Review: Lisa B.Thomas: Sharpe Shooter (Maycroft Mystery #1) – Audio

Lisa B. Thomas: Sharpe Shooter, narrator: Madeline Mrozek, 5:18h, audible audio

Synopsis: When Deena Sharpe loses her job as a teacher, she intends to get back to being a journalist — but that isn’t as easy as she imagined. Luckily for her, a deputy discovers the body of a cold case, and it turns out that the murdered man is her long lost uncle. Her family asks her to find out what happened to her uncle 50 years ago, and so Deena sets out to solve the mystery. A well-known author has his own theory, but Deena isn’t happy with his suggestions. And so a race for the wanted outcome begins.

What I think:

Sharpe Shooter is the first sequel in the Maycroft Mystery Series, and the first cozy mystery novel by Lisa B. Thomas that I listened to.
Madeline Mrozek did a perfect job with the narration, and I absolutely enjoyed the story. The characters were convincing, as was the story. I liked the way our heroine, Deena Sharpe, went about solving this very (c)old case. I like the fact that there is a loving and caring family, even if not all family members see eye to eye.

I love the conspiracy theory which is thrown into the bargain by another party.
The story is well written, and I’m curious about the next case.
It’s a clean story with lots of twists and turns which kept my attention throughout.
I like a good mystery story, and this one easily compares to other good mysteries I listened to.
I received this audiobook at no-cost from Audiobookworm Promotions. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Rezension: Dinah Jefferies: Die Tochter des Seidenhändlers

Dinah Jefferies: Die Tochter des Seidenhändlers (orig: The Silk Merchant’s Daughter), übersetzt von Angela Koonen; Bastei Lübbe; broschiert, 416 S., 15€

Inhalt:

Vietnam in den 1950er Jahren:
Nicole, Tochter eines französischen Vaters und einer (toten) vietnamesischen Mutter, ist gerade 18 geworden. Sie bekommt einen kleinen Seidenladen, während ihre fünf Jahre ältere Schwester Sylvie komplett in das Familiengeschäft eingebunden wird.
Nicole verliebt sich, aber durch den Krieg der Vietminh gegen die französischen Besatzer weiß sie bald nicht mehr, wem sie trauen kann, und auf welcher Seite sie steht.

Meine Meinung:

Mit ‚Die Tochter des Seidenhändlers‘ ist Dinah Jefferies ein faszinierender Roman gelungen. Über die Zeit der französischen Besetzung Vietnams war mir vorher nichts bekannt, und so war ich dann sehr gespannt auf das Buch. Ich wurde nicht enttäuscht. Man erfährt einiges über die Kultur Vietnams, sowie darüber, wie es zu der Teilung des Landes überhaupt kommen konnte. Wie in so vielen anderen Ländern, beginnen die politischen Unruhen und Kämpfe damit, dass die Ureinwohner endlich die Fesseln der Besatzer abschütteln wollen. Natürlich stellt das eine Zerreißprobe dar, denn inzwischen gibt es viele Familien, die gemischt sind. So auch Nicole: über ihre vietnamesischen Wurzeln weiß sie praktisch nichts, lernt aber nach und nach, dass es neben der französischen auch eine vietnamesische Seite in ihr gibt, und sie muss sich entscheiden, wo sie hingehört.
Natürlich ist das nicht leicht, sie sieht die Fehler und Grausamkeiten beider Seiten.
Dass nichts nur schwarz oder nur weiß dargestellt wurde, betrachte ich als eine große Stärke des Romans. Entsprechend hin- und hergerissen ist Nicole auch. Sie fühlt sich zu keiner Seite 100% zugehörig, und wird von keiner Seite vollkommen akzeptiert.
Irgendwie muss sie ihren Weg in diesem zerrissenen Land finden, und das ist nicht leicht.

Die ersten beiden Drittel des Buches waren sehr spannend und anschaulich beschrieben, im letzten Drittel war die Luft jedoch raus.
Die Charaktere bleiben recht farblos, und Nicole bleibt trotz allem, was sie erlebt hat, sehr vertrauensselig und naiv. Das konnte mich nicht richtig überzeugen. Allerdings waren die Umstände sehr schwierig, so dass ich ihre Entscheidungen nicht gänzlich unverständlich fand. Die Absätze erscheinen zum Teil recht übergangslos, was abgehackt wird und den Lesefluss unterbricht.
Schön ist der kurze historische Abriss am Ende des Buches, welcher dabei hilft, die Geschehnisse zeitlich einzuordnen.
Insgesamt ein sehr lesenswerter historischer Roman, wenngleich ich mir gewünscht hätte, dass die Charaktere besser herausgearbeitet worden wären.

Vielen Dank an Bastei Lübbe für das Rezensionsexemplar und die Leserunde.

Review: Medicine for the Dead by Ambrose Ibsen (audio)

Medicine for the Dead by Ambrose Ibsen, narrated by Jake Urry, Ambrose Ibsen; audible: 5:32h

Synopsis:

Harlan Ulrich seems out of luck, but then he meets a former high school pal who offers him free lodging for a week in Exeter House. All Harlan is supposed to do, is doing a couple of rounds through the still empty house, which is being renovated, to make sure that no squatters ruin the place.

Harlan moves into the model apartment which is fully furbished, and he thinks himself in heaven — until strange things happen. Harlan soon feels threatened, and although he tries hard, there is no logical explanation for the goings-on in the house come night.

With nowhere else to go at such short notice, Harlan decides to figure out what is happening, and faces the evil spirits.

 

My thoughts:

I already thought The Sick House (The Ulrich Files #1) was creepy, but I was glad that I listened to about half of Medicine for the Dead in plain daylight!*

And then I made a mistake: I did what is my habit: I went to bed, listening to the book. And naturally, I couldn’t fall asleep. The story is super creepy, and I’m not just referring to the ghosts, or apparition, spirits or just visions — the things happening in real are what took my breath away and kept me from falling asleep. Oh, my, Harlan! There was absolutely no chance to fall asleep, or even stop listening until I knew the outcome! Let me give you one advice: don’t listen (or read) this book in bed! Jake Urry’s narration adds greatly to the effect, the creepy atmosphere, the terror Ulrich feels. It’s once again an excellent narration, transferring all the horror directly into your head. Well,maybe I’m especially susceptible, I don’t know. However, I think there’s an inherit fear of all things unknown and/or inexplicable in each of us, and Ambrose Ibsen’s story appeals to that fear — while Jake Urry does his best to make it seem real.

This is another great occult thriller, and I look forward to listening to book #3 (Darkside Blues) in that series. Watch this space, it will be part of a blog tour, and I’ll post my review on 2nd June.

Disclosure: I received this audiobook at no-cost from Audiobookworm Promotions. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

 

*Although this is part of a series, each book can be read as stand-alone, no knowledge of other books in that series is required to understand and enjoy them.

 

About the Author: Ambrose Ibsen

Once upon a time, a young Ambrose Ibsen discovered a collection of ghost stories on his father’s bookshelf. He was never the same again.

Apart from horror fiction, he enjoys good coffee, brewed strong.

Ambrose Ibsen has penned numerous horror and thriller titles, including The Ulrich Files, Transmission, The Demon-Hearted Series and the Winthrop House Series.

About the Narrator: Jake Urry

Jake Urry has been narrating and producing Audiobooks since February 2016, and in that time has released 17 titles, including The Cryptic Lines by Richard Storry, White is the Coldest Colour by John Nicholl, and the PI Harlan Ulrich series by Ambrose Ibsen. His narration work is often dark and suspenseful, and he developing a reputation for Mysteries, Thrillers and Horrors. In 2017 Jake will be working on more work by John Nicholl and Richard Storry, along with a sprinkling of Fantasy adventures.

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Review: Daughter of the Sun by Barbara Wood

Barbara Wood: Daughter of the Sun, narrated by Rebecca Roberts, 15:24h

Publisher’s Summary

Seventeen-year-old Hoshi’tiwa had a simple life. The daughter of a humble corn grower, she planned to marry a storyteller’s apprentice. But her world is turned upside down when she is captured by the powerful and violent ruler of an infamous city with legends of untold wealth and unspeakable acts of violence to its name. Hoshi’tiwa is suddenly thrown into the court of the Dark Lord, and as she struggles for power, she begins an illicit affair with the one man who has the ability to destroy her.

Best-selling author Barbara Wood has crafted a sweeping saga of one woman’s struggle to survive within the dangerous and exotic world of the Toltec court. Set against the backdrop of Chaco Canyon and the mysterious Anasazi people, Daughter of the Sun is an unforgettable novel of power, seduction, murder, and betrayal.

My Thoughts:

When I discovered this book on the ‚Up for Adoption‘ page of Audiobookworm Promotion, I absolutely had to listen to it. I remembered having devoured another novel (Virgins of Paradise) by Barbara Wood many years ago, and I remembered how fascinated I had been, even though my memory of the plot is hazy. So, I didn’t even read the summary, hence I didn’t know what to expect.

Let me tell you, this is a great story that made me think. I wondered about the old religions and beliefs, asking myself whether they weren’t preferable to today’s religions. But my first impression of a peaceful religion was soon shattered, because, as is so often the case, those believing in cruel deeds to please their gods oppress all the others.

What puzzled me, was the focus on female virginity before marriage, and the idea that they were makai-yó (outcasts) if they were found out. Somehow, I had always connected this anti-female behaviour with Christendom. However, the book seems extremely well researched, and whether or not this virginity thing is due to poetic licence or actually took place, it doesn’t really matter to me — although it does matter to our main protagonist, Hoshi’tiwa, whose life takes a turn for the worse when she is claimed by the Dark Lord — from then on, she is makai-yó.

This book contains everything you could wish for, especially a lot of information about the religious beliefs, rites, traditions, clothing, food, drink, and daily life of the Toltecs shortly before they perished. All this information isn’t easily found on the www, so much about these people is still shrouded in myth, with few facts known.

Barbara Wood masterfully crafts an engaging story that you won’t want to put down. It is great that this novel is now available as audio book, and the narrator, Rebecca Roberts, does a fantastic job at narrating it. Her voice in my head was never obtrusive, she simply drew me in, and I was there, on center green, seeing it all before me, suffering with the slaves, connecting with Jakál even.

There is only one character who is truly ugly inside and out, all the others have many facets, and though you may not like them, you can understand them.

The combination of a great story and a wonderful narration makes for a very enjoyable 15.5 hours of listening time.

As mentioned above, I received this audiobook at no-cost from Audiobookworm Promotions. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Check out the author: Barbara Wood

 

Check out the narrator: Rebecca Roberts

 

Review: The Sick House by Ambrose Ibsen

The Sick House by Ambrose Ibsen, narrated by Jake Urry, 06:48h

   Synopsis:

Harlan Ulrich is an unsuccessful, lazy private investigator. He doesn’t like his clients, he is bored to tears with the cases that come his way –mainly observations of cheating spouses.
Enter Jerome, the nephew of Dr. Klein who has gone missing in the Sick House near a small place called Moonville.
Ulrich doesn’t want this job, but he needs money, not least to be able to buy special coffee, which is his passion.
Payment arranged, he sets out to search for the missing doctor.
The inhabitants of Moonville are very hostile, and the Sick House has a very bad reputation.
Soon, Ulrich feels watched and haunted, and he doubts what he experienced, but is inclined to go back home. However, he is too curious and too proud to drop the case, and so he returns to the Sick House to find all his nightmares come true. Weiterlesen

Coming up: Review of Old Loves Die Hard / Interview with James Lewis

 

As part of Lauren Carr’s  Audiobook-a-palooza Blog Tour, I volunteered to listen to two of her mysteries: an early one (Old Loves Die Hard), and a more recent one (The Murders at Astaire Castle). Plus, I applied for an interview with one of the narrators. Now, I’ve never done an interview before, so I wasn’t sure what questions to ask. After all, the goal is, to ask interesting questions. In the application form, I typed a few in off the top of my head, intending to deliberate in an email — which I never wrote, because I was just so consumed in all to do with my moving house and all that entails.

So, Laura from iread booktours and James C. lewis had only the original questions to work with, and they did a great job — much better than what I did. My review of Old Loves Die Hard and the interview will be part of the above mentioned Blog tour on May 11.

For information and the schedule of the whole tour look here.  There’ll be reviews,  interviews with other narrators, give-aways, and more.

So,mark the date and place: May 11, here on this blog.

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.

Weiterlesen