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

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.

 

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

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.

 

 

Verzetteln

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