Tag Archives: audiobook

Audiobook Review (+ Giveaway!): Kill And Run

19 Jun

 

Five women with seemingly nothing in common are found brutally murdered in a townhome outside Washington, DC. Among the many questions surrounding the massacre is what had brought these apparent strangers together only to be killed.

Taking on his first official murder case, Lieutenant Murphy Thornton, USN, believes that if he can uncover the thread connecting the victims, then he can find their murderer.

Before long, the case takes an unexpected turn when Murphy discovers that one of the victims has a connection to his stepmother, Homicide Detective Cameron Gates. One wintry night, over a dozen years before, her first husband, a Pennsylvania State trooper, had been run down while working a night shift on the turnpike.

In this first installment of the Thorny Rose Mysteries, the Lovers in Crime join newlyweds Lieutenant Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday to sift through a web of lies and cover-ups. Together, can the detectives of the Thorny Rose uncover the truth without falling victim to a cunning killer?

 

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 and three dogs (including the real Gnarly’s klutzy nephew Sterling) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with LaurenWebsite  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

 

C.J. McAllister (narrator) is an Audible Approved Producer — “Audible Approved producers are the best audiobook producers in the business.” Only a small number are awarded this honor.

C.J. has produced best-selling audiobooks in multiple genres/styles, TV commercials/promo teasers, animation projects, interviews (TV and radio), corporate presentations.

 

 

My Impressions:

Combine the fast-paced action of a political thriller with the elements of a police procedural, then add a healthy dose of humor and big personalities of a cozy mystery, and you get the first book in Lauren Carr’s Thorny Rose mystery series, Kill And Run. Set within the District of Columbia within the halls of the highest military leaders, this novel will appeal to die-hard mystery fans. I found the characters engaging, the writing well-done, and the mystery puzzling indeed. I did have a few suspicions that played out within the pages of the book, but Carr added a few surprises I didn’t see coming. All in all, this one is a very satisfying mystery read.

Newlyweds Jessica and Murphy have settled into a familiar routine that, while not exactly conventional, works for them. But murders past and present put them both on the firing line. They, along with members of their family, dig deep into murders of five women with the Army as their only connection. With threats within and without the military complex coming at them, they are determined not to be deterred from discovering and bringing to justice those who are guilty.

With its D.C. setting, Kill And Run has a great political feel. Readers will love the behind-the-scene glimpse into the workings of the Pentagon. The secret (and fictional?) Phantom team lends a cloak and dagger element that I loved. There are plenty of shady characters to deal with, and the reader needs to pay close attention to keep up with the tangled web of threads connecting them. Corruption abounds at the highest levels, and the Russian mob is involved! Murphy and Jessica are extremely likable, as are the minor characters that fans of Carr will recognize. But if this is your first foray into Carr’s crime stories, don’t worry. I jumped right into this newest novel and series with no confusion. The narrator does a great job of bringing the story and its characters to life.

Kill And Run is a fun addition to any mystery library. Please note: this book is not Christian fiction, but targeted to the general reading audience. Make sure to read the content rating below.

Content Rating: Kill And Run is rated PG-13 and contains murder scenes. There is also violence associated with military assignments. The book contains sex scenes which are not overtly explicit. There is a little profanity.

Recommended.

Audience: adults (see content rating above)

To purchase the audiobook, click HERE.

(Thanks to iRead Book Tours for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Giveaway!

One winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card! (open internationally). Click on the link below to enter.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/defcd44e276/?

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Audiobook Review: Taken

22 Jul

51L8ur9medL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_An investigator who knows tragic loss firsthand,
and his new client, missing far too long…

Abducted at the age of sixteen and coerced into assisting the Jacoby crime family, Shannon Bliss has finally found a way out. She desperately wants to resume some semblance of normal life, but she also knows she has some unfinished business to attend to. She might have enough evidence to put her captors behind bars for a very long time.

When Shannon contacts private investigator Matthew Dane, a former cop, to help her navigate her reentry into society, he quickly discovers that gaining her freedom doesn’t mean her troubles are over. If the Jacoby family learns she is still alive, they’ll stop at nothing to silence her.

If justice is to be done, and if Shannon’s life is ever to get on track again, Matthew will need to discover exactly what happened to her–even if it means stirring up a hornet’s nest of secrets.

 

imagesDee Henderson is the author of 14 best-selling novels, including the acclaimed O’Malley series and the Uncommon Heroes series. As a leader in the inspirational romantic suspense category, her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, including the RWA’s RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, the Holt Medallion, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Golden Quill. Dee is a lifelong resident of Illinois and is active online. Visit her at http://www.deehenderson.com.

 

My Impressions:

In my opinion, Dee Henderson’s books have come a long way since her O’Malley series. Still big favorites of her fans, I have found from online reviews and discussions that her later novels have been met with mixed feelings. Taken is billed as romantic suspense, and from the above blurb you would think that it is fast-paced with elements of danger. Well, I really didn’t find that to be the case. All of the action takes place before the book even begins. And while main character Shannon Bliss is in some danger from her former captors, she is well-protected and never comes within reach of them. So, does this mean I didn’t like the book. Absolutely not! I really, really liked it because it showed the rest of the story. Taken explores what happens after the rescue — a time when the trauma finally takes root, a time when normal really isn’t.

Main character Matthew Dane is experienced in the handling of kidnap victims. His own daughter, Becky, was once one. When approached by Shannon Bliss, the victim of 11 years of captivity, he sets up an elaborate network of professionals and friends to ease Shannon’s reentry into normal life. I found the process very intriguing. Henderson does an excellent job of detailing the pain-staking work that needs to be done to ensure the physical and emotional well-being of a victim. Taken is to me a mystery, as the past is uncovered to reveal just what happened to Shannon and why. The suspense comes not from car chases or narrow escapes, but from the unfolding of motives. I listened to the audiobook and the timing and narration were very good.

If you are expecting a novel in the same vein as Henderson’s earliest novels, then you may be disappointed. But if you want to immerse yourself into a detailed and articulate novel of after the crime, then Taken is for you.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(I purchased the audio version from Audible. All opinion expressed are mine alone.)

 

Audiobook Review: Center of Gravity

26 Aug

510K4Y1r7LL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The truth could cost her everything.

Her whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true. In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is wonderful.

Or is it?

When her picture-perfect marriage begins unraveling at the seams, Ava convinces herself she can fix it. It’s temporary. It’s the stress. It’s Mitchell’s tragic history of loss.

If only Ava could believe her own excuses.

Mitchell is no longer the charming, thoughtful man she married. He grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.

Fueled by fierce love for her children and aided by Graham Thomas, a new attorney in town, Ava takes matters into her own hands, digging deep into the past. But will finding the truth be enough to beat Mitchell at his own game?

 

 

52C-300x231After six years behind the anchor desk at two CBS affiliates, Laura McNeill moved to the Alabama Gulf Coast to raise her family. Her accolades in broadcasting include awards from the Associated Press, including Best News Anchor and Best Specialized Reporter.

Laura works at Spring Hill College as the school’s web content and social media manager and​ is active in her community—participating in fundraisers for the American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House, and Providence Hospital’s Festival of Flowers.

Laura was recently awarded a 2-book deal with Thomas Nelson Publishing, a division of HarperCollins. Her novel, Center of Gravity, set in Mobile, Ala., will be published in July of 2015. Laura is represented by Elizabeth Winick Rubenstein, president of McIntosh and Otis literary agency in New York.​ Her writing awards include those from William Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, Writer’s Digest, RWA, and the Eric Hoffer competition.

She holds a master’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in interactive technology from the University of Alabama. She is a native of Upstate New York and currently resides near the Alabama Gulf Coast with her two children.

 

My Impressions:

I first heard about Center of Gravity from a discussion on a FB group. Published by Thomas Nelson, it is promoted for the Christian market. There were some comments on the page about the profanity used in the book and if there is ever a reason for it to be included in a Christian novel. Rightly or wrongly, the discussion peaked my interest, and I checked the book out on Amazon. The premise was intriguing and the 4 and 5 star reviews outweighed the 1 stars, so I used an Audible credit and commenced to listening. What I found was a un-put-downable psychological suspense novel. What I didn’t find was a Christian novel.

Ava Carson has an idyllic marriage — or so she thinks. Mother to her adopted son Jack, age 8 and her biological son Sam, 16 months, she has a doting and loving husband, a beautiful country club home and a life that seems to good to be true. And that’s because it is. Ava’s husband Mitchell is a sociopath and, when he snaps, he snaps BIG!

Center of Gravity is riveting. The unraveling of Ava’s marriage is unnerving and caused me to have a knot in the pit of my stomach while listening. Many reviewers say it wasn’t really an enjoyable read, and it wasn’t. But it was very good despite the disturbing twists and turns. Well-written with a good sense of place (Mobile, Alabama), it is told in the first person POVs of Ava, Mitchell, Jack, Ava’s attorney Graham, and court-appointed psychologist Lucy. Lots of POVs to be sure, but it really worked. Everything about this book was good, except . . . this is not a Christian novel.

When I pick up a book from a Christian publisher there are a few things I expect — no profanity and a message of hope/redemption even if subtly woven through the narrative. I admit, I like my books with an edginess that is not always found in Christian fiction. I like real people and real problems and the characters don’t have to be Christians. But I do want a message of God’s grace or mercy or sovereignty; something that will point readers to a God bigger and stronger than the circumstances they are facing. Center of Gravity did, indeed, contain profanity. It wasn’t rampant, but it was there. But that’s not my big issue with the book. Ava and Jack were such compelling characters. There could have been so much they could have learned through their struggles if one or two other characters that had relationships with God could have intersected with their lives. The only spiritual event in the novel was when Ava shot up a prayer to “angels” or “a higher being”. Really!? Center of Gravity was a good secular novel. Unfortunately, it could have been an excellent Christian one.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Audiobook: Hercule Poirot’s Christmas

14 Jan

51zNl8kJsrLIn Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, the holidays are anything but merry when a family reunion is marred by murder—and the notoriously fastidious investigator is quickly on the case.

 

 

mv5bmtu3otyzmzy4nv5bml5banbnxkftztcwmdixotiyoa-_v1_sy317_cr80214317_al_Born on September 15, 1890, in Torquay, England, Agatha Christie published her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in 1920, and went on to become one of the most famous writers in history, with mysteries like Murder at the Vicarage, Partners in Crime and Sad Cypress. She sold billions of copies of her work, and was also a noted playwright and romance author. She died on January 12, 1976.

My Impressions:

For my husband and me, a long car trip means an audiobook mystery by Agatha Christie. My husband has become a big fan of her novels, especially those featuring Hercule Poirot. So on our Christmas trip to grandma’s, we plugged in Hercule Poirot’s Christmas for the whole family to enjoy. This book, previously published as Murder for Christmas and A Holiday for Murder, is a locked door mystery set on Christmas Eve at a family manor. Not all is as it seems and the many characters are hiding big secrets. As always the narration by Hugh Fraser is excellent, but the uncovering of the murderer was a bit far-fetched. My youngest son said that no one could have guessed just whodunit, and that was not a compliment to the author. So our whole family says to give a pass to this book. But, don’t let that discourage you from others by the Queen of Mystery. We are in the process of listening to another of her novels and are enjoying it immensely.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Audiobook Review: Fear Has A Name

5 Nov

408165How Far Would He Go To Keep Them Safe?

It was more than a break-in. More than a stalking. It was personal. When a stalker targets his family, journalist Jack Crittendon must uncover who the person is and what his motives are–if he is to protect the ones he loves. It will lead Crittendon into a world of behind-closed-door secrets and faith gone awry, as does his investigation of a missing pastor, whose apparent suicide is more than it appears.

Each move Crittendon makes weaves him tighter and tighter into a web of lies, greed, hypocrisy, sin, and danger. He believed he’d never give in to fear. But that was before. And holding on to his faith won’t be easy. Nor will keeping his family safe, and ending the terror. Because that might require him to step over lines he never dared to cross.

 

3f6bd214197194c66050fb85640763e6Creston Mapes is the author of the #1 Amazon bestselling Christian fiction mystery, Nobody, along with the bestselling Christian fiction thrillers Sky Zone, Poison Town, Fear Has a Name, Dark Star and Full Tilt. His early years as a reporter inspire many of his novels.

A journalist, copywriter, and editor, Creston works from his home-office in Atlanta for some of the nation’s top media companies, Christian ministries, and nationally-recognized corporations, including Chick-fil-A, Coke, ABC-TV, and The Weather Channel. In addition to Creston’s novels and freelance writing, he has ghostwritten and edited seven non-fiction titles.

Creston is married to his hometown sweetheart, Patty. They have a close-knit family, with four great children, several pets, and a growing number of cars.

 

My Impressions:

If you are looking for a psychological thriller that will keep you turning the pages while holding your breath, then pick up a copy of Creston Mapes’ novel, Fear Has A Name, book one in The Crittendon Files series. I listened to the audio version and had a hard time turning it off. In fact I found lots of excuses to extend my listening time. Tightly written, this book will appeal to those who like Steven James.

The action starts from the very beginning. The Crittendon family is subjected to a home invasion. And that’s just the start of the nightmare that includes stalking and kidnapping. A seemingly unrelated story line of a missing pastor is the focus of Jack Crittendon’s newspaper investigation. But the two stories come together in an unusual way that demonstrates God’s plan and sovereignty.

Fear Has A Name is an action packed novel, with some very well-developed characters. They struggle with real life problems — depression, doubt and insecurity. When faced with extreme stress, they react in credible ways. The bad guy, Grainger Meade, is especially compelling. The product of twisted religion and abuse, he is at once despicable and sympathetic. The plot is multi-layered, and I wondered just where the author was going with the story lines. But Mapes brings all things together to show just how God works behind the scenes, though we can trace His hand if we look close enough. The audiobook reader did a good job of providing the many voices of the characters with their turmoil and torment.

I highly recommend Fear Has A Name for anyone looking for a taut thriller, and I am looking forward to reading more from this talented author.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased the audiobook version of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Audiobook Review: Shadow in Serenity

26 Jun

332312_w185Carny Sullivan grew up in the zany world of a traveling carnival. Quaint and peaceful Serenity, Texas, has given her a home, a life, and a child. Logan Brisco is the smoothest, slickest, handsomest man Serenity, Texas has ever seen. But Carny Sullivan knows a con artist when she sees one—and she’s seen plenty, starting with her father. As far as Carny Sullivan can tell, she’s the only one in town who has his number. Because from his Italian shoes to his movie-actor smile, Logan has the rest of the town snowed. Carny is determined to reveal Brisco’s selfish intentions before his promise to the townspeople for a cut in a giant amusement park sucks Serenity dry. Yet, as much as she hates his winning ways, there is a man behind that suave smile, a man who may win her heart against her will. Shadow in Serenity is a modern-day Music Man, penned by a Christy Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author.

Excerpt

terriblackstockphoto3Terri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. Terri spent the first twelve years of her life traveling in an Air Force family. She lived in nine states and attended the first four years of school in The Netherlands. Because she was a perpetual “new kid,” her imagination became her closest friend. That, she believes, was the biggest factor in her becoming a novelist. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-five, and has had a successful career ever since.

Her latest series is the acclaimed, award-winning Intervention Series (Intervention, Vicious Cycle, Downfall). Other reader favorites include her books Predator and Double Mindsas well as the Restoration Series, the Newpointe 911 Series, the Cape Refuge Series, and the SunCoast Chronicles series.

In 1994 Terri was writing romance novels under two pseudonyms for publishers such as HarperCollins, Harlequin, Dell and Silhouette, when a spiritual awakening prompted her to switch gears. At the time, she was reading more suspense than romance, and felt drawn to write thrillers about ordinary people in grave danger. Her newly awakened faith wove its way into the tapestry of her suspense novels, offering hope instead of despair. Her goal is to entertain with page-turning plots, while challenging her readers to think and grow. She hopes to remind them that they’re not alone, and that their trials have a purpose.

Terri has appeared on national television programs such as “The 700 Club” and “Home Life,” and has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins.

My Impressions:

I like to listen to audiobooks when I walk. My route takes 50 minutes, so I get a good workout and a good amount of time to enjoy a book. Shadow in Serenity was my latest listen. It was so good, it made me anxious to put on my trainers and jump back into the story.

Logan Brisco is a conman out to make his biggest score yet among the residents of Serenity, Texas. The only trouble is that Carny Sullivan lives there too. She is the daughter of carnies and can’t be conned. Logan does his best to keep things all business, but he is drawn to the free-spirited Carny and the town she loves. Carny also finds herself falling for Logan and is dismayed when she starts to believe the story he is feeding the town.

Billed as a modern-day take on The Music Man, it also has echoes of Carousel. Logan’s character is deeply wounded by a childhood spent wondering where his mother is. He was befriended by Montague, a consummate grifter, who made him feel wanted and taught him all the tricks of the trade. But Logan has always been an outsider and in Serenity feels that even more. But the peace and belonging Carny has found is a lure he can’t ignore. The ending is a surprise to the reader and to Carny and was truly satisfying. I really enjoyed the narrator as well. She was great at capturing the accents and flavor of a small Texas town.

Although this is not a suspense novel for which Blackstock is so well known, Shadow in Serenity is a great story excellently written.

Highly Recommended.

Great for A Book Club.

(I purchased the audiobook version of Shadow in Serenity. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To buy a copy of this book, click on the image below.

Audiobook Review: The Litigators

23 Jul

The partners at Finley & Figg—all two of them—often refer to themselves as “a boutique law firm.” Boutique, as in chic, selective, and prosperous. They are, of course, none of these things. What they are is a two-bit operation always in search of their big break, ambulance chasers who’ve been in the trenches much too long making way too little. Their specialties, so to speak, are quickie divorces and DUIs, with the occasional jackpot of an actual car wreck thrown in. After twenty plus years together, Oscar Finley and Wally Figg bicker like an old married couple but somehow continue to scratch out a half-decent living from their seedy bungalow offices in southwest Chicago.

And then change comes their way. More accurately, it stumbles in. David Zinc, a young but already burned-out attorney, walks away from his fast-track career at a fancy downtown firm, goes on a serious bender, and finds himself literally at the doorstep of our boutique firm. Once David sobers up and comes to grips with the fact that he’s suddenly unemployed, any job—even one with Finley & Figg—looks okay to him.

With their new associate on board, F&F is ready to tackle a really big case, a case that could make the partners rich without requiring them to actually practice much law. An extremely popular drug, Krayoxx, the number one cholesterol reducer for the dangerously overweight, produced by Varrick Labs, a giant pharmaceutical company with annual sales of $25 billion, has recently come under fire after several patients taking it have suffered heart attacks. Wally smells money.

A little online research confirms Wally’s suspicions—a huge plaintiffs’ firm in Florida is putting together a class action suit against Varrick. All Finley & Figg has to do is find a handful of people who have had heart attacks while taking Krayoxx, convince them to become clients, join the class action, and ride along to fame and fortune. With any luck, they won’t even have to enter a courtroom!

It almost seems too good to be true.

And it is.

 

John Grisham was born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker. He received an undergraduate degree in accounting from Mississippi State University in 1977 and then attended law school at the University of Mississippi, where he earned a law degree in 1981. In the same year as he graduated from law school he married Renee Jones who was to become Renee Grisham.  That same year, he married Renee Jones. He established a law practice in Southaven, where he practiced both criminal and civil law. In 1983, he was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives, and in 1989 he published his first novel, A Time to Kill.

Since first publishing A TIME TO KILL in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are THE CHAMBER, THE RAINMAKER, THE RUNAWAY JURY, THE PARTNER, and THE STREET LAWYER), and all of them have become bestsellers, leading Publishers Weekly to declare him “the bestselling novelist of the 90s” in a January 1998 profile. There are currently over 60 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Six of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, and The Chamber), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man.

Now Grisham has gone on to be recognized as one of the world’s bestselling novelists. In addition to A Time to Kill and The Firm, his titles include The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, and The Rainmaker, each of which has been scripted into immensely successful film versions. His most recent novels are The Partner (1997), The Street Lawyer (1998), and The Testament (1999).

When he’s not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including taking mission trips with his church group. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.

Grisham lives with his wife of 16 years, Renee, and their two children, Ty, 13, and Shea, 11. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a 67 acre farm in Mississippi and a 204 acre plantation near Charlottesville, VA.

My Impressions:

The last Grisham I read/listened to (The Associate) left me feeling eh.  I have always loved Grisham and was really let down.  So when faced with a long solo car trip last week, I had mixed feelings about listening to the audiobook version of The Litigators.   What I got was a very enjoyable experience!  Boy am I glad I picked it up.  The Litigators is page-turner or in this case a disc flipper!  I became immersed in the firm of Finley and Figg and their new associate, the former 80 hour work horse from a big firm downtown, David Zinc.  David is a good guy and good lawyer who literally stumbles into his new firm.  Wally Figg is always looking for that one big personal injury case to break into the big time. Senior partner Oscar Finley is beaten down by his marriage and the 40 years he has spent on the fringes of good lawyering.  None of the lawyers have any litigation experience, but that doesn’t keep them from going after the surefire case that will bring them riches untold.  Grisham displays an irreverent humor in The Litigators that had me laughing out loud.  It also gave this reader something to think about in its portrayal of the tort Bar.  The audiobook is read by Dennis Boutsikaris who did a great job portraying all the voices in the book.  I was thoroughly entertained and the miles and time flew by.  I think this would be a great book to read as well.

So if you are looking for a great audiobook to pass the time on your commute, trip, or treadmill, pick up The Litigators.

Recommended.

Please note:  This is not a Christian book.  There is profanity and some adult situations that may be offensive.

(I rented this audiobook from my local Cracker Barrel.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)