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C. Speer

Wichita | Member Since 2015

270
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 40 reviews
  • 130 ratings
  • 895 titles in library
  • 13 purchased in 2018
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
13

  • Death of a Chimney Sweep

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By M. C. Beaton
    • Narrated By Graeme Malcolm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (466)
    Performance
    (349)
    Story
    (351)

    In the isolated villages in the north of Scotland, the villagers rely on the services of the chimney sweep, Pete Ray, and his old-fashioned brushes. Pete is always able to find work in the Scottish highlands, until the day that Police Constable Hamish Macbeth notices blood dripping onto the floor of a villager's fireplace, and a dead body stuffed inside the chimney. The entire town of Lochdubh is certain Pete is the culprit, but Hamish doesn't believe that the affable chimney sweep is capable of committing murder.

    Susan says: "Hamish, Anderson and Blair -- As Usual"
    "Good but a lot of dead people"
    Overall

    I enjoyed this story. The descriptions of the Scottish Highlands make the book enjoyable for me, and I found the characters in this particular story interesting and fairly well developed. This is a book in a series, so you might want to begin with the first one rather than jumping in with this one as I did. One thing: there are a lot of murders in this book, and some of them seem unnecessary to me. The ending is a little pat with regard to the murderer specifically, but extra time is taken to wind down the other plot lines, and I appreciated that. Fine narration.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Silent in the Grave

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Deanna Raybourn
    • Narrated By Ellen Archer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1538)
    Performance
    (1049)
    Story
    (1046)

    Let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave. These ominous words, slashed from the pages of a book of Psalms, are the last threat that the darling of London society, Sir Edward Grey, receives from his killer. Before he can show them to Nicholas Brisbane, the private inquiry agent he has retained for his protection, Sir Edward collapses and dies at his London home, in the presence of his wife, Julia, and a roomful of dinner guests.

    9S says: "Happily surprised"
    "Narrator is not good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story uses all. the. words. I'd love to have listened to an edited version, but overall I like the story. But the reader! The accents are not right and she can't pronounce words that are even a little unusual. She also has a character that sounds just like Madeline Basset in the TV version of Jeeves and Wooster. That's a lisp that was popular DECADES after this book and it's intensely irritating all around here.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Wee Murder in My Shop: ScotShop Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Fran Stewart
    • Narrated By Tanya Eby
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (34)

    While on a transatlantic hunt for some authentic wares to sell at her shop, Peggy is looking to forget her troubles by digging through the hidden treasures of the Scottish Highlands. With so many enchanting items on sale, Peggy can't resist buying a beautiful, old tartan shawl. But once she wraps it around her shoulders, she discovers that her purchase comes with a hidden fee: the specter of a 14th-century Scotsman.

    Nichole K says: "Sweet Entertaining Cozy"
    "Review of the Series Through Book 3"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Quick overview: This is a fine series for those who like a cozy. The ghost theme is consistent with similar books in this sub-genre with this ghost being much less irritating a personality than is common.

    Series review (first 3 books): I had hoped these would improve from book-to-book, but unfortunately, they didn't. The endings are uniformly implausible, and in book #2 the ending is confusing. The "written by an English major" feeling permeates all three of the books to date, and that is unfortunate as it makes them feel a bit self important for what they are.

    There is an odd theory of character development at work in the series to date. We learn unnecessary details about characters (mild spoiler eg: the drinking problem of one of the regular characters) and there are undeveloped mild plot lines (eg: the relationship between Peggy and the woman her fiancé had the affair with in book #1). The main character is almost completely without empathy or personal insight about people or dogs (mild spoiler eg: sheesh, how did she manage not to know the dog needed water and food in book #3? My gosh.) These problems give the books a choppy, unedited quality that I found distracting.

    The world these take place in feels oddly unfamiliar as well (mild spoiler eg: it's hard to imagine people falling in love and getting engaged with no one noticing at all, especially when another love subplot seems so obvious to everyone in town and is yet unconsummated in any way). Again, this is distracting and makes the author feel young, or at least early in her career.

    Regarding the narration: The narrator forgets how to pronounce the word sporran halfway through book #3. How that happened I can't imagine. How a producer missed it is another story.

    All that having been said, the underlying premise is amusing, the Scottish flavor is pleasant, and I found the books distracting enough to be worth my time and a credit each. I would suggest, however, to wait until at least book #1 is on sale before you commit. If you like a cozy, these are fine.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pies and Prejudice: Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery Series #1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Ellery Adams
    • Narrated By C. S. E Cooney
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (254)
    Performance
    (234)
    Story
    (232)

    When the going gets tough, Ella Mae LaFaye bakes pies. So when she catches her husband cheating in New York, she heads back home to Havenwood, Georgia, where she can drown her sorrows in fresh fruit filling and flaky crust. But her pies aren't just delicious. They're having magical effects on the people who eat them, and the public is hungry for more. Discovering her hidden talent for enchantment, Ella Mae makes her own wish come true by opening the Charmed Pie Shoppe.

    Christina says: "A real treat!"
    "No to the Narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's a shame when a good-enough book gets a bad narrator. This book is a little overwritten with a sophomoric use of adjectives, but if you like magical mystery cozies, it's a fine read and a good start to a series. But the narrator gets in the way. It's clear that Cooney is unfamiliar with many of the words, and as a consequence she mispronounces them. Her accents are horrible, which is less her fault than it is the fault of the producer for hiring her. I finished the book but I won't be coming back to the series. It's the narrator who killed this series.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Dead in the Water: A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Carola Dunn
    • Narrated By Mia Chiaromonte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (263)
    Performance
    (240)
    Story
    (236)

    >In July of 1923, the Honorable Daisy Dalrymple travels to Henley-on-Thames to visit her aunt and uncle, as well as to work on her latest writing assignment: covering the Henley Royal Regatta for an American magazine. Daisy plans a simple trip researching her article, enjoying the races, and, come the weekend, having a pleasant time with her fiancé, Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard. But the tensions between the Ambrose team's coxswain, Horace Bott - a shopkeeper's son and scholarship student at Oxford - and rower Basil DeLancey - the younger son of an earl and all-around bounder - are constantly threatening to erupt into violence.

    consuelo says: "Narrator doesn't know how to pronounce the words!"
    "Change the Narrator!!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator is bad, so it's hard to know if that will stop you buying the book or not. I like Daisy, so I'm willing to put up with Mia Chiaromonte, but wow, it's a lot to put up with. She is terrible with accents, mispronounces words, and puts the emphasis on the wrong word. For example, the, "what?" at the end of the sentence completely flummoxes her. It's really too bad because the narrator for the first few books in the series was good. If you can overlook the pretty bad narration, then go for it. The book is good.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Murder on the Flying Scotsman: A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Carola Dunn
    • Narrated By Mia Chiaromonte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (341)
    Performance
    (309)
    Story
    (308)

    On board the Flying Scotsman, the famous London-to-Edinburgh train, Daisy meets an old schoolfellow, Anne Bretton. Anne, along with all of her relatives, is en route to visit the deathbed of the family scion and notorious miser, Alistair McGowan. As it currently stands, Alistair's will leaves the entire family fortune to his brother Albert, and the rest of the family is rushing to his side, each hoping to convince him to change his will in their favor.

    Kindle Customer says: "Enjoyable romp despite the narration"
    "Terrible accents"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator is terrible. Accents are terrible, pronunciation is terrible, and emphasis is often on the wrong world. Terrible. But the story is good, and I enjoyed it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Chocolate Scam: Death by Chocolate, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Sally Berneathy
    • Narrated By Sarianna Gregg
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (76)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (73)

    Finally, Rick has agreed to sign the divorce papers and give Lindsay her freedom! She is sitting in her lawyer's office waiting for him when she gets the call. Rick is dead. Murdered by a bomb that blew up his car in his own driveway. Lindsay is his sole heir. Or is she? She's never met any of Rick's family. Though he told her various conflicting stories about them, she came to believe they didn't exist, that Rick was an alien stranded here when the mother ship left without him.

    Debra Fabiszak says: "Great!"
    "Good Enough"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is good enough if you can't find something else to read and want a cozy. Like the others, the sense of place is non-existent. The mention of the Plaza is not enough to set this in Kansas City, and the author should either focus on that a bit more or drop it entirely. It's irritating if you are actually FROM Kansas City, as I am. But if you aren't, then that won't matter to you.

    My main complaints about this series are two: narration and the behavior of the main character. First, the narration is absurd. It's overly dramatic and not in line with the characters. The narrator does not always pronounce words correctly, a flaw I find unforgivable in a professional talker. Her child voices are much too young sounding and indicate a complete lack of understanding about children, and her female voices are simpering. I would never, ever seek out this narrator. Second, the main character behaves oddly, as does her cop boyfriend, especially regarding intimacy. No wonder her estranged husband believes he can still win her back. Regardless, it stretches credulity to believe that a court would not have simply ordered Rick to sign the divorce papers by now, or proceeded with the divorce without his signature. It's lazy to keep this storyline going beyond the first book, in my opinion.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Look Both Ways: Witch City Mystery Series #3

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Carol J. Perry
    • Narrated By C. S. E Cooney
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (111)
    Performance
    (101)
    Story
    (101)

    When Lee Barrett spots the same style oak bureau she once had as a child on the WICH-TV show Shopping Salem, she rushes to the antiques shop and buys the piece. Just like the beloved bureau she lost in a fire, this one has secret compartments. It also comes with an intriguing history: It was purchased in an estate sale from a home where a famous local murder took place. The day after the bureau is delivered, Lee returns to the antiques shop and finds the owner dead.

    Elisabeth says: "Can be read as a stand alone"
    "Odd Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is fine, although the heroine calling her stomach her "tummy" is an example of some of the ways in which the characters seem silly, like grown up children. But I don't mind that much. What does detract from the book is the way the narrator speaks with an odd clipped cadence. She has a strange way of "lilting" a question, with the rise in the middle of a word rather than at the end. It's actually a good match for the somewhat childish characters, but I find it off-putting.

    I know this kind of observation is off-topic for a mystery novel of this type, but it's enough to bother me. I have listened to all of the books in this series, so clearly it doesn't stop me, but I'd never binge listen to them. There is too much here that seems discordant to me to be truly enjoyable.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Malice at the Palace

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2996)
    Performance
    (2779)
    Story
    (2755)

    While my beau, Darcy, is off on a mysterious mission, I am once again caught between my high birth and empty purse. I am therefore relieved to receive a new assignment from the queen - especially one that includes lodging. The king's youngest son, George, is to wed Princess Marina of Greece, and I shall be her companion at the supposedly haunted Kensington Palace. My duties are simple: help Marina acclimate to English life, show her the best of London, and, above all, dispel any rumors about George's libertine history.

    Archer says: "Is Darcy becoming another Daniel Sullivan?"
    "Ending left me feeling cheated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a great installment in the series, and it's clear that the future is set up for some interesting developments, but the very last few word of the book left me feeling cheated. If the next volume doesn't start up right where this one left off, I'll be very sad indeed.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Catering to Nobody

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Diane Mott Davidson
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (639)
    Performance
    (520)
    Story
    (515)

    Get ready for a smorgasbord of delicious suspense prepared by Goldy Bear, an irrepressible mistress of menus and amateur sleuth. Filled with a cast of colorful characters and superb recipes, Catering to Nobody is the first in a series that has made Diane Mott Davidson a best-selling author and the Queen of the Culinary Mystery.

    Nancy says: "Surprises"
    "Not Bad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This first book is not bad if you can stand it when words are mispronounced (and Rosenblat never does that...but she did) and when details are wrong. The book suffers from inadequate editing and results in scenes where characters in the room seem to be forgotten by the author, details of events are wrong (e.g.: she has a scene with a stick-shift driver's ed car, and the author does not describe driving that kind of car accurately to the detriment of the story, and she actually gets a couple steps wrong in two recipes), and in the end the villain and hero have weird motivations and actions that don't match their characters or their ages. But if you listen to books like this for a bit of fluff and fun, this one is as good a choice as any. Buy on sale, and FYI: this takes place in the late 1980s or early 1990s, so it feels a bit old.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Curiosity Thrilled the Cat: A Magical Cats Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Sofie Kelly
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (868)
    Performance
    (781)
    Story
    (784)

    When librarian Kathleen Paulson moved to Mayville Heights, Minnesota, she had no idea that two strays would nuzzle their way into her life. Owen is a tabby with a catnip addiction and Hercules is a stocky tuxedo cat who shares Kathleen's fondness for Barry Manilow. But beyond all the fur and purrs, there's something more to these felines. When murder interrupts Mayville's Music Festival, Kathleen finds herself the prime suspect.

    Chalis says: "Promising "Cozy" Series"
    "The narrator made me crazy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a fun story with a fun twist, but the narrator has an odd way of speaking, and it's distracting. You should make sure to listen to the preview to see if you can take it. To me, she sounds like she puts periods in the middle of words, e.g.: "LIS.en to the PREE.view to see if you can TAKE. iT." I managed to make peace with my reaction though, and I liked the book. By the second in the series the narrator has toned down the irritating affectation and it's barely noticeable.

    18 of 23 people found this review helpful

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