Tag Archives: audiobook

Audiobook Mini-Review: The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade

4 Apr

In this first book of the Tales from the Goose Creek B&B series, you’ll fall in love with a small town that feels like coming home. Its quirky characters and their many shenanigans will make you laugh out loud as they touch a place in your heart.

Even though retirement is still three years away, Al Richardson is counting the days. He anticipates many enjoyable years in which every day feels like Saturday. But Al’s wife, Millie, has different plans for their retirement. When she learns that a Victorian-era home is up for sale, Millie launches a full-blown campaign to convince Al that god’s plan for them is to turn that house into a B&B.

But a B&B won’t be the only change for the small Kentucky town. A new veterinarian has hung up her shingle, but she’s only got one patient – the smelly dog belonging to her part-time receptionist. And sides are being taken in the issue of the water tower, which needs a new coat of paint…but no one can agree who should paint it.

The situation is coming to a head. Who could have imagined a town protest over a water tower? And who would believe it could culminate in an illegal parade?

Virginia Smith is the bestselling author of thirty-one novels (an counting!), an illustrated children’s book, and more than fifty articles and short stories. An avid reader with eclectic tastes in fiction, Ginny writes in a variety of styles, from lighthearted relationship stories to breath-snatching suspense. Her books have been named finalists in many international awards. Two of her novels have received a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. The first book in her latest series, The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade, was Library Journal’s top pick of the month, and a finalist for the prestigious Bookseller’s Best Award.

In addition to writing, Ginny is an active inspirational speaker and frequent presenter at schools and conferences. A Certified Lay Speaker for the United Methodist Church, Ginny’s messages are always well-received by a variety of audiences in conferences, retreats and churches across the country. Her speaking ability, groomed through years of presenting dry material to bored corporate employees, has been described as entertaining, yet spiritually encouraging. “She keeps her audience enthralled through her high-energy presentation,” according to Pastor Amy Barkman, director of Voice Of Joy Ministries.

When she isn’t writing or speaking, Ginny and her husband, Ted, enjoy exploring the extremes of nature – snow skiing in the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, motorcycle riding on the curvy roads in central Kentucky, and scuba diving in the warm waters of Mexico and the Caribbean.

My Impressions:

I was looking for a light-hearted audiobook during a particularly stressful week. I figured a few laughs along with my morning walk couldn’t hurt. The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade certainly fit the bill. Filled with endearing characters (and a few cranks) the book takes you to small town Kentucky where gossip reigns supreme! The novel revolves around married couple Albert and Millie as he tries to resist her dream of owning a B&B. Albert never stands a chance! In addition there is a new veterinarian in town who starts off on the wrong foot, literally! Add a hideous water tower and politics gone awry, and you have the makings of a crazy and hilarious read. The book is fast-paced and easy, great for times when you want entertainment above all else. I had a bit of trouble adjusting to the narrator (her emphasis on the last words of a sentence or paragraph got on my nerves initially), but either she got better or I got used to it 😉 , because I found myself in the story, not pulled away by her inflections.

So if you are having a stress-filled week, consider giving the zaniness of The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade a go.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

Audiobook Mini-Review: Prose And Cons

24 Oct

In Cascade Springs, New York, Violet Waverly and her grandma, Daisy, are the proprietors of Charming Books, where the power of the written word is positively enchanting…
 
October in Cascade Springs means tourists are pouring in for the annual Food and Wine Festival, and Daisy hopes to draw those crowds to the store. She asks Violet and the local writing group, the Red Inkers, to give a reading of the works of Edgar Allan Poe in the shop’s back garden to entertain the revelers. Everyone eagerly agrees.
 
Yet their enthusiasm is soon extinguished when Violet discovers one of the writers dead during the event. After the shop magically tells Violet she’ll need to rely on Poe’s works to solve the murder, she enlists the help of her trusty tuxedo cat, Emerson, and the shop’s crow, Faulkner. But they must act fast before someone else’s heart beats nevermore . . .

 

Amanda Flower, a USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel and her children’s mysteries, Andi Unexpected and Andi Under Pressure, were an Agatha Award Nominees for Best Children’s/YA Novel. Andi Unstoppable won the Agatha Award for Best Children’s/YA Novel 2015. Amanda is a librarian in northeast Ohio. Visit her at http://www.amandaflower.com.

 

My Impressions: 

I loved my return trip to Cascade Springs, NY and the magical bookstore Charming Books! The cooler temps and cozy mystery Prose And Cons made my morning walks a treat. Author Amanda Flower has certainly created a charming setting, fun and quirky characters, and a real puzzler with Prose And Cons. I love a mystery that keeps me guessing, and this one’s ending was a complete surprise. I never suspected whodunit! In addition to the mysterious goings on in the village, Violet discovers long-held family secrets. Main character, Violet, is an intelligent and intrepid sleuth, who is assisted by her houdini-feline Emerson, and an insistent bookshop that literally throws the clues at her. There’s also a hunky chief of police I am cheering on for a future romance for Violet. And for fans of literary-themed cozies, Prose And Cons cleverly combines classic literature and clues to the murder. The first person narrative is complemented by the reader of this audiobook — I felt I was in the midst of the action. Prose And Cons is the second book in the Magical Bookshop Mystery series and can be read as a standalone, but you really need to start at the beginning. Book 3 releases in a few months — I can’t wait to find out what Violet faces next.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

Audiobook Mini-Review: Crime And Poetry

17 Oct

Rushing home to sit by her ailing grandmother’s bedside, Violet Waverly is shocked to find Grandma Daisy the picture of perfect health. Violet doesn’t need to read between the lines: her grandma wants Violet back home and working in her magical store, Charming Books. It’s where the perfect book tends to fly off the shelf and pick you . . .

Violet has every intention to hightail it back to Chicago, but then a dead man is discovered clutching a volume of Emily Dickinson’s poems from Grandma Daisy’s shop. The victim is Benedict Raisin, who recently put Grandma Daisy in his will, making her a prime suspect. Now, with the help of a tuxedo cat named Emerson, Violet will have to find a killer to keep Grandma from getting booked for good . . . 

 

Amanda Flower, a USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel and her children’s mysteries, Andi Unexpected and Andi Under Pressure, were an Agatha Award Nominees for Best Children’s/YA Novel. Andi Unstoppable won the Agatha Award for Best Children’s/YA Novel 2015. Amanda is a librarian in northeast Ohio. Visit her at http://www.amandaflower.com.

My Impressions:

I am always up for a cozy mystery! I love quirky characters, charming locales, and a puzzling mystery. I chose Crime And Poetry by Amanda Flower to make the minutes and miles pass quickly on my morning walks — it was a great choice! I had previously read her juvenile mystery fiction and one book in her Amish cozy series and knew I would find a humorous and entertaining read. But I have to say that Crime And Poetry exceeded my expectations. While it had all the elements I look for in a cozy, it also featured a magical bookshop that not only finds the perfect book for patrons, but aids main character Violet in her quest to find whodunit! I loved, loved the characters, including the adorable Houdini-cat and the loquacious blackbird. Violet solves the case and finds closure for a tragedy in her past. She discovers her place in the village of Cascade Springs and has two hunky guys vying for her attention. Very satisfying! The narrator of the audiobook was perfect for the first person style, having a wonderful sense of timing and inflection.

I liked Crime And Poetry so much that I downloaded book 2, Prose And Cons as soon as The End was pronounced. If you are a fan of cozies, you’ll love this one too.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased this book from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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/?

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.)