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Currently Browsing: mystery/suspense
Apr
16

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Uninvited Corpse by Debra Sennefelder

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Uninvited Corpse by Debra Sennefelder Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: The Uninvited Corpse Author: Debra Sennefelder Narrator: Callie Beaulieu Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Food Blogger Mysteries #1 Genre: Cozy Mystery Source: Tantor Audio I enjoyed this first book in the Food Blogger Mystery series.  Hope was a fascinating character and I can’t wait to see what happens next. This cozy mystery reminds me of several different shows.  It’s like Ms. Sennefelder took a piece of Hope Floats, Murder She Wrote, Julie and Julia, and mixed it with a fresh, beautiful New England town and modernized it.  But though it pays homage to these other stories, it is truly its own series.   I really loved Hope.  We start with her months into rebuilding her life and herself.   Hope is complicated but thoughtful.  She has returned home to start a new life as a lifestyle entrepreneur.  Working on an old house, volunteering in the community and reconnection with her sister and her friends, Hope is starting to settle in, when a garden tour goes deathly wrong. This cozy murder mystery is very well crafted.  I felt like I was going in circles without being able to really concentrate on a culprit.  The murderer was clever and though I could tell who wasn’t guilty, the reveal took me by surprise.  As an amateur sleuth, Hope’s clumsy attempts at non-obvious investigative tactics were a bit comical and sad.  Her inner conflict over possibly hurting friends and proving her sister’s innocence was palpable.  I also enjoyed the side plot of Hope’s love life.  It seems she harbors feelings for her long-time friend, the chief of police.  The way they dance around their obviously intensifying affections for each other is adorable.  Though Hope is a little dense (and a lot afraid) of risking not just her heart but a treasured friendship.  When the novel concludes it seems there might be a love triangle brewing (but I am keeping my fingers crossed it won’t be).   I absolutely adored Ms. Beaulieu’s narration.  She captured the personality of Hope perfectly; her inner turmoil over getting involved in the investigation, worrying over those she had inadvertently wronged, and her love life – not to mention her still healing heart from her failures.  Hope’s tenacity and vulnerability is compelling and beautifully conveyed by the narration.   The Uninvited Corpse is a great start to this Food Blogger Mystery series.  I enjoyed Hope’s amateur...
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Apr
12

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Death in the English Countryside by Sara Rosett

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Death in the English Countryside by Sara Rosett Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: Death in the English Countryside Author: Sara Rosett Narrator: Sarah Mollo-Christensen Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Murder on Location #1 Genre: Mystery Source: Tantor Audio Death in the English Countryside is a delightful cozy murder mystery.  Though the culprit was a bit obvious, the motive was slyly hidden amongst plenty of red herring leads.  This new series, Murder on Location seems to revolve around Kate, a location scout.  I was able to relate easily to her professional type ‘A’ personality.  She is intelligent but also compassionate, as well as an avid Jane Austin fan.  When her boss doesn’t return from a location scouting trip in England for a massive Jane Austin movie project, she becomes concerned.  In order to be discreet, Kate heads over to England to quietly find and bring Kevin back quickly so they don’t lose this huge potential project.  Only instead of finding him passed out somewhere, she finds him dead in the country.  With the assistance of Alex, the local location scout working with Kevin, Kate retraces Kevin’s steps in order to find out what happened to him.  The murder was fairly obvious, though with the planting of several red herrings, it was difficult for me to be certain who the culprit was.  What I found the most fascinating was the eventual discovery of the motive behind the murder.  It was very straight-forward, once all the pieces of the puzzle were assembled.  The instant attraction between Kate and Alex was a delightful elephant in the room during the story.  I really enjoyed the slow-burn romance that was beginning in this novel.  Though at times Kate thought Alex could have been the guilty party – it was fun to watch her discover his innocence (and his observation of his alleged guilt).   This was a short and sweet mystery and very relaxing to listen to while bumming around the house.  Ms. Mollo-Christensen’s narration felt very subdued, but after a couple chapters, it truly suited Kate’s personality.  Though her voices did not vary as well between characters, I did enjoy her performance without too many confusing moments.   I liked this new novel and enjoyed the premise of this new cozy mystery series.  Hopefully I can listen to the next installment with the same narrator and find myself lost in another beautiful location.  If you enjoy a picturesque setting within a cozy murder mystery, you...
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Apr
11

Review: Into the Thinnest of Air by Simon R. Green

Review: Into the Thinnest of Air by Simon R. Green Into the Thinnest of Air Author: Simon R. Green Reviewer: Gikany and Una Rating: B  What We’re Talking About: After the revelation in the previous Ishmael Jones novel, we were surprised by Into the Thinnest of Air.  We weren’t expecting an intermission. Simon Green’s witty mystery/suspense series with a science-fiction twist has fascinated us for four novels.  Ishmael and Penny brave the strange and horrific, sleuthing out the culprit(s) while maintaining witty banter.  After the hint given in the previous book we had hoped to learn more about Ishmael’s mysterious past or see if Ishmael decides to dig into it.  What we didn’t expect is for Penny to surprise him with a holiday weekend.   Into the Thinnest of Air felt like a break in the overarching plot of Ishmael’s past.  Penny and Ishmael go into the country for a fun weekend, visiting a group of Penny’s father’s old friends.  However, nothing for them is ever as it seems and people begin to disappear after dinner.  With no bodies to examine and nothing in the way of clues left, Penny and Ishmael are lost as they try to figure out what is going on.  The majority of the novel is mostly the remaining members of the group arguing about if the disappearances are the work of the supernatural or a more mundane monster.  This group of friends is made up of a handful of once young-dreamers now resigned middle-aged adults chained to the fate that a bad decision left them.  The revelation of the mystery is as fascinating as it is chilling heinous, but it felt as if Penny and Ishmael spent most of the novel either chatting, arguing, or running around in circles.  As a standalone mystery, it is interesting but as the next novel in this series, we were a bit let down.   Although this is our least favorite story in this series, we still really like this series and are eager to see what happens in the next installment.  The mystery/drama may have been a little lackluster, but the humor and wit was still strong.  Hopefully it will be less a battle of words and suspicions and more battling of the evil forces in the world in the upcoming story.  Our fingers are crossed that more of Ishmael’s background will come into play in the next Ishmael Jones novel. Our Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: Ishmael Jones and his partner Penny are attending...
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Apr
5

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: A Match Made in Spell by ReGina Welling and Erin Lynn

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: A Match Made in Spell by ReGina Welling and Erin Lynn Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: A Match Made in Spell Authors: ReGina Welling & Erin Lynn Narrator: C.S.E. Cooney Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Lexi Balefire Matchmaking Witch Mystery/Fate Weaver #1 Genre: Urban Fantasy, Mystery Source: Tantor Audio I overall liked A Match Made in Spell.  This is definitely a lighthearted and cozy mystery. If you are a mystery fan, as I am, you might be pleasantly surprised by this one.  I’m used to reading murder mysteries.  However, this mystery does not involve a body.  It was actually quite refreshing for the mystery to not involve death.  Lexi is a matchmaker – a very successful one since she has her own “cupids” power.  She is able to sense a perfect match for someone.  What is difficult is making it not seem random or a miracle happenstance that she places two complete strangers together.  One Lexi finds your match, that’s it.  True love and the happily ever after, except for Lemon and her fiancé that seem to have fallen out of love.  Lexi needs to figure out why they seem to be falling apart along with a few other trivial things like awakening her power before it is too late, balancing her four crazy fairy godmothers at home and doing something about her own lackluster love life and keeping her business afloat. One thing I enjoyed about Lexi is she is not a quitter.  Though awakening her magic has eluded her for years, she keeps trying.  I liked her sense of confidence though her ability to be completely distracted was a bit annoying.  The way she would put off looking into Lemon’s situation was odd.  The fairy godmothers were quite entertaining, and I can’t imagine how she has kept their magic hidden considering how crazy they are.  But again, this is more a light-hearted and fun novel.  The animosity between her and her nemesis was fascinating – true friends to enemies.  I wonder if that will be a thread continued through the series.  The romance between Lexi and Kin is interesting and I wonder where it is going to lead.  There are quite a few surprises and twists making this an easy and fun read. I truly enjoyed C.S.E. Cooney’s narration.  She did an excellent job of captivating the personality of Lexi along with providing enough varied voices for the other characters.  It was easy to follow conversations involving multiple characters without getting...
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Apr
4

Review: Blow Down by JL Merrow

Review: Blow Down by JL Merrow Blow Down Author: JL Merrow Reviewer: B. Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Several months have passed since Tom Paretski got engaged, saw his best friend married, found out his “Dad” wasn’t really his biological father, and became the resident hero by saving a barmaid from dying in a fire. Now something of a minor celebrity thanks to news coverage exposing his psychic “gift,” he’s in demand for more than his plumbing skills—this time finding himself obligated to unearth a stolen necklace for a recently-wed, high-ranking member of the local diocese (who nobody seems to like very much). At least his life’s not boring. As was the case with the previous titles in the series, Blow Down begins with the discovery of a corpse. Poor Tom’s knack for finding dead bodies hasn’t subsided at all, and has once again placed him in the crosshairs of a murderer. With multiple suspects all capable of rampant greed, hatred of the deceased, or both, this was an interesting crime for Tom and Phil to crack. Although, in truth, I had more fun waiting to see what they, and the other returning characters would do than I did trying to puzzle out the mystery itself. One aspect of the earlier stories I wasn’t sure about, but which I thought was among the most enjoyable parts of Blow Down was Tom and Phil’s relationship. While they’re still learning about each other outside of their shared past, I found the teasing, protectiveness, and fondness that’s so evident between them to be endearing. In fact, the entire narrative is more affectionate than its predecessors, yet it maintains the familiar and comforting level of snark that has so strongly contributed to the personality of the series as a whole so far. Though I wasn’t able to get quite as wrapped up in the mystery of Blow Down as I was in the previous stories, it moved things along just fine. Despite the entirely new group of characters introduced for the purpose, there were somewhat limited options when it came to the sinister narcissism that seemed most indicative of the killer. While there’d be no story without the whodunit, it felt more like a vehicle for everything else that’s going on with Tom, rather than the objective of the narrative. Having missed the original publication of The Plumber’s Mate Mysteries, I admit that it has been nice to read them so closely together. As someone who is unfamiliar...
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Mar
28

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: A Tommy and Tuppence Mystery Partners in Crime Author:  Agatha Christie Narrator:  Hugh Fraser Audio Listening Speed: 1.25x Series: Tommy and Tuppence Mystery #2 Genre: Mystery Source: Library I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this second novel in the Tommy & Tuppence series. However, I should have never feared.  Though the time had jumped forward a bit, I enjoyed the eclectic nature of the series of mini-mysteries. Partners in Crime is an apt title as Tommy and Tuppence go under cover as… detectives.  Yes, after their success in the previous novel, her Majesty’s secret service request they take over the Blunt’s International Detective Agency to squirrel out more secrets and plots.  After being young newlyweds for a while, they feel they are ready to take on this exciting challenge, especially as Tuppence is feeling restless and a bit bored with life.  While they wait for the villains to make their move, Tommy and Tuppence fill their days with taking on real cases and solving them.  It was really delightful how the story progresses.  I enjoyed watching Tommy and Tuppence work together and at times at odds – trying to outdo the other. Hugh Fraser does an excellent job of bringing these characters to life; Tuppence’s effervescent personality and Tommy’s cautious nature.  He easily varies his voice as well as consistently making it easy to discern different characters.  His performance enhanced my enjoyment of this novel. For fans of Agatha Christie, I recommend this novel and the Tommy & Tuppence series.  It’s a more lighthearted mystery/detective genre.  I especially enjoy listening to this series as Hugh Fraser narrates it.  Considering the bit of a hint for the next chapter in their lives, I look forward to the next novel. My Ratings: Story: A Narrator: A Overall: A About the Book: Tommy and Tuppence Beresford were restless for adventure, so when they were asked to take over Blunt’s International Detective Agency, they leapt at the chance. After their triumphant recovery of a pink pearl, intriguing cases kept on coming their way: a stabbing on Sunningdale golf course; cryptic messages in the personal columns of newspapers; and even a box of poisoned...
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Mar
22

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Squirrel on the Train by Kevin Hearne

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Squirrel on the Train by Kevin Hearne Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: The Squirrel on the Train Author: Kevin Hearne Narrator: Luke Daniels Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries #2 (Iron Druid Chronicles) Source: Purchased Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries is a seriously funny series of novellas told from the point of view of Oberon the Irish Wolfhound, faithful companion to Atticus, the Iron Druid. This time around Oberon and his furry companions discover a squirrel (the most evilest of creatures) that followed the gang from their home into the city, staying on the train the whole ride. Of course, knowing the squirrel is up to no good, the dogs chase it down, leading the gang smack dab into the middle of a murder investigation. Kevin Hearne is a mad genius for coming up with such hilarious and creative adventures for Oberon and his buddies. Having the mystery shared via his POV is masterful and so much fun. Even if don’t read the Iron Druid Chronicles, I think you would find Oberon enduring. But for those familiar with this extra special wolf hound, the story is amazing. The overall mystery is interesting and ties in some surprising aspects from Atticus’s past. I love how the hounds bring their own brand of sleuthing to the case, which truly wouldn’t have been solved without them. The humor is off the charts funny. But it’s Luke Daniel’s performance that makes this clever story an absolute joy! He has such unique voices for each character, developed and honed over the course of at least a dozen stories. I love that his character voices remain distinct and intact over the course of years. I found the audiobook of The Squirrel on the Train to be a breath of fresh air and the perfect answer to this cold and snowy day. My Ratings: Story: A Narration: A+ About the Book: Oberon the Irish wolfhound is off to Portland to smell all the things with canine companions wolfhound Orlaith and Boston terrier Starbuck, and, of course, his human, ancient Druid Atticus O’Sullivan. The first complication is an unmistakable sign of sinister agendas afoot: a squirrel atop the train. But an even more ominous situation is in store when the trio plus Atticus stumble across a murder upon arrival at the station. They recognize Detective Gabriela Ibarra, who’s there to investigate. But they also recognize the body—or rather that the body is a doppelganger for Atticus himself. The police, hampered by human...
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Mar
15

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: To Catch a Stolen Soul by R.L. Naquin

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: To Catch a Stolen Soul by R.L. Naquin Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: Djinn Haven series To Catch a Stolen Soul  Author: R.L. Naquin Narrator: Chandra Skye Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Djinn Haven #1 Genre: Urban Fantasy Source: Tantor Audio I’m so glad that I picked up this new urban fantasy series, Djinn Haven.  Kam’s adventure was funny, fascinating and intriguing.  Left with a bit of a cliffhanger of intrigue, I cannot wait to listen to the next novel. Though To Catch a Stolen Soul is a spin-off from another of Ms. Naquin’s series, I did not feel as if I was missing out on any back story.  That being said, with the freshness of this world, I’m interested in picking up the previous series, Monster Haven.  The world is rich with a mix of paranormal creatures, the Hidden.  Kam is a Djinn soul chaser.  It’s her job to chase down souls that for whatever reason when released from their bodies did not move on to the next realm.  Kam is very much a free spirit, only ensuring she has what she needs.  She’s tough but tenderhearted and compassionate.  I liked how she didn’t rely on her powers as much as her own ingenuity.  Her humor and crafty intelligence is endearing as it is intriguing.  Though not a detective, she finds herself in the role and not doing a half-bad job of it. The plot of the missing reaper and murdered Hidden food-truck operators was compelling.  The darker moments offset by Kam’s wit.  The detective narrative flowed well and though the culprit was fairly easy to puzzle out, there were plenty of twisting nuances that kept the novel gripping.  Plus, we also have Kam’s mysterious intended that is trying to find her while she is trying to stay on the run.  I’m further intrigued by the “Master” that held Kam as a prisoner (think genie in a bottle – only for Kam it was a box).  The relationship she cultivates with the fellow food truck operators along with her own hitchhiker adds richness to the overall feel of the novel. Ms. Chandra Skye’s narration was complimentary to the personality of Kam.  I enjoyed how she not only conveyed the story but added depth to the personalities of the characters.  Though her voice, I was able to immerse myself in the world.  I look forward to listening to more of her performances. As I said, I eagerly look forward to the...
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Mar
7

Review: Heat Trap by JL Merrow

Review: Heat Trap by JL Merrow Heat Trap Author: JL Merrow Reviewer: B. Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Having enjoyed the first two Plumber’s Mate Mysteries a great deal, I was happy to jump into Heat Trap fairly soon after finishing the second story. And while the half-year interim in the timeline is plenty long in some ways, certain aspects of Tom’s life appear not to have progressed much at all. Granted, Tom was dealt a tremendous shock at the end of Relief Valve, but I was left feeling uncertain at times as this narrative unfolded. Tom continues to be a likable character, even though I was disappointed by some of his reactions, especially towards Phil. The two have been together for more than six months at this point, during which time they’ve exchanged both house keys and “I love you’s,” and are making plans for the near future. Rather than appearing more solid, however, it felt as if Tom’s faith in him was too easily shaken when tensions began to escalate, resulting in him keeping Phil at a distance in the process. Phil, on the other hand, I liked more than ever. While I was initially skeptical of his interest in Tom—his seeming lack of regret over his earlier treatment of Tom being a sore spot—his affections in Heat Trap are indisputable. He has the anxious, yet hopeful demeanor of someone who has already put his heart on the line unreservedly, and I couldn’t help but be firmly in Phil’s camp for most of the story. Happily, some of my other favorites are back, and better than I remembered. Darren and Gary, in particular, are delightful in their pre-wedding bliss, and I honestly would have been glad to see them turn up in even more scenes. Tom’s sister, Cherry, is also a more constant presence in his life now, and was a lot of fun when she popped up. The mystery in Heat Trap involves some noteworthy characters from Tom’s preferred pub, “The Devil’s Dyke,” and it was nice to gain more insight into their roles, as well. Overall, I had mixed feelings about Heat Trap. While I don’t think it shows Tom in an especially favorable light at times, I was thrilled with the way things seemed to be going for him and Phil by the end of the story. The mystery itself was likewise interesting, although it felt secondary to the relationship struggles Tom is trying to come to terms with....
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Feb
27

Review: Dead Eye by Alyssa Day

Review: Dead Eye by Alyssa Day Dead Eye Author: Alyssa Day Reviewer: Jen Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Tess has lived in Dead End her whole life. Although the town is no stranger to the weird and unexplained, she’s a bit of an oddball; able to see a person’s death when coming into contact with another. She runs a pawn shop, which she is now partial owner, and genuinely loves her job. Jack, a tiger shifter, has been away for ten years, leading the human resistance against vampires and working side by side with the Atlanteans. He recently discovered his uncle (and only family member), Jeremiah, was murdered, and after being back in Dead End for less than a day, another dead body is dumped at the door to his deceased uncle’s pawn shop. Now Jack is determined to figure out what’s going on. I absolutely enjoyed reading Dead Eye, the first in Ms. Day’s new Tiger’s Eye Mysteries (although the book was previously released). The story is shared by the first person POV of Tess, and features Jack, one of the heroes from the Warriors of Poseidon series. There are so many delightful surprises in this one… and not at all what I expected after reading the Warriors of Poseidon. Dead Eye is filled with light-hearted humor and has a cozy-mystery vibe. The mystery of who killed Jeremiah and what is happening in Dead End builds slowly and clues delivered sporadically. Tess and Jack do a great job of seeing the interconnected strings that tie everything together. While it’s not a surprise who did what and why by the time the master plan is revealed, it unfolds in a way that is thoughtful and interesting. Tess is a great heroine. She’s an “average Joe” (with a weird gift of being able to foresee a person’s death), who rises to the occasion. She finds courage when she doesn’t expect it. She’s kind and good, but has a wicked side when it comes to seeking vengeance against those who’ve done harm to innocents. Jack compliments her in many ways,  bolstering her and allowing her to be more. Their attraction is slow-burning but obvious to the reader. Dead Eye is a fabulous, engrossing story filled with great humor, interesting adventures, and a hint of romance that has the potential for some serious heat. I found myself cheering for Jack and Tess. I enjoyed meeting all of Dead End’s denizens, with all their quirks and flaws. The...
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