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  • 13
  • helpful votes
  • 9
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  • The Paper Magician

  • By: Charlie N. Holmberg
  • Narrated by: Amy McFadden
  • Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,351
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3,945
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,934

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she's bonded to paper, that will be her only magic... forever. Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Valley girl reads book on faux British accent

  • By James and co. on 06-23-15

Passable at best--I returned this title

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

Reviewed: 02-16-16

One of the first things they teach you school about writing is 'show, don't tell'--yet the majority of this book is the protagonist witnessing other events due to a spell.. That's it. She's not solving puzzles, not gathering clues, not battling magical guardians or breaking spells--she's just traveling from magical room to magical room watching past events. I kept asking myself when was the main character going to actually DO something rather than being a passive witness--and shouting at shadow memories doesn't count as doing something.

The author can craft beautiful sentences, but I wanted more showing and less telling.

And whoever directed the narrator did her a disservice. The woman clearly has a beautiful speaking voice, but pompous and perky doesn't work as a British accent. Pompous and perky certainly does NOT convey mood when describing a heart being ripped out (literally the organ being pulled from the chest). And if you're going to do an accent commit to it. Why are the protagonist's thoughts in an American accent, but words in a British accent?

Sadly, not worth a monthly credit.

  • Curtsies & Conspiracies

  • Finishing School, Book 2
  • By: Gail Carriger
  • Narrated by: Moira Quirk
  • Length: 9 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,844
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,694
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,696

Sophronia's first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy. Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners. Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers' quarters, she learns that there may be more to a school trip to London than is apparent at first.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gail Carriger is truly an author of Quality!

  • By David on 11-07-13

More supernatural steampunk fun

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

Reviewed: 11-04-15

I never thought I'd love a series based on a spy school, but I so do. It is wonderful. I adore how Ms. C crafts a tale, especially how she points out how ridiculous the trappings of Victorian society could be. Add a nicely woven bit of the supernatural and I'm all set. And this falls clearly into the 'cozy' realm...no over the top blood and gore descriptions.

This series also is great because it is about a female protagonist who not only doesn't need a male to save her, she is the one who does the saving.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Paris Key

  • By: Juliet Blackwell
  • Narrated by: Xe Sands
  • Length: 9 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 286
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 265
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 270

As a girl, Genevieve Martin spent the happiest summer of her life in Paris, learning the delicate art of locksmithing at her uncle's side. But since then, living back in the States, she has become more private, more subdued. She has been an observer of life rather than an active participant, holding herself back from those around her, including her soon-to-be ex-husband. Paris never really left Genevieve, and, as her marriage crumbles, she finds herself faced with an incredible opportunity.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Paris As I Know Her

  • By Alexis on 10-01-15

Not a cozy murder mystery but a cozy slice of life

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

Reviewed: 10-23-15

Juliet Blackwell usually writes cozy murder mysteries but she has taken a delightful turn in 'The Paris Key'. A wonderful slice of life story in the vein of 'Under the Tuscan Sun' as a Californian woman goes on a journey to find her footing as she prepares for her divorce and instead finds herself in ways she never expected.

Ms. Blackwell does her usual magnificent job painting characters, history, and cities with her easy going literary brush.

Xe Sands narration is so soothing and calming--perfect after a long day or for a lazy weekend.

It was in a great listen

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • If Walls Could Talk

  • Haunted Home Renovation, Book 1
  • By: Juliet Blackwell
  • Narrated by: Xe Sands
  • Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,499
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,361
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,353

Melanie Turner has made quite a name for herself remodeling historic houses in the San Francisco Bay Area. But now her reputation may be on the line. At her newest project, a run-down Pacific Heights mansion, Mel is visited by the ghost of a colleague who recently met a bad end with power tools. Mel hopes that by nailing the killer, she can rid herself of the ghostly presence of the murdered man - and not end up a construction casualty herself....

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A Nice Change

  • By Carole T. on 06-15-15

Another great supernatural mystery from Blackwell

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

Reviewed: 08-23-13

Would you consider the audio edition of If Walls Could Talk to be better than the print version?

Listening to Xe Sands makes this story that much better

What did you like best about this story?

I love Juliet Blackwell's stories. A great mystery, with plot twists and turns, but it is her ability with secondary characters and locations that give her stories so flavor

What does Xe Sands bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narrator, Xe Sands, has such an enchanting voice you could listen to her read stereo directions. She truly brings the story to life. She was a great addition to the story experience

Any additional comments?

I can't wait until the rest of this series is released on audiobook

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Secondhand Spirits

  • A Witchcraft Mystery, Book 1
  • By: Juliet Blackwell
  • Narrated by: Xe Sands
  • Length: 8 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,822
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,680
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,665

Lily Ivory hopes for a normal life when she opens Aunt Cora's Closet. With her magical knack for vintage fashion - she can sense vibrations of the past from clothing and jewelry - her store becomes a big hit. But when a client is murdered and children start disappearing from the Bay Area, Lily may be the only one who can unravel the crime.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Witches and fashion - what's not to like!

  • By Sher on 07-23-12

A great 'soft' murder mystery

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

Reviewed: 02-13-13

Would you listen to Secondhand Spirits again? Why?

I have listened to this audiobook repeatedly. The story is enjoyable and the reader's voice is soothing making it all the better.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The lead character Lily is great. She is smart, gutsy but not unrealistic.The secondary and tertiary characters are just as enjoyable as the main character.

Any additional comments?

This murder mystery series is such a good read because it makes sense why this woman is trying to solve these mysteries. She is the only one available who can. Many of today's series involve protagonists whose involvements in such crimes makes no sense so it becomes difficult to get lost in the story. Such is not the case here.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful