LISTENER

blueskies982

Dallas, TX
  • 96
  • reviews
  • 80
  • helpful votes
  • 192
  • ratings
  • Killer Transaction

  • Cindy York Mystery Series, Book 1
  • By: Catherine Bruns
  • Narrated by: Amy Deuchler
  • Length: 7 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 26

All struggling real estate agent Cindy York wants is the home listing that was promised to her. But her deceitful co-worker, Tiffany Roberts, has other ideas, and she always manages to get what she wants. Tired of being manipulated, Cindy tells her to back off - or else! But when Cindy stumbles upon Tiffany’s lifeless body, she suddenly finds herself front and center in a deadly investigation. Now everyone from her kids' classmates to her monstrous mother-in-law is sold on the idea that Cindy's guilty.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent first book in real estate cozy series

  • By Julesy on 01-13-19

Mystery gets lost in minutiae of Cindy's life

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

Reviewed: 01-18-19

I'm an avid reader of cozy mysteries. The combination of fun characters, a mystery, and familiar setting (i.e., coffee shop, book store) is comforting. This is the first book by Catherine Bruns that I've listened to. Since I just went through the home buying purchase I was intrigued to see how the real estate market can be interwoven with a mystery story.

The narration is well done.

I had a couple of issues that kept me from really getting lost in the story. The mystery story gets lost in the minutiae of Cindy's life and Cindy is kinda a doormat.

I despise reading about characters who let people walk all over them (and stay that way throughout the story - it's different if their character grows in confidence). The only people on Cindy's side are her hubby, twin sons, and 1 coworker. The rest of the book is populated by stock characters - evil MIL who tries to undermine her parenting, evil boss who tries to undermine her career, and evil rival coworker who steals listings. Cindy is easily and consistently intimidated by...everything...and lacks healthy boundaries. In my head I'm yelling, "Girl! Get some self confidence!" I was so distracted by this that I didn't fully enjoy the story.

There's a brief description of a murder scene and flash back to a death, but it's not graphic.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Greyhound at the Gravesite

  • Pets Reporter Mystery
  • By: Kyla Colby
  • Narrated by: Lane Cannon
  • Length: 5 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 16
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 15

Samantha Hodges is ready to get as far away from crime reporting as possible - especially after what happened in Chicago. Writing for the paper in her pets-obsessed hometown will be easy. Except that she’s not really into animals. And her first interviewee turns up dead.   

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Adorable pet-based cozy mystery

  • By blueskies982 on 01-18-19

Adorable pet-based cozy mystery

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

Reviewed: 01-18-19

Overworked and exhausted, former crime scene reporter Sam Hodges returns home for rest and recuperation among beloved friends and family. She soon finds herself working as the pets reporter for her pet-obsessed hometown's newspaper and must solve the mysterious death of a local greyhound rescue manager.

This story is absolutely adorable. I love Sam - she's honest, friendly, intelligent, and fun. I appreciate her relationships with her mother and sister. Call me biased (I'm an animal lover with two dogs) but the greyhounds and other animal characters add a lot to the story.

My main issue with the performance is with the editing. There's a few places where phrases / sentences are repeated. The audio quality also changes slightly from time to time.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • The Hidden Village

  • By: Imogen Matthews
  • Narrated by: LIAM GERRARD
  • Length: 9 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13

Deep in the Veluwe woods lies Berkenhout, a purpose-built village of huts sheltering dozens of persecuted people. But the Germans can find no proof of its existence. The whole community pulls together to help the Berkenhout inhabitants adjust to a difficult new life and, above all, stay safe. Sofie, a Jewish Dutch girl, struggles to adapt to living in Berkenhout, away from her family and friends. As weeks turn to months, she’s worried they’ll abandon her altogether.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Informative historical fiction

  • By blueskies982 on 12-03-18

Informative historical fiction

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

Reviewed: 12-03-18

In "The Hidden Village", the citizens of a Dutch community are called upon to shelter those fleeing from the Nazis. The people coming to them for help include Jewish children, downed American pilots, and German defectors. The story follows the characters through small joys, near misses, tragedy, and triumph. The characters are very real and relatable - so important in historical fiction!

I would certainly recommend this for parents, guardians, and teachers to use as a learning tool. The book can be used to help teens contextualize what happened during World War 2. Please note that there are war related situations with violence which were difficult for me, as an adult, to process.

This story examines a variety of war experiences through the eyes of the characters and helps the listener to consider, 'What would it be like to try and hide refugees?', 'What is the emotional toll on families?', 'Who is trustworthy?', and 'Is the sacrifice ultimately worth it?'

I understand the story was written using historical accounts and stories combined with research. However, I felt like the ending (2 decades after the story) was a bit muddled and missed an opportunity to follow the characters through recovery and rebuilding. I would've been interested in a short introduction to the author's relatives, information about the real Berkenhout, and what happened to the survivors the story was based on.

I was given this free review copy audio book at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • You Can Lead a Horse to Murder (Secrets of Sanctuary Cozy Mysteries) (Volume 1)

  • By: Tara Meyers
  • Narrated by: Cris Dukehart
  • Length: 4 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26

Spirited Ember Burns is led back home to open her own veterinary practice, and her first client lands her in the middle of a murder mystery. When the evidence points to the horse as the cause of death, she vows to protect him. But horses don't talk and neither do the dead, so Ember has to rely on her intelligence and instinct to get to the truth. A truth buried under layers of small-town secrets. Some that are big enough to get you killed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Story!

  • By Jan M on 11-06-18

Fun Cozy Mystery!

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

Reviewed: 11-20-18

Dr. Ember Burns is working hard to establish a veterinary practice in the town of Sanctuary. When a farrier is discovered dead in a horse stall, she begins an investigation to discover what really happened.

This is a great cozy mystery that balances the elements of murder mystery and intrigue with fun, smart characters in a believable setting. This is a great start to a new series. I look forward to reading more!

I was given this free review copy audio book at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Insurgent

  • Ice Hammer, Volume 2
  • By: Basil Sands
  • Narrated by: Basil Sands
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

Following the invasion of the previous year, Brad Stone has become the figurehead of Alaska’s resistance movement. He’s now head of the largest militia in the former state, including the Chiknik Rangers, making him enemy number one to the Chinese leadership based in Anchorage. At the same time his sons, Ben and Ian, find themselves waging a bloody guerrilla operation against Russian troops in the east. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting Read

  • By cosmitron on 09-12-18

Alternate Reality - What if the US was invaded?

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

Reviewed: 10-17-18

"Ice Hammer Book 2: Insurgent" continues the story of Americans struggling to survive and defeat their enemies in the frontier of Alaska after a invasion from China to the West and Russians from the East. I didn't read the first book in this series, so I know there's details that I missed out on while reading this second installment. That being said, I felt like I got to know the characters, their back stories, and current challenges very quickly.

Brad Stone ("Ice Hammer") is the figurehead the resistance - leading the Chiknik Rangers. Meanwhile, his sons Ben and Ian, are fighting against Russian troops. The wife Brad assumed was deceased, Youngmi, is a spy inside a Chinese general's household. Survivors keep finding their way to Chiknik; the resistance fighters keep making life difficult for the Russians, and the Chinese are trying their best to establish a stable government.

I love a story where I connect with the characters. The cast of this book is awesome - very REAL in the sense that we see their strengths, flaws, and response to great loss or tragedy. War stories can feel impersonal, but I felt like I connected with the resistance fighters and the "bad guys." The family relationships add an interesting (and painful) dimension to the characters and story. Basil Sands has a way of skillfully creating conflict between characters using personalities, mismatched goals, and selfish motivations.

Note - There are some descriptions of war violence but it isn't over done.

I was given this free review copy audio book at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Murder of Innocence

  • The Tragic Life and Final Rampage of Laurie Dann
  • By: Joel Kaplan, George Papajohn, Eric Zorn
  • Narrated by: Gary Tiedemann
  • Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 255
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 229
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 229

Early on a May morning in 1988, Laurie Dann, a 30-year-old, profoundly unhappy product of the wealthy North Shore suburb of Chicago, loaded her father's car with a cache of handguns, incendiary chemicals, and arsenic-laced food. Driven by fear and hate, she was going to make something terrible happen. Before the end of the day, Dann had blazed a murderous trail of poison, fire, and bullets through the unsuspecting town of Winnetka, Illinois, and other North Shore suburbs.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Applicable to Las Vegas Shooter

  • By Teadrinker on 10-07-17

Tragic story, Relevant topics

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

Reviewed: 09-10-18

Laurie Dann was a 30-year-old babysitter who planned to injure or kill hundreds of people with poisoning, fire and shooting in 1988. This book was published in 1990. The topics of the story: gun control and mental illness are especially relevant today.

I love true crime and I was very impressed with the book. In books like this, it's easy to use too wide a brush (i.e., "she's a victim of her childhood" or "she was a killer and got what was coming.") Laurie is presented in a balanced way - as the young girl who never felt accepted or loved, as a student who couldn't find her niche, and as a woman who never dealt with rejection. The authors ask the question, "Why did this happen?" and the answer is somewhere in all the details. In Laurie's case, it's, "Which snowflake is responsible for an avalanche?"

I feel that listeners would benefit from an updated afterward with further information about the investigation, outcome of lawsuits that were pending in 1990, and what happened in the lives of the survivors.

I highly recommend this book!

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Too Many Women in the Room

  • A Gilda Greco Mystery
  • By: Joanne Guidoccio
  • Narrated by: Tamara Eastridge
  • Length: 6 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 8

When Gilda Greco invites her closest friends to a VIP dinner, she plans to share David Korba’s signature dishes and launch their joint venture - Xenia, an innovative Greek restaurant near Sudbury, Ontario. Unbeknownst to Gilda, David has also invited Michael Taylor, a lecherous photographer who has throughout the past three decades managed to annoy all the women in the room. One woman follows Michael to a deserted field for his midnight run and stabs him in the jugular.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good Mystery not good Audio quality.

  • By cosmitron on 06-22-18

Likable characters, Shrill narration

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

Reviewed: 09-05-18

I really liked this book, especially the main character Gilda. She's caring, intelligent, and wants to help others with her resources. However, the narration was very hard to listen to. The voices did not sound like grown, mature women. The emotion and inflection didn't match the topics being discussed.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Bump in the Night

  • Jake Stark Mysteries Collection, Books 1-4
  • By: D. A. Provencher
  • Narrated by: Bryan Anderson, Sonia Anderson
  • Length: 6 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 21

This is a collection of the first four titles from the Jake Stark Mysteries series with a short bonus story. It includes The Gorham Vampire, The Burning Town, Whispers of the Lost, Heart of Ice, and A Jake Stark Christmas

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A slight bump here and there but still good

  • By Ray Johnson on 08-04-18

Good Start to Series, Distracting Narrator

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

Reviewed: 07-25-18

I really enjoyed these stories and there are a lot of great things about it. First, Jake's job as a Centinel. He's part private investigator, part cryptozoologist, and part soldier of faith. I love it! Second, there are some really funny moments in the book. Jake is pretty snarky. It's a good balance to the supernatural elements. Third, the author draws from Church history, Native American lore/legends, and Scripture. The topics are very well researched.

There are a few things that frustrated me. First, the writing seemed pretty simplistic. The author does a lot of telling rather than showing, (i.e., "I hate the cold.") I know the stories are short, but it feels rushed. Second, the narrator sounds like he's a high school student grudgingly reading a short story.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

  • Debt Collector: Hard to Kill

  • A Jack Winchester Thriller, Book 4
  • By: Jon Mills
  • Narrated by: Adam Gold
  • Length: 5 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21

Jack Winchester is a drifter - a ghost to those who pursue him and a danger to those who confront him. Once a notorious hitman for a New Jersey crime family, Jack is now a fugitive trying to right his wrongs. Wanted by the FBI and hunted by one of the Sicilian Mafia's top assassins, he travels to New Orleans to reconnect with an old flame. But things aren't what they seem. Not only must he cross paths with a ruthless drug lord just as Hurricane Danielle makes landfall, but he's about to discover that he may be the only one that can save his ex and daughter.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What would u expect from someone named Winchester?

  • By shelley on 07-19-18

Pretty Grim

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

Reviewed: 07-23-18

This is the first Jack Winchester novel that I've listened to, so what I have to go on for this review is what I listened to. I love mysteries/thrillers and the idea of a hitman seeking redemption is intriguing.

That being said, I had a hard time a few aspects of the story. The author trades character development. for grim/graphic violence. Most of the bad guys are one-dimensional thugs. (The assassin's backstory doesn't make him any more sympathetic.) Some of the situations are so absurd that I got distracted. I feel that the author missed some great opportunities by not using an intriguing setting like New Orleans and thematic elements like a hurricane making landfall to its full potential.

The narrator does an excellent job of capturing the voices/accents of different characters.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

  • Easy like Sunday Mourning

  • A Page Turners Novel, Book 2
  • By: Jennie Marts
  • Narrated by: Stacey Glemboski
  • Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19

Single mom Maggie Hayes puts up a tough front to hide her loneliness, spending her days in the courtroom as a lawyer and her evenings as a closet video gamer. Another heartache isn't worth the risk, not after her husband left her last year for a Hooters waitress. When she decides to try dating again, a cute video-game-designing nerd seems like a safe bet - until he becomes the prime suspect in a murder. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • laugh out loud moments

  • By Layla on 08-04-18

Love the Page Turners!

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

Reviewed: 07-21-18

This is the second book in the fun Page Turner series. Each book follows one of the book club members. This story is about the whip-smart lawyer, Maggie. Maggie's ex-husband left her for a younger woman and in order to cope, she relies on her book club friends and the escapism of online games. That's how she meets her new love interest, a fellow gamer named Jeremy. Just as Maggie's life is moving forward, her ex-comes crawling back (ick!) and a member of Jeremy's staff is mysteriously murdered. The book club ladies need to solve the mystery!

I love the Page Turners series because of the friendship bond between the ladies in the core group. The author balances humor and light moments with a well-crafted mystery. Highly recommend for fans of humor, romance, and cozy mysteries.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful