A good cozy mystery. I was horrified by the nature of Annabelle's fall and death, but it was an all-too-believable story in the end. The drips and drops of coffee trivia and prep tips were nice, would even be useful if I had the budget for such things - alas, Claire would be appalled by my Folgers consumption. The Village Blend atmosphere was as cozy as the mystery, and I liked the sound of the antiques and decor of the place. Way better than your average Starbucks (which is sadly mostly all there is around me).
Claire's relationships with Lt. Quinn, her ex Matteo, and Madame were great. The way she took on the investigation herself, interviewing people etc, was believable. At once both inexperienced and determined, she was attentive and effective enough to connect with people to get the info she needed. Or to find it with the help of Matteo and a little lie or two to open doors (literally). She certainly had guts to face suspects and burglars all across the city, from the Waldorf ballroom to the bars of Christopher St. It was pretty light throughout, and pretty predictable, though I may still have held my breath when she was closing up alone at night - knowing that whomever had been there to cause harm before had managed not to leave a sign of forced entry, so not even the locked doors felt secure enough for me. Thank goodness for Java (the cat and the drink)!
The narration by Gibel was okay. She tried to create different voices for characters, but they were often inconsistent. Aside from Madame and the Jamaican dance teacher, whose voices were distinct enough to be kept apart from all others, most characters' sounds were mixed up in dialogue several times. I was really confused when it happened between Claire and Quinn, as well as between her and Matteo. I would have thought some editing could have caught more of that kind of thing. But the attitude she gave Claire I thought was spot on, and the emotions were done well.
A decent read for snuggling up with on a lazy Sunday, and worth it at the sale price I got. I could tell it set itself up to be a series, which I might find worth it to look for at the library if my current collection of mysteries needs a 'light and cozy' supplement down the line.
It had been some years since I read this, and it was a longer book than I remembered. It's title is most apt as a description of the two sisters. While I did find reproach and worry over Marianne's imprudence and open affections, I was always comforted by the constancy of Cl. Brandon. Eleanor's situation rather excited more anxiety and compassion from me, not only for her suffering it alone for so long, but for the meanness of Lucy and the unfeelingness of her friends and relations about herself and Edward. I adored Mrs. Jennings for her kindness and looking after the girls, but her nature towards teasing them and for gossip did grate on my nerves. So fortunate to have her and the Middletons and Palmers though, when their own brother and his in-laws treated them so coldly. Austen is a master at painting portraits of the different sorts of society in town and in the country, of the selfish and greedy social elitists to the warm and humble, the noble and deserving. It is a great depiction of the era in England, and the kinds of situations individuals lived with before the time of greater legal/financial independence for women. As many books as I read about such times and circumstances, it still boggles my mind that my sex's only option in the hopes for a stable livelihood was to marry well/wealthy.
This narration wasn't fantastic, but it was read with great conveyance of emotions. Many of the women had little to distinguish their voices in dialogue, but context usually helped, and their speech style if not the actual sound could make some distinction (Mrs. Palmer and Mrs. Jennings style being VERY different from Fanny or Mrs. Ferrers). The same went for most of the men - while given a sound different from the ladies, they often had to be told apart by their conduct of speech rather than a vocal contrast by the narrator.
A wonderful read. I am always charmed by Austen.
This was pretty entertaining. Lots of stories and trivia about some of the worst products, foods, ad campaigns, political moves, policies, and to top it off -celebrity baby names. I didn't particularly care for some of the sports content in the later chapters, but a few of the mentions did give me childhood flashbacks. The entertainment industry section was pretty funny - failed tv shows and movie flops, from Cop Rock to Godfather 3 and others. I was entertained by the long lists of microwaveable and fried foods and some of the terrible product launches that had to be retracted.
Some of the stories (like the evolution and failures of the Yugo, certain game consoles, and laser disks) were long and detailed histories. Other topics were given shorter blurbs, or even just listed anecdotes without giving full detail. In any case, they were all wonderfully bad ideas that just had to make you wonder -how did this get marketed/made public?
The narration wasn't remarkable, nor was the content demanding that. His tone had an appropriate sarcastic tone when called for, and delivered a lot of the lines about our biggest goofs (prohibition, Esperanto, New Coke ... ) in a deadpan and with an understood "can you believe somebody really invented the ___?" I mean, I would hardly want to try a segue after hearing its company owner died when he drove his over a cliff, nor will I have an apatite for the Krispy Kreme burger anytime soon.
A fun, if short, interlude in ridiculous mistakes of all kinds.
This was fantastic. I get a kick out of the unusual perspective on a mystery - burglar/crime writer obliged to aide in an art theft and solve a murder in order to clear his name of said crimes. Loved the tid-bits and insight on security and his other commentary throughout. Not only were there some interesting and colorful character portraits, the city was nicely portrayed too - having now been there and seen many of the sights described, it was easier to follow his progress through the streets and landmarks, but even those which were not familiar to me were brought to life, from Montmartre to the wasteland banlieu.
A great tangle of mysteries too, burglary turned art theft, turned murder... all kinds of trouble. I had not seen the twists at the end coming, though, in retrospect I might have caught one or two of I'd paid a bit closer attention, but by the time he discovered the forgery, I was just enjoying the ride. I think his relationship with his agent Victoria has got to be the most unique I've ever read of, and I was entertained that she morphed her role willingly from listener/counselor to being an active participant in helping Charlie pull off parts of his scheme. I don't know that he needs her as a full time sidekick, but I hope she keeps her role as a resource for him.
Narration was fantastic. English and French accents mostly this time, both male and female voices were done well, and dialogue was always consistent. Vance's tone and rhythm matched that of Charlie's voice and attitude very well, to my mind.
I look forward to the next adventure and new city!
This was intense... I liked it better than the first book in the series- while the murders were more violent, they were without the graphic sexual component of Naked in Death's crimes.
I love the repartee between Dallas and Roarke (their, ahem, intimate scenes are a little more, um, vivid and vigorous than is to my usual reading taste, but are never crude and the writing is good). I only wish Dallas didn't immediately get her dander up when his name pops up in relation to anyone/thing in a case - she is immediately on the defensive about it and weary of his every tie and involvement, ready to both think the worst and shield him and/or her from it becoming public knowledge... Frankly, I think she overreacts. And while I can understand her emotional baggage causing some of the issues, I was a little bit in disbelief about their sudden split and re-connecting circumstances, if she was having that much trouble, believing something like that if she (admitted that she) loved him and needed him, that that made her less independent and strong and therefore lowered her self esteem and degraded her ability to do her job. Thus far she has never defined herself by anything but how well she does her job, so it's a big hurdle, and i think somehow they flew over it really fast while she's still working it out in her head... I'm glad she's talking to the department psychologist more though (both case and no-case related).
I also love Dallas' working relationships, with Feeney and the Commander. I share her distaste for the media. This was a good mystery, and solid procedural, going through the evidence and suspects and revisiting the scenes. Oddly enough, I had picked out the murderer by the second death - almost fingering them on a hunch, but my suspicions were confirmed by the circumstances and aftermath of victim number three. I was glad Dallas caught onto the same clue I did there, even if it took a while for it to come to light. I liked Officer Peabody too, I got a kick out of her no-nonsense demeanor and how she got on with Dallas as they continued to investigate together.
Narration was good. Only had one or two spots with voice-swap confusion, and those were in heated dialogue. Ericksen gives just the right tone and cadence to match Lt Dallas' demeanor and the narrative style.
Can't wait to see where the next book takes Eve and Roarke. ^_^
This book felt sweet and dreamy for the most part. Natural when a lot of the interactions are about, with, or in some manner revolve around fairies and a quaint village in Ireland. I loved the music and magic of the place and the fairy tales. And I can sympathize a little bit with Jude, following the sensible path and doing what was expected of her all the time... That's pretty much how I felt through college and I got burned out. Granted, I didn't get as far down the path as her, nor did I make such a big break with my life or have to cross an ocean to do it. But it gives me hope that I'll find myself and my purpose one day too, like she did, and maybe it'll get to include travel to the magical Emerald Isle. ^_^
That being said, I was glad to progress from her analytical psychological belief that she was going nuts and imagining fairies and ghosts because of a mental breakdown on to her just accepting that they were there and living more contentedly with her work and dreams.
I liked the ever-present story of Lady Gwen and her Prince - though knowing the story, and knowing that HE knew the story, I wanted to smack Aiden upside the head for not realizing he was making the same mistakes.
The village was wonderful, and I felt like I could be right at home there, and enjoy a pint and laughs with the likes of Brenna and Darcy and dancing with old Mr. O'Rielly ... Such warmth and joy in their lives. I think one of my favorite parts was the girls' night in at the cottage.
The narration was good - I love the accents. She did have different voices for everyone, but they weren't all very distinct or consistent beyond the central few. I relied on context and names to tell apart some of the women in dialogue. The audio-editors did this weird echoey thing with the mic for the sounds of Jude's computer journal voice and the voice of the Fairy Price. It certainly made them distinct and recognizable, but was a little jarring.
A cozy tale, of finding yourself, friendship, and love, and even some fantasy, which I am sure to revisit.
I liked the baking talk and all the interesting people around, but was less gripped by the actual mystery and investigation.
This book was a little out of my usual way in some respects. On the surface I was interested by the baker turned amateur sleuth by circumstance, who meets a mysterious tall-dark-and-handsome and finds trouble in the streets... Loved the scenes in the bakery, she often made me hungry with talk of breads and muffins (and I agree with her, none of that crumbly health stuff, yick) and company with her and the cats was warm. I wish there was some kind of appendix with the recipes, cause i'd love to try some of the things she talked about baking...
I liked the cast of characters around the bakery and apt building. Daniel was mysterious, knew there was something concealed, a little bit dark, but not worrisome in any way. And I was glad for Jason to get back on his feet. I was amused by Corinna's nickname for Sgt White - I don't think I'd ever heard the name Lepedoptre spoken aloud before. Her friend the witch, the gardener, and professor were great additions. I got a few laughs out of her shop assistants, and her description of the squalor which the tech-guys lived in. So many kinds of people in different walks of life passed through the pages- some content, some in a busy blur, and some that break your heart and make you question your faith in humanity and the world... It was a beautiful portrait of so many kinds of life all together in one city.
And then came the darker things ... I don't mind goths, like she says, folks who take so much trouble in their costuming are generally not much trouble. But I don't go in for the likes of the Bloodlines club. Gives me the shivers, and when in comes to vampires, well, I'd rather avoid all those who are not Spike and Angel, frankly.
It was quite the quick climax (excuse me) for the slow action building up, and because of the uncertain atmosphere of the club, it took a minute for the results to register in my mind and the pieces to fall into place - it took her self-termed Agatha Christie finish gathering everyone on the roof for the unveil to explain and connect a few more dots for me.
Entertaining enough, partly due to novelty, but also on its own merits. Plenty of fun pop culture references (and notes to self NOT to watch those horror movies mentioned). It wasn't just another silly amateur detective story or cozy mystery (and like I said, i didn't find her investigation particularly gripping or compelling), though it had those elements; it was also a novel of real lives, real people (it was those portraits and relationships which made up more of the actual story), their tragedies and their day to day activities - which were briefly interrupted by crime - and how those people come together and help each other. And the cats too.
Narration was pretty good - the characters all had distinguishable voices, though a few times they were not switched consistently in dialogue. Her pace was often quick and sentences were rushed together -but sometimes it was clearly meant to be so, following Corrie's trains of thought or a disjointed succession of events in her day. Sometimes, though, I got the feeling that that quick cadence rolled over into sections of narrative and dialogue which might have ideally been a bit slower and more naturally paced.
Good overall, a little unique, a little like a lot of other amateur detective stories, and now I need I little bit - er, a lot - of those muffins and olive bread...
Another delightful volume in the adventures of the Emerson clan. Some returning characters, and some new colorful additions pepper this season's mystery at Luxor and the Valley of the Kings with new challenges.
I quite enjoyed the additional point of views added by the narratives of "Manuscript H"; they added a new dimension to the story, both in terms of the development of the mystery as well as of the lives and relationships of the children - who are not such young children anymore. Ramses once again goes out and about incognito. I enjoyed the "all for one and one for all" collaboration they start in secret on board the dahabiya, and the foreshadowing about their futures.
I was most amused by how Amelia took to Ms. Jones, and how Cyrus did even more so. And I hope Miss Dolly gets what she deserves, spoiled ninny of a girl. I think the antics of the Cat Sekhmet were one of my favorite amusements throughout (R.I.P. Bastet).
Barbara Rosenblat narrated beautifully as always. She really brings a liveliness to the story, and gives unique voice to each of the varied characters (Cyrus is one of my favorite voices by her). Her slight adjustments to the children's maturing voices was expertly done.
I highly recommend the series and I look forward to reading the next installment.
This was a lovely story, and I enjoyed it one one level, even though I didn't really appreciate every aspect of it. I didn't realize when I purchased it, but it is very much rooted in faith - it plays a role in the lives and actions of each of the characters. As I was not raised a churchgoer, nor have I read most of the bible, and I have never considered myself a believer, much of the meaning and impact of their faith was lost on me.
But I do like hearing about stories connected through history, and people whose lives which would otherwise not have touched each other but that they shared in the life of the dress. Their stories gave glimpses into some very different eras in history - different times and societies, but in which people (and love) have pretty much remained the same over the decades. Emily's story in particular interested me, such a bold independent and intelligent woman not only bucking the prejudices of her time but fighting for love.
The path of the dress between her and Charlotte was also an incredible tale, though a little less heard. I am glad Charlotte found new family in the women she connected with and was able to discover more of her own past. Her love story in the present held less interest for me, aside from how it drove her investigation, as I felt I knew how it would turn out.
Again, probably better appreciated overall by someone who shares the characters' faith. It was a little hard for me to swallow the "god told me to leave the trunk there for you" and when they felt "His divine influence"... foreign concepts, which I do not understand or believe in. But I looked past that to appreciate the unveiling of history and the long-past love stories woven in the gold threads of the dress.
The narration was fine, but not remarkable. It was better than plain reading aloud, and she tried to differentiate characters (difficult because many had the same southern accent), but her character voices were not always consistent. Some of the women were hard to tell apart, and I actually found one place where Emily was referred to as Charlotte, which totally confused me and I had to re-listen to figure out which century I was in. Aside from that, I'm glad there were clear announcements of the names of whose perspective we were in, or it would have totally lost me.
Nice story, and I got it on sale, so not a wasted purchase, but not a likely re-read for me.
I don't recall how this title came my way, but I'm glad it did. I have never been a big fan of fantasy, but after trying the Dresden files, found that that style of part urban fantasy and part mystery thriller worked for me. The trouble I have is with worlds and beings entirely separate from what I know, when an author drops you into the unfamiliar and starts off running with it without introducing the world - this, on the other hand wove the world of Faerie and its denizens into modern San Francisco, and did enough explaining and introduction of the fae that were come across for me not to get lost. Left some of it very mysterious though, and sometimes I wished for more background info. The challenge of changeling existence was a semi-familiar concept, so throw in her private investigating (and a quest for revenge), and her attitude and you get me hooked.
This book was also a lot like Dresden in that she got pulled into the action without entirely consenting, but would do anything to help a friend, was pretty much forced to be reactionary the whole way through, takes risks with powerful and scary beings, has a sardonic and cynical attitude and smart mouth to match (I laughed out loud a lot, even during high tension scenes at her remarks, everything from her waking up with a deadpan "oh good, not dead" or "talking usually indicates consciousness", to her blunt and sometimes sarcastic observations about the traditions of faerie and the different fae races, and myriad charming smart-ass lines), and it all boils down to a showdown with the bad guy.
While I liked Toby and her liege lord the Duke and his Duchess, I think my favorite characters were the legendary sea witch/demon (whose name after hearing I couldn't even try to spell but just looked it up: the Luidaeg) and most of all the rose goblin. The adorable purring walking feline-rosebush. Useful as long as you don't take your eyes off them.
The one issue I took in all of this story was just how much she kept going after taking a beating and even getting shot (with iron no less). Even with a little healing help as she went along, it seemed to me she must have incredible endurance to keep on her feet and running from the bad guys as long as she did... It just seemed like as much as she was commenting on her own blood loss and pain, that it didn't have as much impact as it should have had.
The narration was great. There were multiple accents (some tinged with a nice Irish lilt in the fae courts) for the numerous voices, all kept consistently, never a doubt who was speaking. And her delivery was spot-on, matching the attitude of Toby all the way. I am familiar with Gaelic words and phonetics, and it was nice to hear them spoken smoothly (for those NOT familiar with them, that would be one definite advantage of listening to the audiobook rather than only reading off the page).
Definitely set itself up to be a series, which I will look into getting if I find myself in the mood for more fae tales mixed into my cache of whodunits.
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