Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How (Not) To Kiss a Prince by Elizabeth Reeves-4 stars

Reeves, Elizabeth A., How (Not) To Kiss a Prince. 4.37 hrs. Elizabeth Reeves, 2013. Audible Download.

Ever hear of Murphy’s Law: anything that can go wrong will go wrong? Well, for someone like Cindy Eller, her life is practically a living example of Murphy’s Law. Lately, everything has been perfect. She has a wonderful ordinary (non-magical) boyfriend named Timothy, her bakery is doing well, and her magic, limited though it is, is mostly behaving itself and no longer turning men she kisses into toads.  She shouldn’t have spoken so soon, however. When a prince from the Middlelands shows up at the bakery claiming to be her betrothed since before she was born and says Cindy’s younger sister can’t marry until they do, everything starts going downhill. Too bad this prince just won’t turn into a toad when he’s kissed. When she confronts her mother, she discovers that she bargained for her eldest daughter to marry said prince in exchange for a two-way ticked to Fairy. After returning, she discovered she was pregnant with a Fae’s baby and blocked Cindy’s magic, but that’s all she will tell her. To make matters worse, Cindy’s newest employee, a former cupid named Sumac’s magic is going haywire and making everyone fall in love with the desserts from Cindy’s shop. Will Cindy find a way to become un-betrothed? Will she survive two weddings in two weeks, a really busy shop, and figuring out the truth about her past?

Narrator, Michele Carpenter is a unique, funny, entertaining narrator ideally suited for this book. Although the narration was a bit choppy in the beginning, her use of different voices quickly draws the reader in and helped to distinguish and bring to life the well-developed characters. The plot is well-developed, fast-paced, and keeps the reader laughing from start to finish and the narrative does a great job of keeping pace. Transitions between action, humor, and internal dialogue are masterfully done.  I especially liked the addition of songs at the beginning and the end of the book that the narrator created. It would have been nice to have a bit more drawn out of a conclusion, but the ending was satisfactory and leaves the reader wanting to further follow Cindy's adventures. Although it is recommended that listeners listen to  How (Not) to Kiss a Toad first, it can be listened to out of order. This funny, lighthearted novel will appeal to humorous fantasy fans everywhere.  

4 stars, ADULT


Monday, April 28, 2014

Secrets That Kill by Colleen Helme-4.5 stars

Helme, Colleen, Secrets That Kill. 8:26 hrs. Colleen Helme, 2014. Audible Download.

When Uncle Joey asks Shelby to deliver a letter for him while she’s down in Orlando on a family vacation, she finds herself regretting putting it off until the last minute. When she tries to deliver the letter to Warren Peace, the informant, she winds up almost getting killed. After Warren gets killed with a meat cleaver by a man with snake bite tattoos, Shelby acquires the notice of the local cop and has to call Ramos in to save her butt. Unfortunately for her (or maybe fortunately), Ramo turns out to have grown up in Orlando and has a dark past that somehow involves the local detective who noticed Shelby. To make matters worse, Florida Kingpin, Carter is after the flash drive that Warren was supposed to hand over to Shelby and this mafia boss owes a lot of money to Uncle Joey and will do anything to not have to pay it. Desperate enough to kill any witnesses and with a grudge against Ramos, Carter is a deadly force to be reckoned with. Can Ramos and Shelby solve this little problem of hers and Uncle Joey’s without getting killed?

The story's pace is not fast, but still keeps the story moving without losing the listener. The author's mix of humor and seriousness is well-done and easily draws the reader in. Although Shelby is a bit naive at times, the characters are all continually growing and are becoming more entertaining with each book.

Narrator, Wendy Tremont King ideally complements Helme's novel. Not only is her voice is appealing and her voices for the different characters is easily distinguished, but she makes it . Her  and the internal/external dialogue. Her narrative style is unique and ideal for Colleen Helme’s book.  Those who have read the other books in the series and who enjoy mysteries, adventure, and a bit of paranormal mixed in will enjoy listening to this book.

Please Note: I was given a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

4.5 stars, ADULT

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Lie or Die by Colleen Helme-5 stars

Helme, Colleen, Lie or Die. 8:34 hrs. Colleen Helme, 2014. Audible Download.
Starting a new agency can be tough, especially when you can read minds. Shelby Nichols’ first official case as a consultant is to find a bank’s missing stolen money. Her only clue, before the thief was killed by his partner, is that its hidden in a box or drawer of underwear. When Uncle Joey calls wanting her help with promoting one of his men,  she discovers that  his temporary head of security seems to already know who she is, but he’ s never worked for Uncle Joey before.  To top it all off, someone is threatening her husband to lose his case; the same person who is trying to kill Uncle Joey, take Shelby for themselves, and take over the business. Will Shelby survive her latest cases or will she end up dead?
The characters are charming, likable, and well-developed and narrator, Wendy Tremont King’s unique, lively voices make her the ideal narrator for this book. Transitions between internal and external dialogue is easily distinguishable and adds a bit of humor into the novel.  Her narrative style is crisp, clear, and easily transitions between the different scenes of the story. This action-packed, well-developed story will not disappoint fans of the other Shelby Nichols adventures or listeners who like funny mysteries like Janet Evanovich.  

Please note: I was given a copy of  this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
5 stars, ADULT.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Secrets and Lies by Christine Amsden-5 stars

Amsden, Christine, Secrets and Lies. 9:04 hrs. Christine Amsden, 2013. Audible Download.
Since her parents’ betrayal, Cassie Scot has had a hard time forgiving her parents and picking up the pieces of her life. Owing a life debt to Evan Blackwood hasn’t helped. Not only is the guy really hot, but he’s already proposed marriage and Cassie’s not sure if she wants to get married. Her family that disowned her is falling apart. According to her brother, Nicholas, no one’s powers are working right and their mom has gotten really sick and no one knows why. Asked to take on a case by her brother and Evan, Cassie finds herself heading down to Arkansas to not only try and make some sense of her life, but also to find two girls who are distant cousins and have gone missing from summer camp. When magical foul play is suspected, it will not only take Cassie, Evan, and his family and friends, but also her estranged family members to solve the case and bring the girls back alive. Will Cassie succeed in solving the case? Will she be able to patch up her relationship with her family and get her life in order? Will she accept Evan’s marriage proposal? 

Narrator, Melissa Reizian Frank brings to life this delightful sequel in ways readers could never have anticipated. Her unique voices that bring to life the human-like characters is just one of the many things that makes this an excellent addition to this book. The book, despite the seriousness of some of the stuff going on, still manages to have some humor mixed in and the narrator easily switches between it all. The plot is even more well-developed and draws the listener easily into Cassie’s world. Perhaps the best part is when listeners get a chance to look into Cassie’s mother’s past or when Cassie finally makes a decision about Evan. Although the ending predicts much more to come, paranormal mystery and romance fans who have read the first one will be kept on the edge of their seat  and have a hard time putting this one down.

5 stars. ADULT

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham-4.5 stars

Thomas, Rob, and Graham, Jennifer, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (unabr.).  8:42 hrs. Random House Audio, 2014. Audible download.

Two months ago, Veronica Mars left her lawyer future behind to move back to Neptune, California. At that time, she had to clear her boyfriend, Logan Echolls of murdering his fiancĂ©, nurse her dad back to health, and keep the private eye business afloat. Since then, her boyfriend’s on a Naval tour for another 4 months, her dad’s still disappointed she gave up her lawyer future, and the p.i. business isn’t doing so well. So, when two girls going missing from the same party house on two different Spring Break days, Veronica gets hired by the local Chamber of Commerce to solve the case and fix up the major p.r. mess Sheriff Dan Lamb has created. No sweat for Veronica, right? Wrong. The drug cartel are somehow mixed up in this and they don’t like people poking around in their business. Those who do wind up missing and dead. Is this what happened to the two girls? Can Veronica solve the two cases before she goes missing, too? Will she find a way to keep her dad’s business afloat.

She's back! Not only is she the voice and face of the original main character, Kristen Bell is also the narrator. Kristen's transitions are smooth, her voice is crisp and clear, and she moves easily between internal dialogue, mystery, and action. Although she doesn't use a variety of voice to distinguish characters, listeners will still be able to distinguish them with the way her intonations change. Those expecting left unanswered plot lines from the movie to be answered will be disappointed, but this surprisingly well-developed and entertaining plot is bound to appeal to fans of the original tv show as well as mystery fans new to the series. The authors are true to the original, well-developed characters and Kristen is an excellent addition to the creation of this audiobook. Fans of Veronica Mars, Logan Echolls, Mac, and the original cast of characters will not be disappointed and mystery fans who like snarky, strong female characters will enjoy trying this new book on for size.

4.5 stars. Grades 9 to Adult.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fact of the day:


Cassie Scot: Paranormal Detective by Christine Amsden

Amsden, Christine, Cassie Scot: Paranormal Detective. 8:27 hrs. (unbar.) Christine Amsden, 2013. Audible Download.

Daughter of two powerful sorcerers, powerless Cassie Scot feels like she's a disappointment to her family. When a vampire starts killing other magical practitioners, Cassie enlists the help of local, powerful sorcerer and cousin of one of the victims, Evan Blackwood to solve the case.  As she investigates, however, her friend, Angie becomes the next target.  When she and Evan take on the friend’s vampiric boyfriend on their own, the stakes heat up and now the mysterious vampire is out to get Cassie. To make matters worse, her mom is pregnant again and her parents think that to create any ideal magical protection for the other family members they have to disown Cassie. Fortunately, her cousin, Jason, and her brother, Nicholas aren’t about to leave her in the dark. Without a magical protector, however, Cassie’s life is more in danger than ever. Can Cassie solve the crimes without becoming vampire chow? Will she ever be able to repair her relationship with her family after her parents’ betrayal?
Narrator, Melissa Reizian Frank is a perfect fit for this well-paced, engaging plot. The plot itself is entertaining, well-developed, and lends itself well to being an audiobook. Frank’s voices for the characters are unique, easily distinguished, and she does a great job of bringing to life their Melissa Reizian Frank Melissa Reizian Frank entertaining, well-developed personalities.  Her transitions are smooth and easily move between action and character dialogue. The recording itself is crisp and free of any technical flaws.

Readers will probably find most memorable the main character’s family, most because they will want to strangle her parents for their stupidity. Plus, the family dynamic for most of the book is engaging, light-hearted, and easily draws the reader into Cassie’s world and makes the reader want to stay in their car and listen to this book. The love triangle between Cassie, Braden, and Evan is masterfully done, but the reader will probably be left feeling unsatisfied with the ending. Fortunately, there is a sequel which will leave plenty of chance for this triangle to run its course. Readers who like paranormal mystery with a little bit of romance will enjoy listening to this book.

4.5 stars, ADULT

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Fact of the day

Additional source:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Magic of Finkleton by K.C. HIlton-3.5 stars

Hilton, K.C., Magic of Finkleton. Pgs. 199. CreateSpace, 2011. 

When the Finkles’ house burns down and their Uncle Harry dies, it seems fat is driving them to move to Finkleton. Ever since their Uncle’s death, however, weather has been acting abnormally weird for Finkleton. The three siblings, Jack, Robert, and Lizzy, discover that Finkleton has an some kind of magical control over their weather and their uncle’s hourglasses and levers inside the store somehow control it. If the trio don’t figure out how to control the weather, Mr. Lowsley, a mysterious guy who seems to want power, is going to weasel his way into Finkleton. Can the Finkle children figure out a way to fix the weather before it’s too late?

The character dialogues feel forced, but the character are fairly likable and engaging. The plot is a little slow, but the mystery is engaging. Readers who enjoy fantasy, adventure, mystery, and magic will enjoying reading this book. 

Grades 4 to 8, 3.5 stars.