solid addition to the Seven of Spades series. And...
Read More
May
25

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Death in an English Cottage by Sara Rosett

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Death in an English Cottage by Sara Rosett Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: Death in an English Cottage Author: Sara Rosett Narrator: Sarah Mollo-Christensen Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Murder on Location #2 Genre: Mystery Source: Tantor Audio Death in an English Cottage is a delightful and intriguing sequel to Death in the English Countryside.  The burgeoning romance between Alex and Kate along with the mystery of the murdered woman woven was fascinating. I am a huge fan of slow burn romances and I love how Alex and Kate’s romance is slowly smoldering and working up to a flame.  At this early stage, they are still getting to know each other as well as work together.  However, when a dead body is discovered in a neighboring cottage from Kate’s, more than just finding the culprit is at stake for Kate.  As she gets closer to the truth, she becomes a target, and the documentary crew does not want any negative publicity.  Without a paying job, Kate would have to return to the States, if she cannot find something else – which would put an end to the something brewing between her and Alex.  Though Kate is getting a feeling that Alex may be hiding something, casting a shadow on this crazy decision she made to stay in England. The murder mystery was fascinating.  However, the identity of the murderer is easy to figure out, the motive behind his actions as well the means were much more difficult to puzzle out.  I enjoyed how different nefarious actions of others were woven into how the murderer is able to cast suspicion on others.  It was really interesting how everything fell into the place at the end.  Kate is truly gifted.  Her ability to slowly unravel the clues, seeing things that the Detective Inspector did not was interesting.  The suspense was chilling as Kate finally figured it all out, almost too late. Ms. Mollo-Christensen performs the role of Kate perfectly.  She is able to convey Kate’s personality as well as her individual nuances well.  I also like the range of accents and voices she is able to convey, making it easy to follow along with the various characters. Her narration greatly enhanced my enjoyment of this audiobook.  If you enjoy cozy murder mysteries that harken back to the classic British mysteries, you may just want to start on the Murder on Location series.  I enjoy the amateur detective adventures of Kate, the location...
Read More
May
24

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Hooked on Ewe by Hannah Reed

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Hooked on Ewe by Hannah Reed Welcome to our feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Hooked on Ewe Author: Hannah Reed Narrator:  Angela Dawe Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Scottish Highlands Mystery #2 Genre: Contemporary, Cozy Mystery Source: Tantor Audio Hooked on Ewe is the standalone, follow up mystery to Off Kilter. Eden Elliot has been in Glenkillen for about 3 months. She’s working and living on Vicky’s farm. She’s made friends and finished the first draft of her book. Christine still isn’t very warm and fuzzy but it’s all okay. Until, the farm hosts a large charity event and Eden discovers the corpse of one of the town’s volunteers. Inspector Jameson has his hands full and asks Eden to be a Special Constable to help him on the case.  Overall, I enjoyed my return to the quaint town of Glenkillen. Seeing the tapestry of land, the food, and the people of the Highlands through the eyes of Eden is wonderful. From her descriptive looks at the scenery, the tastes of the foods and drink, and even the yarn produced and sold at Sheepish Expressions; it’s all brought to vivid life though her observations.  The mystery was engrossing. I liked Eden’s larger roll in the investigation. However, there were a couple small things that made it not as great as the first book – first, as Eden’s character development progresses in this second book there were aspects that came to light that I didn’t care for.  I didn’t like how pushy and judgmental Eden became as she pursued the investigation. Maybe she was like this before, but I don’t remember. However, I will say she was put in her place by the inspector, and she tried to tamper her attitude subsequently. So, while it was annoying in the start, it seemed to settle down after a while.  Second, I was put off by how the first book left us thinking Vicky and Kirsten had worked things out, but then this one opened with Kirsten being a total b*tch again. This continued for quite a while, and it bothered me – been there, done that. She did make amends about halfway in (+/-) so I really hope we don’t get a repeat in book 3, or I’ll be so tired of it.  Lastly, I applauded the fact that the author put the inspector out of dating potential in the beginning and then focused on Eden’s attraction to Leif. I like their very slow burn attraction as...
Read More
May
17

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Witch Slapped by Danielle Garrett

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Witch Slapped by Danielle Garrett Welcome to our feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Witch Slapped Author: Danielle Garrett Narrator: Amanda Ronconi Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Beechwood Harbor Magic Mysteries #3 Genre: Paranormal Mystery Source: Tantor Audio Witch Slapped takes listeners back to the coastal town of Beechwood Harbor and the adventures of resident witch, Holly Boldt. The holidays are approaching and Holly’s shifter boyfriend Adam shares the news that his parents are coming to town. And if that isn’t stressful enough, Holly’s SPA agent moves into the manor, working on a secret investigation. Unfortunately, Holly’s thriving potions business isn’t entirely legal, and she is worried he’ll discover the truth and send her to prison for good. Toss in a cheating spouse, gruesome murder, and a mafia vampire family, and things are pretty much normal for Holly. I’m really enjoying the cozy mystery with a paranormal twist stories of the Beechwood Harbor Magic Mysteries series. When we last saw Holly, she was finally opening up to Adam and making a home in Beechwood Harbor. However, apparently Holly didn’t really change in the months following the previous book. Once again, she stumbles into trouble while on an investigation with Nick. And while she shares some of what is going on with the out-of-town Adam, she continues to go behind his back and take matters into her own hands. Additionally, being around Nick causes Holly to question her future and where things are heading with Adam. This frustrated me to no end when listening to Witch Slapped. And honestly, at this point, if it becomes a reoccurring theme in each title, I may have to back away. Either put Holly and Adam together and allow their relationship to bloom, or break them up and have Holly move on with life. OR, just drop the romantic entanglements altogether, and focus solely on the engrossing mysteries.  Outside of the romance, I enjoyed the continuing development of camaraderie and friendship between Holly and several of the supporting characters. Here is one place the overall character development is progressing. Additionally, the mystery itself is exciting. I enjoy listening to Holly pull the pieces together or work them over with Nick. I just wish Nick and best friend Cassie could be in the know (about supernaturals).  Although I enjoyed the storyline in Witch Slapped, the conclusion of the mystery went down very quickly and fell a bit flat for me. Holly made big plans on how to bring down the bad...
Read More
Page 1 of 812345...Last »
logo
Powered by WordPress | Designed by Elegant Themes