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Currently Browsing: mystery/suspense
Feb
22

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Murder’s a Witch by Danielle Garrett

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Murder’s a Witch by Danielle Garrett Welcome to our feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Murder’s a Witch Author: Danielle Garrett Narrator: Amanda Ronconi Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Beechwood Harbor Magic Mysteries #1 Genre: Paranormal Mystery Source: Tantor Audio 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...
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Feb
21

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie Welcome to our feature that focus on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: A Tommy and Tuppence Mystery The Secret Adversary Author:  Agatha Christie Narrator:  Nadia May Audio Listening Speed: 1.25x Series: Tommy and Tuppence Mystery #1 Genre: Mystery Source: Library With the release of the new Kenneth Bragnah Murder on the Orient Express movie, the nostalgia I felt over watching a remake of one of my favorite Agatha Christie mysteries has spurred me to finally read one.  All of my experiences of Agatha Christie has been via movies or very short stories.  There is something to be said to listening to a classic novel and reliving it all over again – learning something new and finding out what may have been left out of the film version.  As I wait for the more mainstream Agatha Christie mysteries (Hercule Poriot and Miss Marple) to become available at my library, I discovered a mystery series I’d never heard of – Tommy and Tuppence Mystery series.  Beautifully narrated by Nadia May, I fell in love with the antics of Tuppence and the solidarity of Tommy. Tommy and Tuppence are old friends.  They grew up together and have stayed in touch over the long years.  In their (I’d guess) mid-twenties, they are finding it difficult to maintain a good job now that the war (WWI) has ended.  As they catch up since their last meeting, they decide to start the New Adventures Limited – where they would advertise that they would do anything if the price is right.  Before they are even able to put their advertisement in the Times, a gentleman overhears and offers Tuppence a job.  Thus begins their first gig in their new entrepreneurial endeavor. Tuppence was a breath of fresh air.  I enjoyed her plucky optimism and exuberant spirit.  She balances the more cautious and thorough nature of Tommy.  However, they are both exceedingly bright and clever.  Tommy is exceedingly quick witted and was surprisingly quick when sleuthing out clues or trying to escape the henchmen.  Tuppence is dogged and determined, willing to do anything to sleuth out the clues.  It was delightful to follow their bumbling through this case of murder, espionage, and potential political upheaval.  All woven intricately by the mysterious “Mr. Brown”, an elusive character not unlike Keyser Soze who seems to be the puppet master at the center of this web of deceit.  With the addition of several other characters, Ms. Christie did an excellent job...
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Feb
15

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Twinkle Little Star by Lee Strauss

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Twinkle Little Star by Lee Strauss Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: Nursery Rhyme Suspense series Twinkle Little Star Author:  Lee Strauss Narrators:  Reba Buhr & Roger Wayne Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Nursery Rhyme Suspense #4 Genre: Mystery/Suspense with sci-fi elements, New Adult Source: Tantor Audio Twinkle Little Star is another gripping thriller in the Nursery Rhyme Suspense series.  I continue to truly enjoy this sci-fi mystery series as I never know what to expect next. Just when you think everything has gone back to normal…well as normal as it can be for Sage realizing too late she is in love with Marlow, that school and life move on even when you are still mourning your best friend’s death, and your roommate isn’t the bestie she acts like.  Then Sage accidentally kills another student.  She was driving (while a bit emotional) and a woman just suddenly appears in front of her car.  As Marlow arrives on the scene shortly after with Sage’s brother, he discovers that this is not a straight forward case of vehicular manslaughter.  Picking up what he thought was Sage’s phone; he is transported to another location. After glimpsing someone in the shadows he is suddenly back at the scene of the accident.  Was this woman accidentally sent to the wrong location at the wrong time or is something more sinister going on? I am again surprised at how quickly I inhaled the latest Nursery Rhyme Suspense story.  Marlow and Sage’s geeky interests and intellectual endeavors are charmingly addictive.  The competition for the New Scientists Innovation Award was a fascinating element to the plot.  I enjoyed how it brought Marlow and Sage back together and highlighted the tension between Marlow and Dakota’s new relationship.  Marlow brining his father into the mystery revealed even more secrets and reasons behind the connection Sage and Marlow seem to have.  I really enjoyed how the plot flowed and twisted as the mystery was solved but more questions came to light. I continue to enjoy the dual narrators and can’t imagine listening to this story without them.  They are becoming the true voices of Marlow and Sage.  The personality of the characters as well as the inflections they provide in their performance assists in bringing Twinkle Little Star to life.  In many ways, I feel that this series should only be heard rather than read.  Both narrators continue to expand and bring this rich and intriguing world to life. I...
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Jan
18

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Hickory Dickory Dock by Lee Strauss

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Hickory Dickory Dock by Lee Strauss Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: Nursery Rhyme Suspense series Hickory Dickory Dock Author:  Lee Strauss Narrators:  Reba Buhr & Roger Wayne Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Nursery Rhyme Suspense #3 Genre: Mystery with sci-fi elements, New Adult Source: Tantor Audio Hickory Dickory Dock is another gripping thriller in the Nursery Rhyme Suspense series.  I continue to truly enjoy this sci-fi mystery series. After the events of the previous book, Life is But a Dream, I wasn’t sure what to expect next.  Following Sage and Marlow on their summer break wasn’t it.  However, geeks will be geeks and as Sage continued to work on her mathematical theory she finally breaks through.  In trying to consult Marlow about this latest amazing discovery, she inserts herself between Marlow and his burgeoning romance with Dakota.  Though Marlow tries to keep his distance from Sage out of respect for Dakota, all bets are off once he witnesses a murder through Sage’s “window”. I enjoyed that we learned more about Sage and her family as well as Marlow’s.  There were quite a few discoveries, and I liked how it’s obvious their families have had an effect on them (good and not-so-good).  Marlow’s relationship with his mom is bittersweet and the discoveries made in this novel help him to heal.  With Sage’s interference, I’m not sure how Dakota and Marlow will be able to move on, but there is hope.  However, it is sad to note that Sage is feeling a bit of regret in not pursuing something with Marlow, but I liked how she is willing to let it go and work at being friends with Dakota. The future murder mystery Marlow and Sage fall into is utterly gripping.  It was fascinating how far our world had fallen and how plausible the downfall of the United States was.  I was utterly gripped by the dystopian world that Marlow and Sage found themselves in – though how the mathematical equation could equate to a window into the future still baffles me.  However, I can easily ignore it as I was consumed by trying to figure out who the murder was as well as how they were going to get back to their own time.  It truly felt like a race against the clock. I continue to enjoy the dual narrators and can’t imagine listening to this story without them.  They are becoming the true voices of Marlow and Sage. ...
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Jan
17

Review: Trick Roller by Cordelia Kingsbridge

Review: Trick Roller by Cordelia Kingsbridge Trick Roller Author: Cordelia Kingsbridge Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Three months after the Seven of Spades went to ground, Levi Abrams and Dominic Russo have made a lot of progress—professionally as well as personally. Dominic is training to be a private investigator, while Levi has his own apartment and is ready to put his last long-term relationship behind him for good. Best of all, though it’s still early, both men have begun thinking about a future together. But, with shadows from the past starting to gather, and a serial killer biding their time, Dominic and Levi discover that the real test is just beginning. After having enjoyed Kill Game, the first novel in the Seven of Spades series, as much as I did, I was really excited to jump into the second so soon. While there are some significant differences between the two stories, I found Trick Roller to be just as intriguing. This time, the Seven of Spades is a dormant factor for a good bit of the narrative—although we’re reminded throughout that they’re still out there waiting to pull the strings again—allowing us to get to know Levi and Dominic more comprehensively, including their triggers and tipping points, as well as some of the things that haunt them. Dominic and Levi’s journey from “enemies to lovers” has evolved into something much deeper by this point, as well. Though the heat between the two was evident before, it was tempered by their respective situations and a mutual agreement to “take things slow” in the wake of the abrupt demise of Levi’s last relationship. In Trick Roller, they not only dive headlong into the sexual attraction that’s been tempting them, but each has begun turning to the other for help and comfort above anyone else. I especially liked that they know which tells to look for before things go really wrong and are willing to intercede—even physically, if necessary—to keep one another from self-destructing. Compatibility between the two main characters aside, Trick Roller still has lots of suspense and crime-solving to maintain the story’s balance. Between a truly loathsome murder victim, blackmail, infidelity, robberies, false accusations, etc. there’s plenty of badness to keep Levi and Dominic busy at their day jobs. Add in the “independent investigation” they’re both doing on the Seven of Spades, and the plot advances at a pace that kept me reading well past when I’d planned to stop for a break....
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Jan
3

Review: Pressure Head by JL Merrow

Review: Pressure Head by JL Merrow Pressure Head Author: JL Merrow Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: I was immediately curious about Pressure Head based on the premise alone: a plumber who has an affinity for water, uses his “gift” that causes him to be drawn to “hidden things” to find clues—and dead people. Tom won me over quickly, his funny (and often snarky) observations combining with his inability to keep himself out of trouble to make him a generally lovable character. As the sole narrator, his perspective did a lot to counter the more significant issues that I had with the other MC, Phil, and trusting Tom with his own choices made the romantic aspects of the story easier to accept as the narrative progressed. Despite such an intriguing framework and Tom’s winning personality, I never felt the same for Phil. While it is absolutely true that people change, and that Phil was right to apologize for his role in the worst parts of Tom’s past, his “second chance” got off to a bad start for me, some of those negative traits seeming to have stuck with him into adulthood. He is at once dismissive and controlling, and engages in some victim blaming that didn’t endear him to me. I understand the likely intent, though—we have to do better collectively to accept others as they are. I did like Phil more by the midway point, however, and it’s hinted that we’ll learn more about him in the future, which I’d like to see. Something that I enjoyed tremendously about Pressure Head was the cast of secondary characters, Tom’s best friend Gary and his new boyfriend Darren, most especially. These two are among my favorite characters ever, I think, and I was delighted each time they made an appearance—particularly during their post-service discussion outside a local church. Others, including Edith and Pip, also threatened to steal every scene they’re in, and allow Tom to shine even more as an incorrigibly charming flirt. And although theirs isn’t a comedic presence, Merry the vicar and Graham Carter are differently powerful entities that left a strong impression in their own right. Of course, the cats—Arthur and Merlin—have to be given their due, as well. What Pressure Head lacked in romance it made up for in the whodunit itself. It’s a mystery, after all, and Merrow serves up a good one here. Not overly complex, it doesn’t try too hard while being highly entertaining at the same...
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Dec
28

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Life is But a Dream by Lee Strauss

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Life is But a Dream by Lee Strauss Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: Nursery Rhyme Suspense series Life is But a Dream Author:  Lee Strauss Narrators:  Reba Buhr & Roger Wayne Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Nursery Rhyme Suspense #2 Genre: Mystery with sci-fi elements, New Adult Source: Tantor Audio I was eagerly waiting to see what happened next with Marlow and Sage.  Life is But a Dream was just as fascinating, gripping, and alluring as The Gingerbread Man.  This Nursery Rhyme Suspense series is one I’m glad to have picked up. The novel begins four months after the previous book.  Sage is still not coping well to the death of Tegan.  However, in an effort to assuage her brother’s concerns, she attends a support group for those suffering from depression.  But that is not the only thing she is struggling with: she has started having strange dreams that include Marlow – the geeky boy she barely met one night after Tegan died.  The worst though is when the drowning nightmares start and begin to come true in reality. I am enjoying these science fiction bending mysteries. After the alternate universes in the previous novel, I was interested in seeing what would happen in this novel.  Ms. Strauss does an excellent job of misdirection while leading us to who, the why, and the how.  Still it is a bit “out-there” but this X-Files-esque mystery is gripping and entertaining.  The dream connection between Marlow and Sage is fascinating.  Though we never truly understand why, it is interesting to wonder how it started and by whom.  I secretly suspect that more than just reality jumping occurred for Marlow, he had to be touched and altered in some way by his experiences in the previous novel.  Maybe this ability to connect in the dreamscape is one of them? Another aspect I enjoy is the romantic tension between Marlow and Sage.  There is no denying the attraction between them, though like many young adults/new adults, the timing isn’t right.  Not to mention that Marlow is the nice guy…and nice guys do not finish well when the lady in question is young and idealistic.  Over the course of the story, I enjoyed how close Marlow and Sage become and yet the distance that is created.  I’m curious as to see what happens next in their burgeoning relationship. The dual narrators continue to strengthen and enhance the novel.  Though we have more than just Marlow and...
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Dec
26

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards Today we have a special #audiobook review. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: One Was Lost Author:  Natalie D. Richards Narrator:  Vanessa Johansson Audio Listening Speed: 1.25x Series: Standalone Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Young Adult Source: Tantor Audio One Was Lost is a very gripping thriller-suspense mystery with a hint of romance.  I enjoyed this chilling tale, enhanced by the narration. Sera is a high school senior who signs up for a fun hiking/camping trip.  This is a mandatory requirement for seniors, they must complete a “mission.”  It varies from working at a homeless shelter to this wilderness trip.  Sera is talked into the trip by the school’s organizer, a teacher named Mr. Walker.  Six students and Ms. Brighton (another teacher) make up the group.  However, right at the beginning of the trip, the group is split while trying to cross a river during a storm.  Mr. Walker along with Sera, Lucas, Jude, and Emily are able to cross while Ms. Brighton and two other students are left on the other side.  They decide to camp for the night and reconnoiter in the morning.  However the morning brings a ravaged camp, a seriously ill Mr. Walker, and a strange tattoo on each of the students: Damaged, Deceptive, Dangerous, and Darling. One Was Lost is entirely told from Sera’s perspective.  When she wakes the next morning with her belongings missing or destroyed and the word “Darling” on her arm, Sera thinks it is some strange prank.  She doesn’t realize that it is the first strike in the countdown.  It doesn’t help that Sera does not know the other people in her group well, except for maybe Lucas.  Her brief romantic interlude with him has left her cold.  She fears romance and love ever since her mother fell in love with someone else, leaving her and her father.  Lucas is tattooed with “Dangerous” which furthers Sera’s distrust.  Yet, Sera wants to try to figure out not only how to get out of the wilderness, but also who is seemly hunting them and why. I was thoroughly engrossed in this young adult thriller/mystery suspense.  The little bit of romance sprinkled in added depth and help to keep Sera off-balance.  I enjoyed the twists and turns in the plot.  The story is far more complicated than it seems and though there are plenty of clues, it was not easy for me to figure out until the end.  Though the story is indicative of some other lost in the...
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Dec
21

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Gingerbread Man by Lee Strauss

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Gingerbread Man by Lee Strauss Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: Nursery Rhyme Suspense series Gingerbread Man Author:  Lee Strauss Narrators:  Reba Buhr & Roger Wayne Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Nursery Rhyme Suspense #1 Genre: Mystery with sci-fi elements, New Adult Source: Tantor Audio On a whim, I picked up Gingerbread Man, the first book in the Nursery Rhyme Suspense series.  I was intrigued by the premise and was not disappointed! The story is a mix of a detective drama/mystery and a bit of science fiction to it.  It reminds me a bit of the movie Frequency or maybe The Lakehouse.  That being said, it was reminiscent but truly a unique tale.  Without giving anything away, Marlow is tested as he works to discover what is going on and who the killer is.  Teaming up with Sage, the roommate of his online crush, they race the clock as they try to stop a serial killer. It’s difficult to discuss the novel without giving anything away.  However, I really enjoyed the dual narrators.  With the way the plot twisted and turned, it really helped to have two narrators to convey which point of view is being expressed (as it switches), as well as helping to anchor the plot.  It was especially helpful as I got a little confused at first (along with Marlow) when his online date showed up after being murdered.  The dual narrators added a depth to the story and enhanced my enjoyment as the plot wove itself around. I was fascinated by this thrilling novel.  I enjoyed the mix of science fiction elements blended with this young adult suspense. Though, technically only one murder is solved, I wonder what happens next. It is also interesting to see what will happen, if anything between Marlow and Sage. I eagerly look forward to listening to the next novel in this series. My Ratings: Story: B+ Narration: A Overall: A- About the Book: When that cute chick you met online is murdered – but shows up for your next internet meeting anyway. Marlow’s just a regular geeky college freshman with little to no experience with girls, so when he has a semi-flirtatious chat with a cute girl online, it’s almost more than his nerves can handle. Then the girl is brutally murdered. Or is she? Marlow finds himself teamed up with intelligent and savvy Sage Farrell, a girl so far out of his league he feels blinded in her presence...
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Oct
19

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Familiar Motives by Delia James

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Familiar Motives by Delia James Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: Witch’s Cat Mysteries Familiar Motives Author: Delia James Narrator: Elise Arsenault Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Witch’s Cat Mystery #3 Genre: Urban Fantasy / Cozy Mystery Source: Tantor Audio I continue to enjoy the Witch’s Cat Mystery series.  The combination of Ms. James’s words and Ms. Arsenault’s voice create a delightful Mystery audiobook a la Hallmark. This latest whodunit was gripping and fun. Though I’m starting to fear that Anna is a long lost relative of Mrs. Fletcher and no one should want to be near her (okay, this horribly dates me but I loved Murder She Wrote as a child), Anna’s genuine kindness more than makes up for the murders that seem to occur around her.  In this book, Anna’s veterinarian is unfortunately murdered while cat-sitting the town’s famous feline: Ruby (aka Attitude Cat), the spokes-cat for the Best Pet Store cat food, treats, toys etc. line.  Unfortunately Anna and her friend (and fellow coven sister) Kenisha find Ramona’s body but are unable to find Ruby.  Between Ruby’s owners bitter custody battle, Attitude Cat’s publicist’s strange behavior, and Ramona’s own witch family’s strangeness, it was a guess who was the murderer and why. I enjoyed how the story twisted and turned.  Though I was able to narrow down the why, the exact who was a surprise for me this time.  I liked how Anna was better at following rules and being safe during this investigation.  It was fascinating to watch and learn how difficult it is for Kenisha to be both a witch and a police officer.  She has to toe the line between the unexplainable truth and proof in the court of law.  I felt Anna was better at keeping her feet on both sides of the line and ensuring that Kenisha wasn’t left on the sidelines by the coven.  The relationships of the women are just as strong an element in this series as the clues.  It all contributes to the coziness of this mystery series.  Not to mention the slow burning romance between Anna and a certain young bartender. I feel that no one but Ms. Arsenault could narrate this series.  Her voices and personality truly bring the characters (both human and furry) and this world in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to life.  I enjoy the audio so much, I prefer to listen to this series, rather than read it. I eagerly look forward to the...
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