Review: Red-tailed Hawk by Nancy Schoellkopf

 

 

Book Description:

 

When Mariah Easter encounters a large hawk in her urban midtown neighborhood, her father Charlie is concerned. He can see a wild and mystical path opening before his daughter, a path he himself would never be able to resist. The hawk soon reappears: engraved with its twin on a golden thimble that has been an Easter family heirloom for generations. After the thimble is stolen at a funeral reception, Mariah and her mother Samantha set off on a road trip to find it, a journey that will bring healing to the grieving family and change Mariah’s life forever.

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Review: This Bitter Treasure by S. W. Hubbard (Audio)

S. W. Hubbard: This Bitter Treasure (Palmyrton Estate Sale Mysteries #3); Narrator: Janelle Tedesco; audible, 8:39h; $19.95

Synopsis (taken from cover):

 

A dying invalid…a house full of treasures…a family haunted by tragedy.

Mystery and heartbreak await estate sale organizer Audrey Nealon when she accepts a lucrative new job in a posh New Jersey town. Eager to settle their mother’s estate and close the door on their elegant family home, the Eskew children hire Audrey to run an estate sale as their mother lies dying, tended by a home health aide. Every day Audrey works in the house, she discovers another valuable artwork and another family secret. How did the adored oldest son die? What’s wrong with the strange younger sister? Who is making off with rare books, antique silver, and vintage ball gowns? Most of all, how reliable are the dying woman’s deathbed ramblings?

As Audrey learns about the Eskew family’s tortured past, she’s forced to confront her own feelings about marriage and children. And when a murderer strikes, Audrey’s sense of justice compels her to defend the defenseless, no matter the risk to herself. Fans of Ninie Hammon and C. J. Lyons will enjoy this twist-ending mystery with a strong female sleuth and plenty of antiques, dogs, and humor.

My thoughts:

I had already listened to the first two books in that series, and I keenly awaited the launch of tome 3. Two days ago, I got a free copy for review. Of course I had to listen to it immediately, my other audio books took a back seat for the duration. 🙂

What can I say: I loved it just as much as the first two sequels. The story is firmly rooted in today’s society, with all the problems we are confronted with on a daily basis. There are lots of references to current events in this book, and the problems mentioned are  certainly a reality for a lot of  people. I’ve mentioned it in my previous reviews, but it needs to be said again: I totally love the language. It is so refreshingly ’normal‘, which is one huge factor in making the characters and the story so very convincing. Plus: there is no foul language, no swearing of any kind– it’s like a holiday, because lots of authors seem to think that their stories are more authentic if they use a lot of swearing. Let me tell you: swearing and foul language don’t add any authenticity to a story, at least not in the world I live in. I don’t know anybody who swears a lot, and I don’t want to, either.

This is why I really appreciate the Palmyrton Estate Sale Mysteries: they’re great suspense, convincing and authentic without swearing.

The budding romance between Sean and Audrey has gone up a step, they are committed now, and again, the story convinces without describing any sex scenes ( which really is another beef I have with lots of other stories, where I’m regaled with detailed sexual encounters between the main characters. Again: this is not necessary to make the reader part of a romance. We  all have our imagination and I for one don’t need those page fillers. They’re usually ridiculous and boring and make me wish I could skim the audio book the way I would skim a print).

The Palmyrton Estate Sale Mysteries series is a great example of wonderful story telling: the characters, the language, the mystery, the wit and humour: all make this an absolutely enjoyable story.

Janelle Tedesco again excels in narrating the story. Not only does she manage to give each character a distinctive voice, her accent and convincing speech impediment (when narrating Audrey’s father) are masterfully done. I was so engrossed that I had to chide myself and to deliberately switch the audio off in order to get some much needed sleep. It is a ‚page turner‘, and I sincerely hope there’ll be more sequels, cause the characters feel like good friends.

 

 

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Photo von Pixabay

Der folgende Beitrag schlummert seit nunmehr fast zwei Jahren als Entwurf in meinem Blog. Kaum zu glauben, aber aus irgendeinem Grund habe ich ihn nie fertiggestellt. Inzwischen wusste ich schon gar nicht mehr, was ich damals so gelesen, beziehungsweise gehört habe.

Mittlerweile höre ich deutlich mehr audible Hörbücher als die kostenlosen von Librivox, aber auf meinem PC schlummern noch so einige, die ich vor Ewigkeiten runter geladen habe…

Nun denn, hier der Post von damals (das Ganze ist eigentlich hauptsächlich dazu da, eine neue App auszuprobieren, die dieses irgendwie auf Twitter posten soll).

 

Jetzt ist es schon wieder ewig her, dass ich hier was geschrieben habe — aber die nächsten Leserunden stehen in den Startlöchern, also wird es bald wieder die eine oder andere Rezension geben.

 

Ich habe sehr viel Literatur konsumiert, aber ich verzettele mich gerne, und schaffe es nicht, die Übersicht zu behalten.

Ich habe wieder sehr viele Hörbücher gehört, die meisten auf englisch, wie gewohnt.

Dabei habe ich ein paar AutorInnen entdeckt, wie zum Beispiel Anna Katharine Green, und Fergus Hume.

Zudem habe ich eine Geschichte gehört, die von Werwölfen handelt — was witzig ist, da ich nicht so wirklich was mit Werwölfen und Vampiren anfangen kann, aber ich wusste nicht, um was es geht, ich dachte es sei ein Mystery Roman. Das Buch war ganz nett, aber der Leser hatte so einen starken (amerikanischen) Akzent, dass ich Mühe hatte, dem Ganzen zu folgen.

 

Dafür höre ich momentan gerade einen Klassiker: Treasure Island (Die Schatzinsel) von Robert Louis Stevenson.

Da habe ich keinerlei Verständnisschwierigkeiten. Außerdem habe ich mal in eins von Humes Büchern reingehört und mir prompt ein Programm runtergeladen, mit dem ich die Geschwindigkeit und Tonlage ändern kann. Die Leserin rattert es derartig schnell runter, dass es nicht so wirklich ein Vergnügen ist, zuzuhören*.

 

 

*Ich kann mich nicht mehr erinnern, was das für ein Programm war, aber audacity ist perfekt für solche Änderungen.

 

In nächster Zeit werde ich fast nicht zum Lesen kommen, da mein Umzug bevorsteht und ich packen muss, und dann dauert es natürlich, bis Internet vorhanden ist. Bis zu sechs Wochen, glaube ich. Wenn ich diese Woche noch rauskriege, wie man Buffer benutzt, wird es eventuell den einen oder anderen Tweet geben ohne dass ich online bin. Drückt die Daumen.

Review: Yellow-billed Magpie by Nancy Schoellkopf

Nancy Schoellkopf: Yellow-billed Magpie; Butterfly Tree Productions, 204 p.,

Book Description for Yellow-billed Magpie:

 

Unlike their black-billed cousins, yellow-billed magpies are rarely found outside California’s central valley. So when they begin showing up in Samantha O’Malley’s dreams, she wonders: are they calling me home?

 

Disappointed by failed fertility treatments and the break-up of her marriage, Samantha returns to her home town and slips into old habits, resuming her teaching career, even hooking up with an old lover. But she also renews her friendship with Craig, the school custodian she honors as her spiritual guide. The work they do together with Samantha’s special education students will lead her to discoveries she never thought possible.

 

Yellow-billed Magpie is a love story, a spiritual journey, a quest to look beyond appearances to the mystical rhythms that guide the human heart.

 

Buy the book:   Amazon  ~  Add to Goodreads

My thoughts:

When I browsed the iread book tours for available books, I came across Red-tailed Hawk by Nancy Schoellkopf. The synopsis sounded interesting, and since it was hinted that, though not a sequel, it was in a way related to Yellow-billed Magpie, I decided, to review this, too.

Now, I’m not into this whole esoteric business, and I haven’t actually researched spirituality, but  the latter fascinates me. I read Mutant Message Down Under all those years ago, and I devoured the Inspector Shan Tao Yun novels. All describe spiritual peoples of a very different origin, and I’m awed by this.

In Yellow-billed Magpie, there is yet another form of spirituality described, and although I cannot really comprehend it, it is yet fascinating. I couldn’t find out on which people’s spirituality the one in the book is based on, my feeling was, that it was a mixture of various.

The spiritual journey Samantha does, isn’t lying at the fore for a long time. The main story is about her trying to pick up her life where she left it before her marriage, and how she is coping.

We get glimpses of something indefinable throughout the book, but it is only when Craig appears on the scene that things start to take shape.

I have to admit, that although I’m convinced that there are more things between heaven and earth than we can explain scientifically, I couldn’t quite buy into some of the things described here. This may be due to my lack of religious belief on the one hand, and ignorance of the whole matter on the other hand. However, this being fiction, I am willing to accept it, because I have no problems accepting lots of  impossible (to me) things in fantasy and science fiction novels.

On the whole, this was a nice story about a woman finding her way after having lived through some unhappy years, and glimpses into the work with children with special needs to boot.

The language is simple and very readable, the book could do with some editing, though, there are missing or wrong words and punctuation.

Disclosure: Thanks to iread book tours for sending me this book for review. I was not told how to rate or review this product.

 About the author:

Nancy Schoellkopf is the author of Yellow-billed Magpie, the first in her Easter Family series. Nancy has been telling stories and writing poems for many lifetimes. It goes without saying that she’d need a second income, so this time around she has happily taught amazing children in special education classes in two urban school districts in Sacramento, California. A full time writer now, she enjoys lavishing attention on her cats, her garden, and her intriguing circle of family and friends.

 

Connect with the author:    Website  ~   Twitter  ~   Facebook

Review: Dawn of Wonder – The Awakening by Jonathan Renshaw

Jonathan Renshaw: Dawn of Wonder – The Awakening; narrator: Tim Gerard Reynolds, Podium Publishing (audible); 29:36h,

Synopsis (taken from book cover):

 

When a high-ranking officer gallops into the quiet Mistyvales, he brings a warning that shakes the countryfolk to their roots. But for Aedan, a scruffy young adventurer with veins full of fire and a head full of ideas, this officer is not what he seems. The events that follow propel Aedan on a journey that only the foolhardy or desperate would risk, leading him to the gates of the nation’s royal academy – a whole world of secrets in itself.

But this is only the beginning of his discoveries. Something is stirring in the land, something more ominous than the rising threat of hostile nations. Fearful travelers whisper of an ancient power breathing over Thirna, changing it, waking it. In the very heart of these stirrings, Aedan encounters that which defies belief, leaving him speechless with terror – and wonder.

My thoughts:

Usually, I subtract one star if a story isn’t finished, and this absolutely needs a sequel, but it was such a great story that I deviate from my own rule.

It’s a powerful story about all sorts of things, and although there is a war in the making, something else seems to be happening, too, as the title says.

We don’t know what it is, but it could be something grand, not disastrous.
It’s one of the rare fantasy novels where no magic is involved, and none is needed.
What is needed is training, perseverance, and skills.
I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in Aedan’s education, his struggles, his weaknesses, and his strengths — and at times I could have shaken him — then again, his friends were there to help him do the right things.
Aedan is a strategic mastermind, but has to learn that theory and practice are very different.

I love the idea that the education doesn’t just comprise weapon skills, but all other aspects, too, be they boring or not.
I like the idea of getting to know not only different languages, but cultures and traditions, too. This should be mandatory for every school, imo, maybe then there wouldn’t be so much war and hatred in this world, most of which is based on ignorance.
Aedan has to overcome his hatred and prejudices in order to learn about his enemies, and I hope I won’t have to wait for a whole year or longer to find out how he’ll cope.

Tim Gerard Reynolds does another perfect job at narrating this story. When listening to him, I’m really deep into the story and out of this world.
He was the perfect choice for the book, and I hope he’ll be commissioned to narrate any sequel.