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C. Speer

Wichita
  • 43
  • reviews
  • 273
  • helpful votes
  • 138
  • ratings
  • Mission Impawsible

  • Paws & Claws Mystery Series, Book 4
  • By: Krista Davis
  • Narrated by: Elise Arsenault
  • Length: 8 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 146
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 133
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 133

Holly Miller and her grandmother, Oma, are working their tails off to prepare the Sugar Maple Inn for an upcoming matchmaking event for pet owners. While Holly has no interest in pairing up, Oma plans on playing Cupid and finding someone to warm her reluctant granddaughter's heart. Unfortunately, one man Holly does meet is cold - dead cold - and he has a personal letter from Oma in his pocket.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Narrator

  • By Jane Pensyl on 02-17-17

Why does this series have such bad narrators?

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

Reviewed: 06-04-18

This is a new narrator, which should be good. The narrator for books 1-3 sounds like she's reading to children. But this narrator is no better. This one has a bad ear for accents and makes everyone sound like a stereotype. We have the "Jersey Shore Girl," the "White Lady does 'Black Lady'" voice, and the "Vampire Oma" as examples.

If you can overlook this narrator, then get the book! The town is charming, the main character is good, the story is interesting and well-crafted.

  • Murder, She Barked

  • Paws & Claws Mystery, Book 1
  • By: Krista Davis
  • Narrated by: Jeanie Kanaley
  • Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 380
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 345
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 342

Holly Miller's life has gone to the dogs. She has no job, her boyfriend's former flame is sniffing around, and a scruffy but lovable Jack Russell terrier is scattering crumbs all over her borrowed car. Just when she thought things couldn't get worse, a troubling phone call about her grandmother sends her rushing home to the family inn on Wagtail Mountain.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Love this new series

  • By Beatrice on 12-24-15

Good story, whiney narration

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

Reviewed: 05-26-18

This narrator reads like she is addressing a bunch of little kids at a summer library program. She made the main character sound whiney, and some of the other female characters are embarrassingly portrayed in a register that is so high it's close to crossing over to dog-whistle territory. Really, really awful. Her accents are also just bad, with Oma's accent the worst.

But the story is very good, and I love the setting. What a fun place. Note to the author: "blanching" is the boiling process, not the cold-water after. That part is called "shocking." Surprising little error from an author who writes so much about food across all her novels.

  • Color Me Murder

  • Pen & Ink Series, Book 1
  • By: Krista Davis
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Mitchell
  • Length: 7 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 138
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 125
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 125

By day, Florrie Fox manages Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington D.C. By night, she creates her own intricately detailed coloring books for adults, filling the pages with objects that catch her eye. There's plenty of inspiration in her new apartment - a beautiful carriage house belonging to Professor John Maxwell, Florrie's boss. He offers the property to Florrie rent-free with one condition - she must move in immediately to prevent his covetous sister and nephew from trying to claim it. When the professor's nephew, Delbert, arrives, he proves just as sketchy as Florrie 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Just right

  • By M. Gibson on 03-02-18

Fun read

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

Reviewed: 05-23-18

I liked this very much! The story is interesting and the characters are likable. I don't particularly like the narrator, especially the way she seems a little stilted at times, but overall I enjoyed the book.

  • Silent in the Grave

  • By: Deanna Raybourn
  • Narrated by: Ellen Archer
  • Length: 13 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,760
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,254
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,251

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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Happily surprised

  • By 9S on 07-04-09

Narrator is not good

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

Reviewed: 01-16-18

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.

  • A Wee Murder in My Shop

  • ScotShop Mystery, Book 1
  • By: Fran Stewart
  • Narrated by: Tanya Eby
  • Length: 8 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 34
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 31
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sweet Entertaining Cozy

  • By Nichole K on 07-09-15

Review of the Series Through Book 3

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

Reviewed: 09-20-17

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.

  • Pies and Prejudice

  • Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery Series #1
  • By: Ellery Adams
  • Narrated by: C. S. E Cooney
  • Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 291
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 266
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 264

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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A real treat!

  • By Christina on 04-08-16

No to the Narrator

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

Reviewed: 10-08-16

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Dead in the Water

  • A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery, Book 6
  • By: Carola Dunn
  • Narrated by: Mia Chiaromonte
  • Length: 7 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 292
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 266
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 262

>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.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Narrator doesn't know how to pronounce the words!

  • By consuelo on 07-06-14

Change the Narrator!!!

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

Reviewed: 01-28-16

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
  • By: Carola Dunn
  • Narrated by: Mia Chiaromonte
  • Length: 6 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 377
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 342
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 342

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.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Accents!

  • By Leslie on 01-07-14

Terrible accents

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

Reviewed: 01-26-16

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
  • By: Sally Berneathy
  • Narrated by: Sarianna Gregg
  • Length: 5 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 77
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 77

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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great!

  • By Debra Fabiszak on 04-01-16

Good Enough

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-10-16

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
  • By: Carol J. Perry
  • Narrated by: C. S. E Cooney
  • Length: 8 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 129
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 118
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 118

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.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Can be read as a stand alone

  • By Elisabeth on 03-05-17

Odd Narration

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

Reviewed: 01-10-16

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