Your audiobook is waiting…

If Walls Could Talk

Haunted Home Renovation, Book 1
Narrated by: Xe Sands
Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1,483 ratings)
Regular price: $25.88
$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

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....

©2010 Julie Goodson-Lawes (P)2013 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    554
  • 4 Stars
    584
  • 3 Stars
    261
  • 2 Stars
    57
  • 1 Stars
    27

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    672
  • 4 Stars
    432
  • 3 Stars
    176
  • 2 Stars
    39
  • 1 Stars
    26

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    506
  • 4 Stars
    504
  • 3 Stars
    249
  • 2 Stars
    58
  • 1 Stars
    20
Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Carole T.
  • Shepherdstown, WV, United States
  • 06-15-15

A Nice Change

This is pretty lightweight, but it makes a pleasant diversion for summer listening - good choice for the June 2-for-1 credit offering. It doesn't require a long time commitment.

I don't mean this in a bad way. There's a place in most of our reading lives for the modern "cozy" with a bit of mystery, a bit of romance, a bit of humor, and a little bit of information about historic restoration and history. I won't mention a bit of occult, because the "ghost" plot line in "If Walls Could Talk" is basically just silly. I don't know if Blackwell intends to expand this aspect in future books of the series, but it's not taken at all seriously here.





29 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Marcus
  • East Coast, USA
  • 04-22-14

Not bad, but doesn't quite take off

I got this book because the synopsis read similar to the "Haunted Guesthouse" novels by EJ Copperman. I'll lay out those similarities first:

-- Both have women who are handy (taught by their dads) and go to renovate an old Victorian.
-- Both women realize they can see and communicate with ghosts while in the home.
-- Both are mystery novels in which the ghosts they find need help solving their murders.
-- Both have narrators with irksome tendencies.

That said, it was an enjoyable listen, though it never quite seemed to take off, and sort of tumbled to its resolution. We meet up with Mel Turner as she heads over to see the aftermath of a DIY demolition party. She arrives, someone dies, and the tale begins.

I won't spoil things, but this book is partly set up to have Mel discover how she gained her abilities. Frustratingly though, the reader is likely to figure it out before her because she seems very uninterested and often changes the subject quickly when someone is spilling the beans on her "condition" and things that relate to it. As more and more pieces fall into place, I found myself not caring since I'd figured it out already. Move onto the mystery!

As for the actual mystery, it's your typical whodunnit with Red Herrings all over the place, which all mostly get resolved in one very odd scene which prompts another very odd scene. Mystery solved, but didn't feel all that fulfilling. I didn't feel like I was part of the "learning" process -- well, scratch that, you are, but the things you "learn" don't really help solve the mystery. In the end, Mel gets "determined", figures it out on her own, and the book ends. Sort of a let down.

As for the narrator, she's sort of the opposite of EJ Copperman's reader (Amanda Ronconi) in that instead of being whiny and annoying, she sounds like she's trying to be seductive and sultry. Listening in the car became hard as her sentences all seemed to be read in one breath. She'd start out loud and end the sentence in a breathy whisper. The voices of all the male characters sounded like guys on their deathbeds. I never quite got used to it.

In the end, the tale was OK, not great. What has lead me to decide to skip the next entries in the series (at least for now), however, is the narration alone. Middling interest in the tale, plus an annoying narrator means no credit spent for me.

If this book sounds interesting to you, I encourage you to check out EJ Copperman's "A Haunted Guesthouse" series. At least that has humor.

28 of 29 people found this review helpful

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

Remodeling with a Ghostly Twist!

Read/Listened for Fun (Physical Copy, Kindle, and Audible)
Overall Rating: 4.00
Story Rating: 3.75
Character Rating: 4.25

Audio Rating: 4.50 (Not part of the overall rating)

First Thought when Finished: I was actually redoing a room while listening and this just added to the fun factor!

Story Thoughts: Poor Melanie! All she wants to do is disappear to France and go native for a bit. Family responsibilities though prevent that and so she is now running the family's remodeling historic houses business. She also can see ghosts. These two combine to make for quite a fun way of solving a murder, discovering clues, and looking like your crazy! Actually I felt a bit bad for her as those pesky spirits could just pop up when it is inconvenient. Overall, the case is pretty solid and there were a few twists/turns. Not being able to figure out who did it immediately was great! Though you will figure it out before Mel, you will still have fun watching her come to the realization of who was behind it!

Character Thoughts: I really liked Melanie. Her forthright behavior, backbone, and smarts made her a very strong woman. She was just quirky enough to identify with and knew when to stand her ground. She was also loyal to everyone: family, step-children (previous marriage), and friends. She is the kind of person I would want to have as a friend. Graham, I am not sold on yet but their eventual love match wasn't played up to much in this book. So I can take time to get to know him just as Mel will again.

Audio Thoughts:

Narrated By Xe Sands / Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins


Xe is one of those narrators that truly sounds different in every book they do. She tends to merge with the characters and bring out their quirks, behaviors, and insecurities. She is fantastic at pacing, nuances, and emotions. I loved her as Mel! She just got her really well. I can't wait to get book 2!

Final Thoughts: Great beginning to a fun series. I just wish I had half the remolding gumption as Mel!

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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

Excellent and refreshing read

I would highly recommend this book to anyone! This is the second series written by this author that I have fallen in love with. The characters are uniquely quirky, the storyline is fantastic and intriguing, yes so far all the books I have read have a five star rating by me.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Beatrice
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 09-02-13

I loved it

This was a well written novel with interesting characters. Melanie Turner moves home after her mother's death to take over her father's construction business restoring historic homes. In doing so she finds out that she can communicate with ghosts. This discovery leads her to help solving a murder mystery and self discovery. The book is a bit slow which give Mel a chance to learn about her new ability, but other than that it is very good and enjoyable. The only thing that I did not like is that occassionally the narrator's voice would play out and I could not hear the end of a sentence. Other than that the narrator did an okay job with the voices and makeing the characters come to life. I look forward to reading the other books in the series.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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

The best in a long time!

What made the experience of listening to If Walls Could Talk the most enjoyable?

The narrator is wonderful and has a great way with sexy guy-voices. I'm surprised I've never heard her read. It's like listening to Anna Fields; you are able to forget there is a narrator and enjoy the great story.

What was one of the most memorable moments of If Walls Could Talk?

Mel's great love for the grand old homes of the Bay Area, especially of San Francisco. It was a new insight to me to hear of the beautiful old homes and their history, and resulting tidbits of the history of the Bay Area. I was totally engrossed and enjoyed the story line. There is a perfect balance of humor, romance, technical information, GHOSTS, & character development (quite a few lovable characters, well developed). When read by such a great narrator, it is the best series I've read in a long while.

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

See above

Any additional comments?

MORE, MORE, MORE!!!!!!!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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

This one grew on me as I listened

This is one of those books that I wasn’t sure what I thought about it while I was listening to it and then when it was over I started to immediately think about getting the next one. The more I thought I about it the more I realized I actually really liked it. The characters were interesting, the case was interesting and the narrator was good.

Mel has got to be one of the most unique individuals in books that I been introduced to recently. I enjoyed her chemistry with the other characters, her values and her love of historic homes. Which is perfect for the setting of San Francisco as that is a great city for history. The cast of supporting characters are all also compelling except for Graham her love interest – he is a little dry but maybe the author develops him more later on.

The case starts with a bang and has many twists and turns but the author blends all of these well into the finale and you don’t feel cheated by the solution. I look forward to the next book in the series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Demo Party Gone Incredibly Wrong

Melanie Turner has made quite a name for herself remodeling historic houses in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her father was in charge of Turner Construction for many years. The sudden death of Mel's mother knocked him off his feet, so Mel stepped in for him, but it has been two years, and he shows no sign of returning to work. Now her reputation may be on the line.

First she must figure out what unidentified assailants want from the old house that caused them to torture Kenneth, who was living there. A demo party provides good cover to root through walls and ceilings, leaving none untouched by holes and gashes or torn down. By morning's light the party has just disbanded, leaving a mortally wounded Kenneth to be found by Mel Turner on an early morning visit about the house. She cradles Kenneth as he dies.

The police show up but do a poor job collecting evidence from the scene, including missing finding a gun on the dumb waiter. Mel wonders what is up for the SFPD to do such a lousy job. Then she discovers that they have arrested Kenneth's good friend Matt because a nurse overheard Kenneth saying it was all Matt's fault just before he died. Only she had no idea Kenneth was referring to a map, as in treasure map. Motive was becoming clearer.

Was the map what the assailants want, if there even is one? Perhaps treasure has already been found at this unknown field? Was the whole thing a hoax from a bygone era when tricksters seeded mines with gold and gems? Some men want the map quite desperately.

Mel does find a journal written by a woman who ran the household until her husband quarreled with his mentor and one ended up dead. Mel takes the journal to the Historical Society for safekeeping but then their place is ransacked. Everywhere Mel goes ends up the worse for wear. She has to find out what these men are looking for before this historic beauty and Mel's business go to the dump.

This was a very satisfying mystery that went in many directions, zig zagging all over the Bay area and from suspect to suspect. Mel does solve this mystery, but I would never have guessed the solution without her sleuthing. Then again, Mel had a bit of extra help when Kenneth's ghost popped in and out, filling her in on some crucial information. Not a cozy per say but the violence did all take place off stage. I think I would call this either a “hard cozy” or “soft boiled.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook narrated by Xe Sands who has read most if not all of Juliet Blackwell's books expertly with phrases in French and a Latino dialect as no strangers to Xe. She is, without a doubt, one of my favorite narrators. Along with Juliet Blackwell, they make a formidable team!

Sandie Herron

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Nice surprise

Would you listen to If Walls Could Talk again? Why?

Yes, I would. I found that the second listen was actually better than the first.

What other book might you compare If Walls Could Talk to and why?

It was different, I enjoyed the building side and ghosts.

What about Xe Sands’s performance did you like?

At first I thought her words were non distinct. Shortly after I appreciated her manor and she created since of humor.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

DIY murder, that spans the here and hereafter....

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

N/A

Which scene was your favorite?

I particularly enjoyed the first time Mel saw Kenneth's ghost.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I loved all of the times Graham showed up and helped Mel.

Any additional comments?

Mel is a thoroughly relatable character, and XE Sand's portrayal of her is spot-on. She channels Mel in every aspect of her delivery, and flawlessly conveys all of Mel's emotions, down to wry humorous moments. XE does an admirable job on the elderly ladies, and the younger men, but I found at times I had difficulty hearing all of the older men's parts, and also Matt's, because the volume dropped off. Her pacing was wonderful, and the pauses were well-placed. This narrator inhabits each of her characters and has a solid grasp on how to differentiate between each of them. I would absolutely look for more from this narrator/author combination.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful