Deadmistress is a good cozy mystery written by Carole B. Shmurak. The story centers around Susan Lombardi who is s a professor at a Connecticut university who used to teach at an exclusive private girl's high school, Wittenbury Academy. After the unlikeable headmistress at Wittenbury is murdered, Susan investigates the death to satisfy her curiosity under the guise of helping to clear the name of a teacher friend who is the primary suspect.
Throughout the story, we are introduced to several interesting characters, including Susan’s accommodating husband Swash, her best friend, Elaine, and an adult student who holds a private investigator’s license, Mark. With the help of her posse and a few high school students, Susan helps solve the murder of the headmistress quite nicely.
Barbara Benjamin-Creel did a great job narrating. Her inflictions and tone were appropriate and she exhibited the right amount of “spunk” and cheekiness needed in a cozy mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed her reading!
Empty Shell is another great thriller by Ashley Fontainne.The story centers around Melody and Jack Dickinson, who after 20 years of marriage are in a bit of a rut, which is not that unusual for an "old married couple." We learn almost immediately that Jack is having an affair with one of Melody's coworkers, Serena Rowland. Soon after, we learn that Serena was murdered and Jack is arrested for the death of his mistress.
The rest of the story focuses on solving the murder and Melody coping with all of it. Melody is surrounded by great supporting characters in friends and family. Her faith also has a big part in this book.
Sara Morsey did a fantastic job narrating, differentiating between male and female characters. Her voice portrayals are consistent throughout and she narrates with appropriate changes in inflection and tone to set the proper mood.
Chosen: Rune Gate Cycle, Book 2 is another enjoyable story in the new urban fantasy series by Mark Cooper. In the first book we are introduced to Alexandra Yorke who is a clairvoyant witch working with the local police on a murder case. With the help of her friends, Alex locates the murder and discovers he is from another realm. When attempting to capture the murder, Alex and company travel through the rune gate to the other dimension.
Chosen takes off where Rune Gate ended. Alex and friends are now in the magical world of Othala. The group head off to the capital to warn the queen about the plot against the kingdom, all the while looking out for the murderer from the first book. They finally capture the murderer only to have him set free again. Also there is a side plot involving the queen and her hidden agenda involving Alex.
Like with the first book, Mikael Naramore's narrated. He had differing voices for male and female characters, and expressed frustration and urgency when appropriate. I thoroughly enjoyed his interpretation.
Ted Saves the World written by Bryan Cohen and narrated by Steven Jay Cohen is an ambitious YA novel about seemingly ordinary high school teenagers who discover who they are and what matters to them most. The story kept my interest throughout and I just "had to" listen to one more chapter before bed and before work each day.
Fun YA fantasy of boy who gets superpowers.Fun YA fantasy of boy who gets superpowers.
The story centers on nerdy Ted and conceited Erica who end up saving their classmates after an attack on their school, and ultimately, the world. Ted is given otherworldly abilities when a gang of undead thugs invade this realm. Erica was brought back to life to protect Ted and explain why he was given powers. Ted has two loyal friends who also join in and solve the mystery of Erica's death.
Steven Jay Cohen's narration really brought the characters to life, completely drawing me into the story. He uses a variety of voices, giving all characters their own unique voice. I've listened to a few of his narrations and he only seems to get better with each story!
A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities is a collection of short essays of life's observations that are very reminiscent of Erma Bombeck. All of the stories were well written and moving ~ some of them were extremely funny.
Carrie Lee Martz did a great job narrating and contributed to my enjoyment of this short audio book.
At almost one hour, it's the perfect length for my commute to and from work. I can't wait to listen to Barbara Venkataraman's next collection of short essays!
Botanicaust by Tam Linsey is a very unique and compelling novel. It is a few hundred years after the Apocalypse where most of the known world died after genetic alterations were made to certain vegetation life, which had the opposite affect than anticipated. [When you think about how many of today’s crops are genetically engineered, this plot is totally plausible!] Most natural food sources are destroyed and the only way to save the human race is to photosynthesize a person’s skin so they are less dependent on food.
The story centers around Tula who believes photosynthetic skin can save the human race. She works in the department that determines whether or not a person who is captured should be “altered” to the plant way of life or euthanized. It is clear she has grown weary of her role and does not believe that if a person refuses conversion, they should be put to death. She falls in love with Levi, a member of a community that is very similar to the Amish, who is captured and soon scheduled for euthanization. Tula soon helps Levi escape his imprisonment and they set off on a quest to find a cure for his son who is terminally ill.
Meghan Kelly did an excellent job narrating. Her narration flows naturally at an even pace. She was easy to listen to, having differing voices for all characters, male and female. She really contributed to my enjoyment of the book and I just couldn’t stop listening ~ I listened to all 10 hours in one day!
Rune Gate by Mark Cooper is a very enjoyable beginning to a new urban fantasy series by by Mark Cooper. The story centers around Alexandra Yorke who is a clairvoyant working with the local police on a murder case. Alex is also a witch with unusual powers who can see into a victim's soul and experience how they died, like she is re-living how they died.
Mikael Naramore's narration was good and he was easy to listen to. He had differing voices for male and female characters, and expressed frustration and urgency when appropriate.
I'm very glad I took a chance on this urban fantasy novel and thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. While historical fiction is my usual go to read, I also enjoy a good action and adventure novel. This audio book satisfied my quest for something different. I will definitely pick up the next book in the series!
Protected by Cindy Hogan is an adventurous YA novel that is well written, fast paced, and consistent throughout. It is the sequel to Watched: Murder Was Just the Beginning, the first book in the Watched series. Not having read or listened to Watched, all you basically need to know for this book is that the heroine of the series, Christy, is a brainiac 10th grader who goes a high school trip to Washington, D.C. where she witnesses the murder of a senator's aide. In Protected, Christy is back from her high school trip and the terrorists who killed the aide in DC are now after her.
The majority of the book is focused on Christy entering into the FBI's Witness Protection Program, where her parents believe she died in a car crash. She moves across the country and starts training to assume her new identity as a varsity cheerleader in a new high school (keep in mind she is a true nerdy girl). Her training is more like boot camp, with a team of professionals training her in everything from gymnastics to martial arts. Besides taking lessons on self defense, she is also taught awareness of her surroundings and knowing possible escape routes at all times.
Laci Morgan did an excellent job narrating. She portrayed Christy as a likeable young woman surrounded by unbelievable events. Laci had great intonation and pace, keeping the story suspenseful throughout. She had differing voices for male and female characters, and expressed frustration and urgency when appropriate without becoming shrill. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this audio book!
Back to Christmas by Dennis Canfield is an entertaining holiday tale about a family that has lost their holiday spirit due to gadgets, devices, and other electronic media. The family is threatened with being placed on the permanent Naughty List unless they do three acts of kindness in two days. To help the family find their way off the list, Santa enlists the help of an elderly elf who has also lost the meaning of Christmas himself, and the help of his brother who lives in the South Pole who uses penguins instead of reindeer to pull his sleigh.
What I loved most about this story is its message: make time for family without any distractions. I learned this first hand several years ago when we took our two teen daughters on a trip to Ireland. We took no cell phones, chargers, or other portable devices. The girls were surly and non-communicative at first (like most teens) until their iPods lost their charges and they were forced to look out the window as we drove around the country. Within two days, the girls started providing suggestions on what they wanted to see and experience, rather than merely shrugging their shoulders. To this day the entire family reflects on this awesome vacation as our best ever!
Ralph Lister's narration really brought the characters to life, completely drawing me into the story. He uses a variety of voices, giving all characters their own unique voice, and seamlessly switches between genders and characters with ease.
The Deep: The Island Series, Book 3 is another excellent story by Jen Minkman. The Deep begins where The Waves left off, with Leia and Walt sailing across the bay to the new world with about 20 other islanders. Keep in mind that we are 150 years after the Apocalypse where most of the known world died from biological warfare. When they first arrive in the brave new world, the citizens appear nice and welcoming. But soon Walt and Leia realize how drastically different the society is by observing one citizen put to death by lethal injection for a minor infraction without the benefit of a trial, or even the opportunity for explanation. When Walt and Leia soon decide to return home, they are prohibited from leaving and instead are subjected to terrible experiments.
While Leia is exploring the new world, Alyssa is helping the citizens of Hope Harbour deal with the reunification of the Island. There is a group of religious fanatics wrecking havoc on the island and destroying all attempts to bring the islanders together. Alyssa does a great job facilitating and bringing the two sides of the together. She befriends Ben and finds him a job and home, and then meets his brother Saul (the former leader of the manor) and quickly brings him back into society after his self imposed isolation.
I feel this trilogy went full circle, leaving no loose ends. The Deep is filled with several sympathetic and believable characters and it packs an emotional punch. It has joy, excitement, attraction, apprehension, fear, affection, betrayal, love, sacrifice, sadness and grief. What more could a reader ask for in an audio book?
This audio version of The Red Badge of Courage should help many high school students get through English class. It is frequently included in high school curriculum because of its distinctive style, color imagery, and ironic tone.
The story centers around Henry, an idealistic teenager in the Union Army during the Civil War, who flees his regiment at the first sight of combat. As the story unfolds, you see into Henry's inner psyche and the conflicting emotions he is feeling. You see Henry's cowardice at first, his slow maturation, and eventual heroism. By the end of the book, the listener is rewarded by seeing Henry become an experienced and successful soldier.
Steven Jay Cohen did an excellent job narrating. He brought the characters to life, using a variety of accents and giving each character their own distinct voice. I could almost feel the pain that many of the wounded soldiers were experiencing. Bravo!
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