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M. Byerly

Member Since 2010

48
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 30 reviews
  • 158 ratings
  • 1038 titles in library
  • 106 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
4

  • Designated Daughters

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Margaret Maron
    • Narrated By Margaret Maron
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (36)

    Surrounded by her children, her extended family, and what seems like half of Colleton County, a semi-conscious Rachel breaks weeks of pained silence with snippets of stories as randomly pieced together as a well-worn patchwork quilt. But the Knott family's joy quickly gives way to shock: less than an hour later, Aunt Rachel is found dead in her bed, smothered with a pillow. Who would kill a woman on her deathbed? Was it an act of mercy, or murder?

    Janet says: "Bewildered by change of narrators ..............."
    "Why the change in narration?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm reviewing only the narration. I truly enjoy Ms. Maron's books and have listened to this entire series. For me personally, I was unable to appreciate the change in narrators this late in the game. CJ Critt has done an excellent job on the series and "is" Deborah Knott in my mind. Ms. Maron, although a wonderful author, does not have the experience in narrating and I am disappointed in this change. She does not sound like a woman of Deborah's age or from that region.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Hard Row: A Deborah Knott Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Margaret Maron
    • Narrated By C. J. Critt
    Overall
    (85)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (32)

    When a local farmer - known for his severe treatment of migrant workers - turns up savagely murdered, Judge Deborah and her new Deputy Sheriff husband soon wade into a quagmire of exploitation. But as murders mushroom, the two uncover secrets that threaten both their community and their new life together.

    M. Byerly says: "Still enjoying this series ..."
    "Still enjoying this series ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I absolutely love the author's descriptions of North Carolina and the people there. CJ Critt's narration is so enjoyable. The down home phrases and terms of endearment (Shug or Sug -- short for sugar) are particularly sweet for me as I heard them throughout my childhood. She gives Deborah's character a no nonsense manner, but with a definite soft hearted side, and I love her accent in the books. The books are mysteries, but they are also about Deborah's large (LARGE) family and their lives and you can't help but love them and get involved in what's going on in their lives. It can be confusing with many characters mentioned. If you go to the author's website, she has a family tree for this series. :) This particular mystery is quite good and I was unable to "solve" it until all was revealed. Highly recommend the series, but make sure you start at the beginning. JB

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Never Trust a Pirate: Scandal at the House of Russell, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Anne Stuart
    • Narrated By Xe Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (198)
    Performance
    (180)
    Story
    (177)

    Madeleine Russell counted on making a splendid match. Instead, a devastating family scandal left her orphaned and penniless...and determined to uncover the villain who disgraced and killed her father. The beautiful, quick-witted Maddy disguises herself as a household servant, vowing to work in her prime suspect’s house and learn the truth. But the closer she gets to the man who may have ruined her family, the more she feels drawn in by his wicked reputation.

    Rosemary says: "The 2nd book in the series as good as the 1st!"
    "Another fun listen!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Was surprised that this book followed such a similar plot line as the first, but never the less, I recommend it as an entertaining audible book. I absolutely love Xe Sands' narration. No, she doesn't have a British accent. But, what she does have is one of the sexiest voices I've heard, a great ability to do female AND male voices very well and smoothly shift back and forth. The characters are fun and sexy and there's adventures at sea. As before, there's mystery and romance (pretty steamy) and humor. Eagerly awaiting the next book! JB

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Two Alone

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Sandra Brown
    • Narrated By Joyce Bean
    Overall
    (221)
    Performance
    (192)
    Story
    (189)

    Beautiful and self-confident businesswoman Rusty Carlson was hurt, terrified and alone with a man she feared. But one thing was certain – she would surely die without his help. Vietnam vet Cooper Landry had a deep-rooted grudge against beautiful women like Rusty. Experience had taught him they were takers. But he’d survived far worse dangers, and this time he’d be damned if he’d let her risk his chance for survival.

    Angelia says: "Sensuality, believable characters, totally hot!."
    "I usually like Sandra Brown ....."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't want to be harsh, the book wasn't "terrible", it just wasn't that good. The story line of the characters constantly bickering was annoying, regardless of the "sexual tension" building. I'm never impressed when the whole basis is two people who can't stand each other but can't keep their hands off each other. Then after all the buildup, the "scene" was not that enthralling. The conversation wasn't witty or entertaining or seductive. Ms. Bean has exceled, I'm sure, in some of her narrations, but this wasn't one of them. She sounded like she was reading, if that makes sense. A good narrator makes you imagine that that voice "is" the character. Her male voices, frankly, were just bad. I just can't recommend this as a good listen. JB

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Never Kiss a Rake

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Anne Stuart
    • Narrated By Xe Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (292)
    Performance
    (265)
    Story
    (265)

    Bryony Russell and her two sisters are left destitute by the disgrace and unexpected death of their father, a wealthy shipping magnate. He left a cryptic note, and Bryony is determined to find the real villain and clear her father’s name. In disguise as a servant, Bryony infiltrates the home her of father’s business partner to find proof of his guilt...or innocence. It’s not just clues that Bryony finds, but temptation too.... Adrian Bruton, Earl of Kilmartyn, immediately suspects there is something not quite right about his new housekeeper.

    Marcheta says: "Liked story, didn't like American reading"
    "Wow!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listen to LOTS of audio books, many of them in the historical romance genre. Many are quite good and I have some favorite authors and narrators. But, I was new to Anne Stuart's work and Xe Sands' narration. It has been a LONG time since I came across one I just couldn't stop listening to. The story line was great, a mystery to solve and a romance. The characters were likable and I loved Bryony and the Earl of Kilmartyn, the lead characters. Banter that bounced back and forth between humorous and erotic. Xe Sands' narration was incredible, what talent! I'm already searching for more books she has lent her beautiful voice to. Highly recommend. JB

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Winter's Child

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Margaret Maron
    • Narrated By C. J. Critt
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (36)

    When local handyman J.D. Rouse is found dead in his pickup truck with a bullet in his head, the mayhem - and the body count - grows. But Dwight launches his own investigation after his son and ex-wife turn up missing from their home in Virginia.

    M. Byerly says: "Another good one ... but ...."
    "Another good one ... but ...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Still enjoying this good series. Love the characters and all the storylines surrounding the large Knott family. Excellent mystery in this story. My only criticism comes regarding the snide political remarks starting to creep in. I appreciate that the author has her views regarding past and present politicians, as we all do. But, if I wanted real life politics thrown in and her views, I'd read a book on politics instead of a mystery fiction book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bootlegger's Daughter

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Margaret Maron
    • Narrated By C.J. Critt
    Overall
    (229)
    Performance
    (128)
    Story
    (126)

    Attorney Deborah Knott is North Carolina's answer to V.I. Warshawski, a legal sleuth with a knack for sniffing out the most baffling crimes. Deborah has just done the unthinkable: entered the heated race for judge of old-boy-ruled Colleton County. The only female candidate, she's busy reeling in voters and giving campaign speeches. There couldn't be a worse time for Gayle Whitehead to beg Deborah to investigate the 18-year-old unsolved murder of Gayle's mother, Janie.

    Veronica says: "Excellent -book"
    "Wonderful Series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love a good series... one you can settle into and get to know the characters ... and this is just such a series. I'm finishing book #11 now and can honestly say, I like the series and the characters more with each book. I love the consistency of having the same narrator, CJ Critt, and like the fact that she doesn't "overdo" the southern "thang". She has a comfortable, easy listening voice with just enough country in it to fit the setting, in my opinion.

    Deborah Knott, the main character, is an intelligent, educated woman in her 30's as the series begins. She's been around the block a few times and after a bit of a rough start when she first left home, she settled down, earned a law degree, returned to her hometown in North Carolina and is now running for judge. The stories are a wonderful mix of her life as a judge and her large family, consisting of her father (who was indeed a bootlegger "back in the day") and eleven (yes, 11) older brothers and their wives and assorted nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. That may sound a little much ... but trust me, it all blends well and makes for interesting story lines. Every story has a mystery and somehow Deborah winds up in the middle of it every time, whether by accident or her curiosity that is hard to control. She has an easy way about her and her integrity and feistiness come through in the stories. She still has a respect and love for her country roots, but she's definitely her own woman and there's a lot of humor in the writing.

    I highly recommend these and hope you enjoy them as much as I have. There are some tough stories, but the books are not gritty and depressing, and are more of a cozy mystery series. Mrs. B.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Lord of Darkness

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By Elizabeth Hoyt
    • Narrated By Emma Taylor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (227)
    Performance
    (205)
    Story
    (205)

    Since the death of his first wife, Godric St. John has devoted his nights to protecting the innocent of London disguised as the notorious Ghost of St. Giles. When Lord Griffin Reading discovers Godric's secret double life he presents him with an offer he can't refuse, and Godric finds himself married to a young - and pregnant - stranger. Two years ago Lady Margaret "Megs" Reading lost both her lover and her unborn child - but not before being forced into a marriage of convenience with Godric St. John....

    J-9 says: "BRING BACK ASHFORD MCNAB - PLEASE!!!"
    "Good story, annoying narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Book 5 of the Maiden Lane Series. Loved the characters and story was interesting, but the "voice" given Godric (main character) was, in my opinion, terrible. He was made to sound as if he was very, very, VERY old. He was actually a vibrant, fit 37 year old. I realize he was supposed to be a bit "curmudgeonly" in the beginning, but it was over the top and slow and painful. The story was worth listening to and the series is a good one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Susan Wittig Albert
    • Narrated By Peggity Price
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (18)

    National best-selling author Susan Wittig Albert returns to the small town of Darling, Alabama, in the 1930's, where the Darling Dahlias, the colorful ladies of a garden club, are anything but shrinking violets when it comes to rooting out criminals. The Texas Star herself, Miss Lily Dare, the "fastest woman in the world" is bringing her Dare Devils Flying Circus to Darling. Unfortunately, she's also bringing a whole lot of trouble. As the Dahlias prepare for the annual Watermelon Festival, where they will present the famous female aviatrix with her own Texas Star hibiscus, rumors are flying.

    Linda says: "GREAT STORY OF THE DARLING DAHLIAS"
    "Like going home for a visit ....."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I admit it .... I'm biased. I LOVE Ms. Albert's cozy mysteries. If you're a fan of Andy and Mayberry or "down home" style, I believe you would enjoy this lovely little series. I recommend that you listen in order and get to know the ladies of Darling, Alabama surviving and thriving during the Great Depression. Ms. Albert writes the most wonderful stories of family and homemaking and strong friendships and laughter and mystery and by the end of the first book, you feel like the Dahlias are friends. The narrator, Ms. Price, as always, does a beautiful job of giving each lady her own distinct southern voice ... just the right amount of "southern".... not fake like so many narrators imitating the accent. Don't miss the author's interesting little history lesson at the end of the story as well as the bonus recipes for skincare and more. The only problem is it's always over much too soon. haha (Also recommend Ms. Albert's China Bayles mystery series -- so good!) Mrs. B.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Shattered

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Karen Robards
    • Narrated By Susan Ericksen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (712)
    Performance
    (447)
    Story
    (456)

    With an ailing mother to care for, Lisa Grant takes the first job she can find: research assistant to District Attorney Scott Buchanan. What Lisa expects to be a mind-numbingly boring task turns into anything but when a missing-persons case draws her attention. The details of the case are engrossing: an entire family — father, mother, and two children — disappeared without a trace more than 28 years ago. Except that’s not all: the mother in a photo Lisa finds could be her own twin.

    SassiKassi says: "All that's promised and more."
    "Loved the mystery and the romance!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book just "clicked" for me and I loved it! I was drawn into the plot of the mystery and couldn't wait to solve it. I was so sure I "knew" what had happened, only to realize I was way off base and had to start all over in my solving of the case. lol At the same time, I found myself pulling for Scott and Lisa to get together. Lisa was raised wealthy and priviledged, but was not written or narrated as a "witch" when we meet her in the story. Scott came from a hard childhood, but does not go about with a chip on his shoulder. Their time together as children form the bond of trust they both need as adults. Love the twists and turns of the story. Had a hard time taking a break to do little things like ... my job (lol) until I finished it. I really enjoyed Ms. Ericksen's narration and plan to look for more of her work. I appreciated the richness of her narration through the different characters and their moods. Good mystery, good romance ... best of both worlds!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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