Friday, May 15, 2015

Deep in Death by Colleen Helme-5 stars

Helme, Colleen, Deep in Death. 8. 46 hrs. (unbar.) Colleen Helme, 2015. Audible Download.

After getting shot in her last adventure, Shelby Nichols wants to stay out of trouble, at least for a while. Things, however, never go as planned. Taking on a new case, Shelby is looking in to the disappearance of her client’s mother, Darcy Shaw. In order to figure out what happened to her, Shelby looks into the mother’s old acquaintances. Digging up old relationships, however, uncovers a serial killer. Fitting the killer’s perfect victim, he plans to make Shelby his next target.  When Joey “the Knife” Manetto, aka Uncle Joey, and her friend, Ramos are caught in a yacht explosion, Shelby may find herself on her own with this case.  Determined to figure out what happened to Joey and Ramos, and to get away from the killer, Shelby heads to their last known location, Seattle. Can Shelby solve both cases and come out alive?

Narrator, Wendy Tremont King is a great complement to Colleen Helme’s book. Her unique voices bring to life Colleen’s well developed character and Shelby’s world. The character dynamics are spot on and make for an enjoyable, humorous read. The plot is fast-paced, complex, engaging, and keeps the reader guessing what’s going to happen next. The author expertly switches between internal and external dialogue and King smoothly handles them without missing a beat. Readers who have read the other books in the Shelby Nichols adventures won’t be disappointed. Newcomers to the Shelby scene will be able to easily pick up on the story line, but will be eager to listen to the others. Recommended for anyone who enjoys a fun, paranormal mystery with a bit of romance intermixed. 

Please note: This audiobook was given to me in exchange for an honest review. 

5 stars, ADULT

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein-5 stars

Grabenstein, Chris, Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library 6.20 hrs. 5 CDs (unabr) . Listening Library, 2014. Audio download 

It’s been 12 years since the public library has existed in Kyle’s hometown. Now, a new library has been rebuilt where an old bank used to be.  12 12-year-old essay contest winners will get to enjoy it first. Not normally a reader, Kyle isn’t interested until he finds out that the library’s benefactor is one of his favorite eccentric game designers, Mr. Lemoncello. This state-of-the-art library is not what it seems, however, and puzzles are everywhere within it. When morning comes after the lock-in, the library doors don’t open and it’s now up to Kyle and the other 11 misfit teens to solve a major puzzle. Years before, when the library was a bank, there was a secret, alternate entrance. Whoever can find it first will become the new spokesman for the Mr. Lemoncello’s game company. Will Kyle be the one to find it or will someone else?

Narrator, Jesse Bernstein easily complements Chris’ unique characters and world. The plot is not only unique, but engaging and well-developed. The characters are likable, realistic, and well-developed. Younger listeners will enjoy using the puzzles in the book to try and solve the library’s mysteries while parents and older readers will appreciate all of the literary allusions. Although geared towards more the elementary ages, this would make a great family listen or solo listen. People of all ages who enjoy mystery, libraries, adventure, and puzzles will enjoy listening to this audiobook.
5 stars, All Ages

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach-4 stars

Bach, Rachel, Fortune’s Pawn. Tantor Media, 2013. 11.13 hrs. 10 CDs. Tantor Media, 2013. Audio download.

Devi Morris is a mercenary who want to become part of the king’s secret guard, the Devastators. She’s worked in the military, been a mercenary for a prestigious company, and been all around the Paradoxian planetary system she calls home. Now she just needs one more job to be able to get the coveted invite. The Glorious Fool, a trade ship rumored to be cursed,is looking for a security guard. One year on this ship equal five years in any other job and almost guarantees you a position on the guard. Only problem is most of the guards on Captain Caldwell’s cursed ship never make it home. With human-eating Zithcow, murderous pirates, strange invisible creatures, and a mysterious mission no one knows anything about other than the Captain, Devi has her work cut out for her. Will she survive to realize her dream? Who really is Captain Caldwell?

Narrator, Emily Durante brings her list of experience to this engaging story. Her unique voices bring to life not only Devi’s world, but also the engaging characters. Some of the characters' motives are a little off, but that is probably a part of the mystery. Although moderately paced, the plot is well developed and engaging. Emily easily brings to life and complements the author's well-done mix of mystery, supernatural, and action. Listeners who enjoy science fiction, mysteries, thrillers, and adventure will enjoy listening to this book and eagerly await the sequel.
4 stars, ADULT

Monday, May 4, 2015

Maggie Vaults Over the Moon by Grant Overstake-4.5 stars

Overstake, Grant, Maggie Vaults Over the Moon. 6.0 hrs. 5 CDs (unbar.).Blackstone Audio, 2015. Audio download.

When her brother, Alex, and her boyfriend, Caleb, die in a car accident, Maggie is devastated. Having a hard time with grief and having no idea what to do with her future, Maggie goes up to her family’s old barn. When she gets there, however, she hear Alex in her head and he talks her into learning how to pole vault. He claims it will help lead her to her destiny. With the help of her father’s old equipment, her brother’s track and field guide, and her brother’s help, Maggie takes pretty well to pole vaulting. So much so that she gets on her school’s track time. Will she be good enough to reach her destiny? What will happen to Alex after she learns all she can about pole vaulting? Will Maggie ever get over her grief and decide what to do with her future?

Narrator, Tavia Gilbert brings her long list of experience to a well-written book. The characters are well developed and are easily brought to life with Tavia’s unique voices. The mix of internal and external dialogue is well done and expertly done by Gilbert. Although the plot starts off a little slow, it engages the listeners and draws them easily into Maggie's world. The handling of a hard topic amongst the backdrop of school life is easily navigated and is tactfully done. Overall a great duo of individuals that complement each other's styles well. Listeners who enjoy slightly supernatural fiction, school stories, sports, and books dealing with grief will enjoy listening to this audiobook.

Grades 7 to 12, 4.5 stars