Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: By Familiar Means by Delia James

Posted July 27, 2017 by Una in Listen Up!, Mystery-Suspense Fiction, Rating A, Urban Fantasy Tags: , , , ,

Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to…


Audiobook Reviews: Witch’s Cat Mysteries

By Familiar Means
Author: Delia James
Narrator: Elise Arsenault
Audio Listening Speed: 1x
Series: Witch’s Cat Mystery #2
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Cozy Mystery
Source: Tantor Audio

By Familiar Means is another delightful read in the Witch’s Mystery Cat series.  I enjoyed the continuing journey of Anna as she learns more about her heritage, her abilities and the community of Portsmouth.

The novel begins a few weeks after the conclusion of the previous novel, A Familiar Tail.  Anna is settling into the house she is renting along with the coven of Portsmouth.  She is excited that her Grandma BB is coming to visit her.  What makes this so momentous is that her Grandma hasn’t been back to her home town since she left during a town-wide feud.  As Anna is looking forward to this visit, she is also looking forward to a new job painting murals at a new coffee shop in town. However, as things did in the previous book, things do not quite go as Anna anticipates.

I love how much Grandma BB brought to the humor and character development of Anna.  It was fascinating to watch old wounds begin to heal and people come together.  Anna has a truly unique group of friends around her in Portsmouth.  I especially enjoyed seeing that Alastair has friends of his own as well.  The little bit of romantic thread that is developing is also a delightful side element to the overall story.  I’m really enjoying following Anna. She is a caring and vibrant character and I look forward to watching her grow in Portsmouth.

Though like the previous novel, the “who” of the “who-dun-it” was simple to figure out, there were other twists that added to the revealing of motive and such.  I really enjoyed how Anna investigated this one; not quite as reckless as before, but just as impulsive.  It was interesting that the magic can and does seem to affect Anna, possibly increasing her impulsiveness.  There are several different threads being woven nicely together; the mystery, the family/friends drama, the romance, and Anna’s own growth in her heritage.  I find this series absolutely enchanting and enjoyable.  I now understand the term cozy mystery.  Again, it’s something I can enjoy without worrying about my kids listening with me in the car.

I enjoyed Ms. Arsenault’s performance a little more this time around.  It could be that she was just a new voice in my head last time, but in some ways I felt I heard a little more distinction between the voices.  She continues to do a great job of bringing Alastair’s limited vocabulary to life.  I enjoy the emotion she conveys as she narrates.  I look forward to her narrating the next book.

The Witch’s Cat Mysteries continues to be a delightful and enchanting series to listen to.  I enjoy the bumbling of Anna as she gets herself drawn into these small town mysteries.  The supporting characters are each unique and add richly to the world.  Ms. Arsenault’s performance felt stronger and I enjoyed the way she brought the novel to life.  I eagerly look forward to the next book in audio format.

My Ratings:

Story: A-, Enjoyed A Lot
Narration: A-, Enjoyed A Lot
Overall: A-, Enjoyed A Lot

About the Book:

After discovering her mystical heritage – and being adopted by furry feline familiar Alistair – artist Annabelle Britton has decided to make picturesque Portsmouth, New Hampshire, her new home. Now she can take the time to figure out her new abilities and welcome her grandmother, who is visiting Portsmouth, and her old coven, for the first time in 30 years.

But being a witch doesn’t magically put money in the bank. When she’s hired to paint the murals for a new coffeehouse, it seems like a wish come true. But then a series of spooky sounds and strange happenings convince the owners that their new shop is haunted. They want Anna and her coven to evict the restless spirit before the grand opening.

Annabelle is certain the haunted happenings at the shop are just hocus pocus. But when her search reveals hidden smugglers’ tunnels beneath the shop – and a dead body – Annabelle, Alastair, and the coven suddenly find themselves in a cat-and-mouse game with a killer….