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cstardancer

Kelseyville, CA, United States
  • 9
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  • 17
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  • Blood, Sweets and Tears

  • Bewitched by Chocolate Mysteries, Book 4
  • By: H.Y. Hanna
  • Narrated by: Pearl Hewitt
  • Length: 6 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 86
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 77
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 77

When novice witch Caitlyn Le Fey heads to the outdoor cinema festival at a beautiful English manor, the last thing she expects is for the evening to end in murder. But when a dead man is found with fang marks in his neck and her old vampire uncle, Viktor, is arrested, Caitlyn must use all her newfound magic powers to clear his name.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A book with bite

  • By Julie on 04-17-19

Delightful

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-25-19

I had read the book when it first came out, so I didn't realize how much more I would enjoy listening to the audiobook. I had forgotten many details, so in many instances the story was fresh to me. The delightful surprise was the realization of how many scenes were very funny! As the mystery plot unfolds, one of the characters involved in many crucial events is our heroine's vampire Uncle Viktor, who is a delight.

The plot has numerous red herrings, magic, mystery, danger and a tantalizing advance of the so-far only tempting romance. There is a climactic scene of peril and excitement, and a cliffhanger that follows a satisfying resolution of the book's central mystery. All in all, a very satisfying listen for a fan of the cozy-mystery-supernatural-romance genre.

  • Witch Summer Night's Cream

  • Bewitched by Chocolate Mysteries, Book 3
  • By: H.Y. Hanna
  • Narrated by: Pearl Hewitt
  • Length: 6 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 123
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 114
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 113

Caitlyn is looking forward to celebrating her first Midsummer's Eve in England. But when a teenage girl is mysteriously murdered and a priceless love potion goes missing, she and her cousins are plunged into a puzzling mystery. Is the girl's death connected to the midnight bonfires at the ancient stone circle? What about the two strangers who recently visited the enchanted chocolate shop belonging to the "village witch"? 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Chocolate Magic plus

  • By cstardancer on 03-14-19

Chocolate Magic plus

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-14-19

H.Y. Hanna sets a number of her cozy mysteries in the English countryside, which brings a sense of nostalgic comfort to me, having grown up reading about murder in these settings. Her books, however, bring a modern sense of whimsy and familiar young adult dilemmas into the world she creates. The Bewitched by Chocolate books, voiced perfectly by Pearl Hewitt, are both cozy mysteries and fantasy romance, with an added a unique twist of the idea of chocolate magic.

Witch Summer Night's Cream, as the title suggests, uses the notion that Shakespeare's tale of bewitchment has a basis in fact, which lures characters seeking the referenced potion, each for his own individual desire. This provides numerous possibilities for nefarious motives, which keeps the story moving. The real stars of this book, however, are the quirky characters and a generous dose of humor. It's an enchanting, lighthearted listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Dough Must Go On

  • Oxford Tearoom Mystery Series, Book 9
  • By: H.Y. Hanna
  • Narrated by: Pearl Hewitt
  • Length: 7 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 206
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 189
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 188

Showbiz comes to Oxford in the form of Britain's hottest new talent show, and tearoom owner Gemma Rose gets a peek behind the scenes when she's asked to cater for the event. But with the Old Biddies, entering the contest as England's first "granny band", and her little tabby, Muesli, stealing the limelight, Gemma soon ends up with more than she bargained for... and that's before she comes across a frozen dead body! Now, she's on the trail of a murderer, with four nosy old ladies giving her a helping hand, while also dealing with her embarrassing mother, and more.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I am a fan

  • By cstardancer on 02-27-19

I am a fan

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-27-19

I've previously read all the books in this series, and have them listened as they became available on Audible. I love the atmosphere provided by Pearl Hewitt's narration.

The characters are vivid and believable ... except perhaps for the comic Old Biddies, which as a senior citizen myself I find epitomize a cliche I find annoying. I have to admit that they often lend humorous complications that provide clues toward solving the mystery. The plot is suitably complex, with plenty of red herrings. There are both funny and dramatic scenes, and one of the most startling methods of murder yet.

I continue to hope for romance for Seth, and I wish there were more of the attractive Inspector, Devlin in this one. However, the mystery was good, and the premise of backstage competition in the modern reality show "From Pleb to Celeb" was interesting and entertaining. That's the heart of this installment of a favorite cozy series.

A review copy of this book was sent to me by the author. All of the above opinions are my own.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Apple Strudel Alibi

  • Oxford Tearoom Mysteries, Book 8
  • By: H.Y. Hanna
  • Narrated by: Pearl Hewitt
  • Length: 6 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 284
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 260
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 257

When Gemma’s romantic holiday with her boyfriend is cancelled, the tearoom sleuth finds herself heading to Vienna instead with her cat Muesli and the nosy Old Biddies for company. And it’s not long before they stumble across a murder right in the heart of Austria’s historic capital. A handsome art critic dies suspiciously at their hotel, and the Old Biddies are determined to sniff out the killer. Is it the bitter hotel owner nursing a grudge? The critic’s jealous mistress wanting revenge? Or even the American horse trainer who seems inexplicably nervous around the police? 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Holiday fun with a twist

  • By April Goldman on 08-20-18

An engaging on-location cozy

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-23-18

I am a fan of the Oxford Tearoom Mysteries from my first reading, and Pearl Hewitt does an excellent job bringing the characters to life. Until this book, the setting has been the environs of Oxfordshire, but this book goes on the road, so to speak, to Vienna, Austria along with her cohorts, the "old biddies". These are recurring characters that lend an element of farce, as well as a device where their antics reveal clues to the central mystery.

Emma's love interest, Devlin, plays a minor role in this book, but the descriptions of Vienna, the charming hotel, and the mouth-watering descriptions of Viennese pastry make up for the lack of romance.

The plot was suitably convoluted to keep my interest, with a liberal sprinkling of red herrings. The real charm of the book, though, was the setting, a sub-plot involving a gifted child, and the descriptions and backstory of the famed Lippizaner Stallions.

Disclosure: A review copy of this audiobook was sent to me by the author. All of the above opinions are my own.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Another One Bites the Crust

  • Oxford Tearoom Mysteries, Book 7
  • By: H.Y. Hanna
  • Narrated by: Pearl Hewitt
  • Length: 7 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 265
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 243
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 241

Oxford summer balls are one of the highlights of the calendar and tearoom sleuth Gemma Rose is looking forward to taking a break and slipping into something gorgeous for the evening. But when the night ends with a celebrity chef murdered by his own whisk, Gemma finds herself plunged into a new mystery - and the nosy Old Biddies keen to help with the investigation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5+/5 Dozens of Custard Tarts…Sinisterly Delicious!

  • By Kathleen C. on 09-11-18

Cozy atmosphere, wit and mystery

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-18-18

Another One Bites the Crust is a welcome return to the charming world of Oxford tea shop owner and amateur sleuth, Gemma Rose, and her appealing but somewhat annoying friends and family. I have read or listened to all the books in this series, and I come back for the traditional English cozy feeling that H.Y. Hanna so skillfully evokes. Her plots are well developed and not too easily guessed. She uses humorous scenes to reveal clues and plot points, which adds to the enjoyment.

This book introduces her beau, police detective Devlin O'Connor's, mother. Her character is a breath of fresh air, given the more obnoxious characters of the Old Biddies and Gemma's snobbish and materialistic mother. Don't misunderstand ... in spite of the fact that these characters annoy me and, to a lesser extent, the protagonist, this is a useful device for advancing the plot. In this book, the introduction of a very different character in Devlin's mother, also provides an opportunity for some reflection and growth for Gemma and Devlin, as well. I hope she returns in future stories.

Pearl Hewitt does an excellent job of voicing the characters. This is a book that can be enjoyed with Immersion Reading, employing the Kindle and Audible versions in turn.

  • The Oxford Tearoom Mysteries Box Set Collection I

  • Prequel + Books 1 & 2
  • By: H.Y. Hanna
  • Narrated by: Pearl Hewitt
  • Length: 17 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 671
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 592
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 592

"Scones, a tea shop in England, a kitty and a murder...yes, please!" Enjoy the first three books in the Oxford Tearoom Mysteries, in one handy collection! Join tearoom sleuth Gemma Rose, her mischievous feline Muesli, and the nosy Old Biddies as they tackle murder and mystery in the beautiful city of Oxford - not to forget the delights of delicious baking and afternoon tea in a quaint English village!

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A nice little mystery bundle

  • By Julie on 03-07-18

The perfect English Cozy

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-20-18

Before listening to this newly released box set of audiobooks, I have read the entire series of Oxford Tearoom mysteries. In the stress of modern life it's a delight to escape to a fantasy of English village life, with a touch of romance, a bit of humor and a likeable protagonist. This series has all of the ingredients cozy fans look for, and is very well written. The characters and scenes come easily to life in my mind. Although character development is not surprising, the mysteries are not readily obvious, as they are in many cozy mysteries, so there is added satisfaction in puzzling along with the unfolding story.

I was looking forward to hearing the stories narrated, and I'm delighted with the choice of Pearl Hewitt, who perfectly embodies the inner voice I imagined while reading the books.

Disclosure: A review copy of this audiobook was sent to me by the author. All of the above opinions are my own.

  • Holding

  • A Novel
  • By: Graham Norton
  • Narrated by: Graham Norton
  • Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,948
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,791
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,787

The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama, but when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be those of Tommy Burke - a former lover of two different inhabitants - the village's dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated sergeant PJ Collins struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community's worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Splendidly delightful

  • By John Scott on 12-03-17

Beautifully written

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-05-17

I wouldn't have thought of Graham Norton as a novelist of such deft sentimentality, but I was very happy to discover that he is. The book is beautifully written, and touching. It moved me into the lives of these small town people and made me care about them. I was pleasantly absorbed into their world, yet satisfied when the story ended. It reminded me of a novel from my youth that I loved, Cider with Rosie, by Laurie Lee, perhaps only because both books created a similar observational mood.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection: Box Set Books 1-3

  • By: Barbara Venkataraman
  • Narrated by: Carrie Lee Martz
  • Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 39
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 34

Books 1-3 of the Jamie Quinn Mystery Series, including Death by Didgeridoo, The Case of the Killer Divorce, and Peril in the Park.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • REALLY GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • By Annie The Audible Addict!!! on 06-22-15

Unfortunate choice of narrator

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-16-17

These cozy mysteries are actually better than many if read instead of listened to, in my opinion. I honestly don't expect too much from a cozy ... enjoyable characters, some humor, a relatively coherent plot. I read them purely for escapism. This narrator is the worst I've heard. Her voice is not suitable, and her attempt to alter her voice for different characters is terrible! Stick to reading the Kindle books, which are inexpensive and deliver a reasonable diversion. Book two is the weakest, plot-wise, in my opinion.

  • 10th Anniversary

  • The Women's Murder Club
  • By: James Patterson, Maxine Paetro
  • Narrated by: Carolyn McCormick
  • Length: 7 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,287
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,701
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,710

Detective Lindsay Boxer's long-awaited wedding celebration becomes a distant memory when she is called to investigate a horrendous crime: a badly injured teenage girl is left for dead, and her newborn baby is nowhere to be found. Lindsay discovers that not only is there no trace of the criminals - but that the victim may be keeping secrets as well.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not as good as usual

  • By cstardancer on 05-13-11

Not as good as usual

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-13-11

I have enjoyed Women's Murder Club books in the past, but this one was a disappointment. Firstly, there were 3 loosely connected cases, only one of which was given enough attention to really get connected to. In that main case the characters were so briefly described that it was difficult to feel immersed in the story or feel for the characters, but at least they had a tiny bit of back story provided. Not enough. As for the other cases, not even close to enough. Secondly, I lost my good feeling for two of the main characters, Lindsey and Yuki. Yuki, whom we are supposed to believe is good-hearted to a fault, was consumed much more by her own ego/time spent developing her case, than she was in considering whether she had the right suspect. She seemed like the worst of what you sometimes see in ADA's more interested in building her reputation than in the facts of the case. Lindsey spent no drop of empathy attempting to realize the reality of a 15-year-old taken advantage of by an adult, and expressed many times her contempt as though this child were an adult perpetrator. Late in the book she showed a similar contempt and lack of empathy for the main character's motivating forces.

I wouldn't have been surprised if this book had been written by a male author alone, but having a co-author who is a female surprises me. I don't want to end up feeling more anger and disconnection from the affectionately portrayed "good guys" than I do for the "bad guys" in a book of this genre. I think I'll save my money when the next iteration is published.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful