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Sires

I like mysteries (particularly British ones, historical fiction and nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy.

Chesapeake, OH, United States | Member Since 2004

191
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 75 reviews
  • 148 ratings
  • 770 titles in library
  • 36 purchased in 2014
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  • Devil's Food

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Kerry Greenwood
    • Narrated By Louise Siversen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (90)
    Performance
    (65)
    Story
    (66)

    The third in the Corinna Chapman series, Devil's Food is another irresistible, criminally entertaining read from the master crime writer, Kerry Greenwood.

    Corinna Chapman, baker extraordinaire and amateur sleuth, returns in another delicious mystery.

    Sires says: "Bless You for Bringing Corinna to a US Audience"
    "Bless You for Bringing Corinna to a US Audience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    All is not well for Baker Corinna Chapman despite her successful business and the acquisitions of both a promising young apprentice and a handsome, sensual private eye/partner.

    Jason, her young apprentice, had entered into a deal to produce "famine bread" for a group of monks who had established themselves in a property in Melbourne. Given that their only complaint had been that she had made the bread taste too good, it seems they were seriously into mortifying the flesh. And speaking of mortifying-- her unwashed, unpleasant and hysterical mother shows up at the bakery to demand Corinna's help in finding Corinna's father, who had taken off on a mid-life crisis to find "young flesh". Finally, it appears that her two young shop assistants hae fallen victim to a dangerous diet aid.

    There's other mysteries that Corinna must solve which introduces the reader to some other venues (including one that is distinctly sad), as she searches for her father.

    This one is also narrated by the inestimable Louise Siverson in her warm, kind tones.

    I'm going to take a break in the series here, but I'm sure I will be back to finish the rest. The second book in the series was Heavenly Pleasures: A Corinna Chapman Mystery. The next is Trick or Treat: A Corinna Chapman Mystery.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Just One Damned Thing After Another: The Chronicles of St Mary's, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Jodi Taylor
    • Narrated By Zara Ramm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet. Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History.

    Carolyn says: "Book Lovers Nirvana"
    "Action Adventure Time Travel Novel w/ Good Reader"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In case this bothers a reader: this is a first person point of view story. It also contains some (brief) sex and adult language. Probably I wouldn't have even thought about either factor except someone had rated it as one star because it wasn't CLEAN enough. I really hate that term applied to books, unless someone if referring to the condition of the pages rather than the content. The setting is the UK at some near future point in time.

    Any way, the heroine, a woman who has completed her doctorate in history, is recruited by an old teacher who once at a pivotal moment in her life provided guidance, into a time travel project. There's lots of action and adventure as she has to cope not just with being sent back to dangerous time periods, but also with problems from the future.

    People who enjoy Connie Willis' time travel books or Kage Bakers novels of the Company might enjoy at least this first book. It's complete in itself although it is part of a series. It's also science fiction rather than romance.

    I would also point out that despite the enthusiasm of what I assume are fans, that Taylor hasn't yet reached the skill level of the other authors I have mentioned. If it were possible to give half stars I would give the story 3.5 stars. On at least two occasions the author dumps a load of information on the reader rather than feeding it bit by bit. Luckily the narrator, who I do not think I've encountered before, was able to wend her way through it. I'm not sure how I would have reacted had I been reading the print version at those points-- probably put it down for a while. But I'm sure I would have gone back because I've developed a bit of soft spot for the heroine.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Windermere Witness

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Rebecca Tope
    • Narrated By Julia Franklin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (5)

    Following a personal tragedy, florist Persimmon “Simmy” Brown has moved to the Lake District to be nearer her parents. But her peace is shattered when, at a wedding, the bride's brother is found brutally murdered. As the florist of the wedding and one of the last people to talk to Mark Baxter alive, Simmy gradually becomes involved with the relatives. When events take another sinister turn, Simmy finds herself at the heart of a murder investigation.

    Sires says: "3 1/2 Stars- I Was Impatient for the End to Come"
    "3 1/2 Stars- I Was Impatient for the End to Come"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Persimmon Petals is a florist shop in the Lake District owned by Persimmon "Simmy" Brown. She was named Persimmon by her hippy parents, who now run a B&B in the same area of Great Britain. She has just finished the floral arrangements for an important wedding when one of the groomsmen is discovered dead. The prime suspects are the members of the wedding and it seems that Simmy, although she does not know a great deal about the situation becomes a witness that both the police and the family turn to.

    Tope can write fascinating mysteries and she can also write long, rambling stories. This, unfortunately, is a long, rambling story. I did enjoy the character development. No one of the main characters is particularly likeable. I did at times want to smack Simmy for her cluelessness, but I am curious where the author is going to take the series. About 2/3 of the way through the book I wanted the end to come faster. I did think that some of the things that happened should have happened on screen rather than Simmy arriving after the action is over but in time for the explanation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • It Happens in the Dark: A Mallory Novel, Book 11

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Carol O'Connell
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (46)

    The reviews called it "A Play to Die For" after the woman was found dead in the front row. It didn't seem so funny the next night, when another body was found - this time the playwright's, his throat slashed.

    Detective Kathy Mallory takes over, but no matter what she asks, no one seems to be giving her a straight answer. The only person - if "person" is the right word - who seems to be clear is the ghostwriter. Every night, an unseen backstage hand chalks up line changes and messages on a blackboard. And the ghostwriter is now writing Mallory into the play itself, a play about a long-ago massacre that may not be at all fictional.

    Nancy J says: "Fascinating!"
    "Competent if You Are Already a Fan of the Series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Read by Barbara Rosenblat who does a good job although she sounds a bit old for the twenty something Mallory. However a lot of the story is told from the viewpoint of other characters which works out pretty well. No dispute, Rosenblat is a good narrator and her work on the Amelia Peabody novels would be hard to top.

    Back to this novel though. Kathy Mallory is brought in to investigate the death of the author of a Broadway play. In the Audience. At the end of the first Act. And then she finds that this is the second death during a performance of the play. But it appears that both deaths might have been natural. So Kathy has to work back toward the beginning and forward toward the conclusion.

    She also has an older case that is involved with the current mystery.

    Because I've liked Mallory ever since her first appearance in 1995. Therefore, it was easy enough to fill in the bits that the author doesn't really explain. Mallory seems less ambiguous and more annoying. The ghost writer starts out rather effectively but loses steam before the last revelation. Poor Charles is treated badly by both Mallory AND the author.

    So go with this one if you like the series, otherwise go back to the first book in the series and read forward.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Now You See Her [Blackstone]

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Cecelia Tishy
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (75)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Regina Cutter is the mother of two grown children and the victim of her husband's midlife crisis. Out of a marriage, an income, and a place to live, she has relocated to Boston's Back Bay where her psychic aunt bequeathed her a townhouse...and some paranormal ability.

    Tina Hinrichs says: "very dissapointed!"
    "Book Lacks Focus Good Narration Though"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this book because it was a whispersync deal at a good price and because it was narrated by the late Anna Fields who I had heard good things about.

    In the hands of a less skilled narrator I would have probably abandoned it in the middle when the story line seemed to lose focus.

    A Boston cold case detective consults with a psychic about the murder of a prominent Bostonian's son that he himself had investigated decades before. A man was arrested and convicted but there are doubts about his guilt. Meanwhile Reggie, the psychic, a divorced former corporate wife, is brought by a realtor to check out a house that the new owners thought was haunted.

    It felt like this was not the first book in the series but I checked on both Fantastic Fiction and Amazon and couldn't find a prior book-- there is a later one. While I have read books where the author deliberately made it seem that there had been prior books, this one made me feel a little off kilter. There was just too many loose ends like the person that Reggie was always waiting to hear from and the biker with whom she is co-parenting a beagle.

    I might pick up another book by this author if it was the right price or a loan but I wouldn't go checking for her books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • An Artificial Night: An October Daye Novel, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Seanan McGuire
    • Narrated By Mary Robinette Kowal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (329)
    Performance
    (250)
    Story
    (247)

    Changeling knight in the court of the Duke of Shadowed Hills, October “Toby” Daye has survived numerous challenges that would destroy fae and mortal alike. Now Toby must take on a nightmarish new assignment. Someone is stealing both fae and mortal children — and all signs point to Blind Michael. When the young son of Toby’s closest friends is snatched from their Northern California home and his sister falls into a coma-like state, the situation becomes way too personal.

    Ellen says: "Misleading Description Book 2 / Book 3"
    "Third in Series and Quite Good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    By the time I'm writing this the October Daye series has reached at least 7 books so I'm a bit behind, or I've been reading them out of order, which is entirely possible. Except for some references that I had to look up, the book stands alone pretty well. I generally like Seanan McGuire's writing though and I thought this story about children, Fae and human being stolen from their beds is fresh and interesting.

    The story opens with October meeting her fetch-- the look alike who appears to someone before her death. The fetch is named May Daye which is painful given the fact that May is the opposite month from October and the use of May Day as code for a distress signal. Then the children of friends of her is stolen and Toby sets out to rescue them.

    While it's not the greatest Urban Fantasy I have ever read it is quite good and entertaining.

    Mary Robinette Kowal also does a good job with the narration. I found this an engrossing experience.



    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Cruelest Month: A Three Pines Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Louise Penny
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1038)
    Performance
    (691)
    Story
    (678)

    It's spring in the tiny, forgotten village; buds are on the trees, and the first flowers are struggling through the newly thawed earth. But not everything is meant to return to life. When some villagers decide to celebrate Easter with a séance at the Old Hadley House, they are hoping to rid the town of its evil - until one of their party dies of fright.

    Leah says: "Excellent!"
    "Death in Three Pines -- Mystery with Bite"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Up to this point the mysteries (2 prior books) involving Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec have been on the cozy side, with the inhabitants of the small village located a couple of hours from Montreal depicted as pleasantly off kilter. However, in this book Penny digs deeper into the character of the villages to paint a darker picture.

    It's Easter and the inhabitants of Three Pines hold a seance. A person dies-- murdered or a heart attack-- or maybe both.

    While investigating this mystery Gamache also is having to deal with an episode from his past that is reaching its tentacles into his present and figure out who among his subordinates might be in alliance with his enemies.

    The ending is satisfying although not everything is solved.

    Really enjoyed the narrator also. Cosham's French sounds elegant although I've seen some complaints about his accent, not Québécois but more standard in accent. Very pleasant and easy to listen to though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Bones of Paris

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Laurie R. King
    • Narrated By Jefferson Mays
    Overall
    (270)
    Performance
    (237)
    Story
    (233)

    New York Times best-selling author Laurie R. King garners widespread acclaim for her suspenseful novels rich with historical detail. Set in the vibrant Paris Jazz Age, The Bones of Paris introduces private investigator Harris Stuyvesant, an American agent who’s been given the plum assignment of locating beautiful young model Philippa Crosby. But when Philippa’s trail ends at the Théâtre du Grand-Guignol in Montmartre, Stuyvesant discovers a world where art meets sexual depravity - and where a savage killer lurks in the shadows.

    ShySusan says: "I'm not sure..."
    "Slow Starting but Well Written and Interesting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    King has a way of pulling the reader into what is considered objectively, very improbable stories. This novel set in Paris in the late summer of 1929 is a slow starter. It's the second in the series which may have contributed to some problems orienting myself but I thought it did pretty well as a stand alone. It's just that there is a large cast of characters and introducing them all took quite a while.

    A young woman has disappeared in Paris and her concerned mother and uncle have contacted Harris Stuyvesant, former G-Man and current Private Investigator, to attempt to find her. Harris begins his investigation with the disappeared woman's room then expands out to some of the luminaries (imaginary and real) of the right and left banks of the Seine.

    King introduces the reader to the Théâtre du Grand-Guignol of Paris, which specialized in grisly horror shows and to the equally grisly cemeteries and catacombs of Paris as well. Harris acts like a rambunctious American male of the period. At times he sounds like some of the tough male characters from popular fiction of the era. King has softened him up a bit when it comes to race and women though so he's quite relatable for the modern reader.

    The narrator, Jefferson May does a tough guy edge to his reading that is quite appealing. He also handles the French language bits with aplomb and assurance. I can't say how accurate he was but I believed he was speaking French.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Invitation to Die: An Emily Castles Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Helen Smith
    • Narrated By Alison Larkin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (8)

    Twenty-six-year-old Emily Castles is out of work…again. So when famous romance author Morgana Blakely offers her a job helping out at a conference in London, Emily accepts. Just as eagerly, American blogger Winnie Kraster accepts an invitation from Morgana to attend as a guest, not realizing she has, in effect, accepted an invitation to die. As a cast of oddball characters assembles at the conference hotel, grievances, differences, and secrets begin to emerge. When Winnie goes missing, and then is found murdered nearby, Emily begins to suspect that someone involved with the conference is responsible.

    Melanie says: "Hilarious, quirky, engaging mystery"
    "Murder at a Romance Convention of a British Sort"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An American Blogger wins a writing contest and ends up invited to a Romance Novelist's convention in England. She is delighted. She loves reading and she is eager to meet the authors of the books she has been reviewing. Of course she isn't to know that this is her last invitation.

    Smith's part time sleuth, Emily Castles has been hired to perform temporary services at the convention. She finds herself in the midst of as fine a group of English eccentrics as she is likely to meet and ends up investigating the death of the Blogger.

    I really liked this novel. It's a bit shorter than I normally listen to, but I did like Smith's satire. I found myself backing up the file to listen to the romance scene written by one of the characters in the story for the contest. I thought it was wickedly funny and reminded me a bit of the old Purple Prose contest that used to be hosted by one of the early popular Romance blogs-- (AAR? I can't remember the name unfortunately.)

    Anyway, while not a fabulous mystery this was a very fun read and come recommended. Also look out for the next book in the series!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Denise Grover Swank
    • Narrated By Frances Fuller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (75)
    Performance
    (71)
    Story
    (68)

    For Rose Gardner, working at the DMV on a Friday afternoon is bad even before she sees a vision of herself dead. She's had plenty of visions, usually boring ones like someone's toilet's overflowed, but she's never seen one of herself before. When her overbearing momma winds up murdered on her sofa instead, two things are certain: There isn't enough hydrogen peroxide in the state of Arkansas to get that stain out, and Rose is the prime suspect.

    Merry says: "Loved the book"
    "Romantic Suspense with ESP and Southern Setting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm trying to mention all of the things that might make this book either annoying or attractive to a reader. It's first person, it's more romantic suspense than mystery. There's a twist at the end but it's unnecessary and out of left field.

    The heroine is a beat down southern employee of the DMV in a small town where everyone knows everyone else's business. She also is set aside because she has visions that she immediately blurts out to whoever she is talking to when they occur, making the town (for some odd reason) think she is peculiar. On this date she is trying to process a license renewal when she has a vision of herself dead and passes out.

    She lives with her abusive mother, has a cute neighbor named Joe and finally decides that she is going to escape from her life of not so quiet desperation. So she sits down with a Wal-Mart slip and makes a list of things she wants to do before she dies which is where the title comes from because the list contains 28 items.

    I was enjoying it in a casual way up to about half way through it, knew who one of the villains was because there was no attempt to hide it, and then revelations occurred that just made the whole story less interesting.

    This is another book that I'm glad I bought at the reduced whispersync price. The narrator was good but I lost interest after the revelations, skipped to the Kindle version and skimmed to the end to see it was going to get any better. It doesn't.

    So, if you like first person romantic suspense with some ESP set in the south and are not too demanding about the suspense part then this is worth the reduced price. It just didn't do it for me. I thought the author got sloppy with the revelations that killed some of the interest I had in the characters up to that point.

    This is the first book in a series but I'm not going to be buying any more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Broken Homes: A Rivers of London Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Ben Aaronovitch
    • Narrated By Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
    Overall
    (178)
    Performance
    (165)
    Story
    (167)

    My name is Peter Grant, and I am a keeper of the secret flame - whatever that is. Truth be told, there's a lot I still don't know. My superior Nightingale, previously the last of England's wizardly governmental force, is trying to teach me proper schooling for a magician's apprentice. But even he doesn't have all the answers. Mostly I'm just a constable sworn to enforce the Queen’s Peace, with the occasional help from some unusual friends and a well-placed fire blast.

    Cliff says: "Finally, it's out!"
    "Narrator 5 Stars as Before Story a Bit Wonky"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've bought and loved all of the prior Peter Grant. Even in one case when I had been given an ARC of Midnight Riot (the US title for the first Peter Grant book) I also bought the Audible download because of the excellent narration by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. Therefore it pains me a great deal to have to say that I do not think this story is quite up to the standard of the first three.

    There's a lack of cohesion to the plot which bounces around from story line to story line without settling down. Then I didn't find the ending particularly satisfying. There's a big unanswered question at the end. If you need to be spoiled before starting the book look at the Amazon reviews. Look for the review that Tells All.

    Quite liked the title given the theme of the novel and Peter gets to display his architectural background as well as some fascinating tidbits about London. Numerous characters from past books make appearances. Although the story line about the Faceless Man moves forward a bit, it also started to feel like there were too many characters.

    New readers go back to the first book and start there. You need to be invested in the characters and the story before you can really appreciate this one.

    I also saw where the series has been optioned for television. I would be really pleased if it did go into production.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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