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.

Anomalies – Sadie Turner & Colette Freedman

Anomalies, Sadie Turner & Colette Freedman, narrated by Lucinda Clare; Punch Audio, 8:04h

 

Synopsis:

Keeva lives in a peaceful world. After the great technology war which eradicated large parts of the earth, Sobeck rescued what was left, cleaned the earth and oceans from pollution, and built a peaceful society where everybody has his/her place and is happy. Or did he? …

Keeva is looking forward to being imprinted with her intended life partner — however, she’s sorted out as an anomaly, because said partner is no more. She and six other anomalies undergo a variety of tests, and all seems to turn out well after all. But then she suddenly finds that her life as it was has ended. She is in danger, and now she must find out why, and she must find help. But who to trust?

 

This is certainly a series to watch out for. I don’t think there’s a sequel yet, but I hope there’ll be.
This drew me in right from the start, and it kept me glued to my earphones until the end. Yes, it is a YA dystopie, so I’m not among the target group, but then I love YA novels, and this book is no exception.

The idea itself isn’t novel, I was reminded of other well-known novels with the same topic, but that doesn’t mean the story is old. On the contrary, it is a very refreshing tale of what happens if you don’t fit the norm. Keeva needs to find out who she is, what she is supposed to do, what is truth and what are lies, who is friend and who is foe. It’s a coming of age story, and so much more.
There are very many twists and turns, and some of the truths Keeva discovers are completely unexpected.
Lucinda Clare did a fabulous job at narrating the story, bringing all the characters to life, as well as the world. It was like watching a film (I can absolutely imagine this on the screen).
The authors as well as the narrator were new to me, but I’ll watch out for other books by them, and I really hope I won’t have to wait for the sequel very long.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher. As always, this did not affect my review.

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 Murders at Astaire Castle by Lauren Carr

Welcome to Lauren Carr’s Audiobook-a-palooza Blog Tour! To celebrate the release of Lauren Carr’s mysteries in audiobook format, we have 14 books from her three series on tour!

 


To follow the tour and to read reviews, please visit Lauren Carr’s page on iRead Book Tours.
Today we stop at
The Murders at Astaire Castle, book 5 of The Mac Faraday Mystery Series:


Buy the Audiobook ~ Book

 

 

 

Book Description:

 


Never tell Mac Faraday not to do something.

Spencer’s police chief, David O’Callaghan, learns this lesson the hard way when he orders Mac Faraday to stay away from the south end of Spencer’s mountaintop – even though he owns the property. It doesn’t take long for Mac to find out what lies on the other side of the stone wall and locked gate, on which hangs a sign warning visitors to Keep Out!

Topping the list of the 10 top haunted places in America, Astaire Castle is associated with two suicides, three mysterious disappearances, and four murders since it was built almost a century ago – and Mac Faraday owns it!

In spite of David’s warning, Mac can’t resist unlocking the gate to see the castle that supposedly hasn’t seen a living soul since his late mother had ordered it closed up after the double homicide and disappearance of Damian Wagner, a world-famous master of horror novels.

What starts out as a quick tour of a dusty old castle turns into another Mac Faraday adventure when Astaire Castle becomes the scene of even more murders. Mac is going to need to put all of his investigative talents to work to sort out this case that involves the strangest characters he has run into yet – including a wolf man. No, we’re not talking about Gnarly.

 

My thoughts:

This is the fifth book in the Mac Faraday Mystery Series, and the second book I listened to. Like Old Loves Die Hard, this can be read as a stand-alone novel. All the characters and their connections are properly introduced, and although it is clear that we’ve moved on in time, I never felt I missed something.

In this book, the focus is more on David and his past, than it is on Mac Faraday. And David has an interesting past, a good deal of which is connected to the haunted Astaire Castle, a property belonging to Mac Faraday and of which the latter had been ignorant until now.

Strange things used to go on at the castle, and the moment Mac Faraday gets involved, the series of murders starts afresh.

It is all very mysterious, and once again, the ending is perplexing (good job that I’m not a private investigator). There’s even some paranormal activity, but it is believable, considering the whole circumstances.

I really like the characters of Mac Faraday, Archie, David, and the rest, but I absolutely love Gnarly.

He’s such a great dog, and all his antics grant some comic relief. I laughed out loud on occasions, I really pictured Gnarly doing what he did. In my eyes, he is readily the best character in this series.

Last week, I said I’d love to explore the area at Deep Creek Lake, but I’d give that castle a wide berth (fortunately, it is fictional).

Dan Lawson did a wonderful job at narrating the story. I have to say that I enjoyed this narration more than the one I wrote about last week. The characters were very distinctive, especially Hector, the Australian. I’ll certainly listen to other books by Dan Lawson, his take on the novel convinced throughout — as did the story. It drew me in right from the start and is a true page turner.

My thanks go to Laura Fabiani from iread booktours who provided me with a free copy of this great audio book.

Meet the Author:

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Lauren Carr

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with LaurenWebsite  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Meet the Narrator:

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Dan Lawson
Over the past several years Dan Lawson has appeared in numerous spots for radio, television and the internet. He has worked with All-State, Sprint PCS, Mountain Dew and many more. His unique ability to mimic existing characters and celebrities has landed him diverse voice match work ranging from Charlie Sheen to Morgan Freeman.

In 2008 Dan was cast as the first American voice actor for the Korean video game company, Nexon. Over the next several years Dan was the flagship voice of the company, appearing in such titles as Mabinogi, Maple Story, Vindictus, Dragon Nest, Dungeon Fighter Online and Atlantica. In total he has voiced nearly 100 characters for Nexon.

In late 2012 Dan’s voice over career took an unexpected turn into book narration. His first audition landed him the job of narrating The Psychology of Twilight, a psychological look at the wide-spread obsession of the Twilight saga created by Stephanie Meyer.  Eighteen more audiobook narrations have followed and show no signs of slowing down.

Interview: James C. Lewis (Narrator) & Review: Old Loves Die Hard by Lauren Carr (Author)

Welcome to Lauren Carr’s Audiobook-a-palooza Blog Tour! To celebrate the release of Lauren Carr’s mysteries in audiobook format, we have 14 books from her three series on tour!

 


To follow the tour and to read reviews, please visit Lauren Carr’s page on iRead Book Tours.Today we stop at
The Mac Faraday Mystery Series:
Buy the Audiobook ~ Book
Book Description:

Old loves die hard…and in the worst places.

In Old Loves Die Hard, Lauren Carr continues the rags-to-riches story of Mac Faraday, an underpaid homicide detective who inherits 270 million dollars and an estate on Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, from his birth mother on the day his divorce becomes final.

Mac is settling nicely into his new life at Spencer Manor when his ex-wife Christine shows up-and she wants him back! Before Mac can send her packing, Christine and her estranged lover are murdered in Mac’s private penthouse suite at the Spencer Inn, the five-star resort built by his ancestors.

The investigation leads to the discovery of cases files for some of Mac’s murder cases in the room of the man responsible for destroying his marriage. Why would his ex-wife’s lover come to Spencer to dig into Mac’s old cases?

With the help of his new friends on Deep Creek Lake, Mac must use all of his detective skills to clear his name and the Spencer Inn’s reputation, before its five-stars – and more bodies – start dropping!

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

My thoughts:

This was my first MacFaraday novel, as well as the first novel by Lauren Carr. It is not the first book in the series, but I had absolutely no trouble following the plot, because all the characters are properly introduced, and their background is sufficiently explained, so I never felt that I missed something because I didn’t know the previous books, yet.

The story is a mystery until the very end; there are many twists and turns, and I never saw it coming. It was convincing, too. We have a great character-building here, the characters aren’t just black or white, but everything in between, most of them have something to hide, so we have lots of suspects.

I wasn’t too sure about the dog, it has a special ability which seemed odd, if not impossible, but then who knows what a well-trained, intelligent dog is capable of. I have since done a bit of research, and apparently it’s not all that abstract after all.  I absolutely loved the dog’s antics, in those moments,  he seemed to be one clever dog-like dog.

I’m now curious about the area, and I’d really love to see it for real one day. The story drew me in from the start, and kept me listening; and I look forward to listening to others in that series.

I only really just noticed the cover (I’m not a cover person), and I wonder if it could give a wrong impression. Let me assure you, that the author doesn’t dwell on all the gory details of the bloody murders here committed, and although there is some romance, it’s not at all taking place between linen sheets.

The narration was good and easy to listen to. Although there isn’t much in the way of different timbres, dialects, or accents, and all the characters sounded more or less alike to me, I didn’t really have problems following who said what, so there must have been variations after all, but they certainly weren’t overdone.

I already told you how the interview came about in a previous blog post, and here it is now:

Interview with narrator James C. Lewis (see more below):

How do you prepare for accents and different characters?

 

Once I was narrating a book of 19th century preachers in Wales. One of them was from Cynghordy, a village in the rural community of Llanfair-ar-y-bryn in Carmarhenshire. Oh my! I went to my usual sources: You Tube and several web sites. Finally I called Spire Hospital in Cardiff, the capital. (I have a phone plan that costs only one cent per minute for international calls.) But they were too busy saving lives and hung up on me. Then I phoned up the newspaper, the South Wales Argus in Cardiff. The young reporter thought I was joking. But I convinced him I was on the level. And he helped me right away! I think that my decidedly American accent may have helped.

 

Are there any genres you prefer narrating?

 

I have a fondness for crime fiction and spy dramas. I come from a journalism background. At one time, I was a police reporter in Seattle and I came to deeply respect cops and their emotionally taxing jobs. And I enjoy being the voice of the tall tough-talking private detective with the snazzy girlfriend. (I’m not very tall. But please keep that information just between us.)

 

Will you narrate any book if the conditions are right?

 

I have narrated a wide range of books but not erotica. But I’ve narrated some horror fiction with really creepy monsters. (They’re actually the best!)

What is the hardest part of narrating a book?

 

The hardest part is finding the voice of the character. Is the character old, young, angry, happy, educated, ignorant? And of course where are they from. I find that evil characters from Eastern Europe are the easiest to do. And it’s hard being confined to a small studio by myself (other than the character’s voices).

 

How is the work with the author?

 

I really like Lauren Carr’s work. Being the voice of Mac Faraday is great fun. Lauren writes for the ear as well as the eye. She would be a great screen writer. (And she’s wonderful to work with!)

I’d like to thank Mr Lewis for answering my questions, and Laura Fabiani from iread book tours for managing it all.

Meet the Author:

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Lauren Carr

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with LaurenWebsite  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Meet the Narrator:

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Another Audible Approved narrator, voice actor  James Lewis has established a solid reputation in fiction as well as non-ficton audiobooks. At latest count, he’s narrated nearly 50.

Although his specialty is noir fiction, James has done several non-fiction books as well on a range of people and subjects: Butch and Sundance, General Custer, Revolutionary War, psychic development, taxes.

James Lewis has been awarded the AudioFile Earphone Award for narration, „The Last Outlaws“. It’s about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.