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tarafarah7: Tara Brown

Grand Rapids, MI
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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-11-18

A Must-Listen!

When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen, narrated by Joshilyn Jackson is one I've been wanting to listen to for quite some time. I'm so glad I finally chose to download it from my Audible library. Once I pushed play, I literally could not stop. In fact, the only break I took was to sleep. I started it last night, but as 4am approached, I knew I had to wait until the morning to finish it. This is the first book I've listened to by both the author and narrator. They were equally amazing, and I feel they definitely complemented the other's work. Bravo, ladies!

The storyline of this book is emotional and difficult, but it is real-life. Unfortunately, accidents like this one happen in every town; they happened in mine when I was growing up, and I'm sure they happened in yours, too. They have a lasting impact on everyone...the students, the parents, the schools, the authorities, those who knew the victims, and even those who didn't. Accidents resulting in death, especially those involving teens, brings me such heartache because they are so young. In a quick second, all their plans, goals, and hopes for the future disappear, leaving only memories for those they leave behind. As the story unfolds, we learn about the night of crash, the town, and the people who live there through four different points of view:
1. The mother of one of the high school cheerleaders who died in the crash
2. The mother of the teen boy who was driving the other car (who also attends the same high school as the girls/cheerleaders who died)
3. A substitute teacher who works at the high school and lives in their town
4. A cheerleader who wasn't in the car that night with her three best friends (the cheerleaders who died in the crash)

Marybeth Mayhew Whalen's decision to tell the story through alternating points of view of four different characters was perfect! I was able to see, hear, and feel how this single moment affected an entire community, rocking it to its core. Filled with emotion, heatbreak, regret, revenge, secrets, hope, and finally truth, When We Were Worthy tells the story of how a town and its people try their best to deal with, accept, and move on after a tragedy, that's all-too-familiar to so many.

The performance by Joshilyn Jackson was excellent! She played the characters so well, and I loved listening to her small-town accent. :-) Everything from her pace and volume to her clear enunciation made my overall listening experience very much worth the audiobook credit. In addition, her calm, soothing voice mixed with her consistent, inviting demeanor, made for a thoroughly enjoyable listen all around.

When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen, narrated by Joshilyn Jackson is one that will stay with you long after the last word is spoken. I cannot think of anyone I wouldn't recommend this book to! It's so good! However, I think parents, teachers, teens, fans of general fiction and YA lit, as well as those who live in small towns where football is life (and life is football) will enjoy it the most. I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. The reason I took .5 off was because there were many names and characters to keep track of, and I got confused a few times. I really don't think this could have been avoided, but it did cause me to push stop a handful of times to gather my thoughts. This is obviously just my own opinion, and very well may not be problem for others. Either way, it gets my highest recommendation, and it definitely ranks among my top 10 listens of all time.

Thank you so much for reading my review. I hope it was helpful. :-)

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-10-18

SUPER GOOD!!

Murder, She Floats: A Penning Trouble Mystery by Rachael Stapleton, narrated by Ellen Latzen is an audiobook that will appeal to just about everyone, but particularly to those who love cozy mysteries, comedies, and even chick lit! Basically, it's a funny mystery that includes elements of a cozy, but doesn't exactly follow all the "rules" to a tee. By far, it is my favorite audiobook by Rachel Stapleton, so far! I loved it! I tend to give too much away, so I'll let you read the plot synopsis on your own, but just know that I was totally engaged throughout the entire book, and I didn't want it to end!! The characters are a ton of fun, their dialogue is as real as it gets, and their problems are relatable. I was pretty surprised at how much happened in less than 4 hours...wow! I know this series is going to be one of my favorites because I feel like I'm there in the scene watching everything unfold. You are going to love it!

Narrator Ellen Latzen did an awesome job! It was the first time I've listened to her perform, and I can't wait to hear more. She really has a way with dialogue...she brought these conversations to life! Everything she said sounded so authentic, that I think I even saw the chatacters' expressions! Everything from her interpretation of the text to her inflection and tone were right on. Bravo!

Without a doubt, Murder, She Floats: A Penning Trouble Mystery by Rachael Stapleton, narrated by Ellen Latzen deserves 5/5 stars in all categories. It is such a fun (and funny!) audiobook to listen to, and I really cannot think of anyone who wouldn't thoroughly enjoy it. I highly recommend it to all; I'm already looking forward to hearing the next in series when it's released!

Thank you for reading my review. I hope it was helpful. :-)

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-08-18

Lapena Does It Again!

I love Shari Lapena's books, so when I saw An Unwanted Guest was available for pre-order, I immediately spent my monthly credit and waited for its release...and waited...and waited!! Today it was finally released! Yay! I spent the entire day listening to it non-stop, and I have no regrets whatsoever! It is a little different from her other books - instead of being a domestic thriller, it follows a murder mystery theme. The characters consist of multiple individuals, singles and couples, who are spending the weekend at a lodge. Some are there for a romantic getaway, while others are not, but either way, due to the weather taking a turn for the worse, the group quickly goes from not knowing one another to all being in the same boat...actually, the same lodge, but you get the picture. :-) One by one, the bodies start to pile up, leaving everyone wondering if the killer is one of them, or if someone from the outside has joined them without their knowledge. Unable to battle the storm, they have no choice but to wait it out and pray one of them isn't the next victim. The problem is, with no internet, no cell phones, and no electricity, no one knows to come save them.

I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery from start to finish, and it left me guessing all the way up to the big reveal. Lapena is a master of those last minute kickers, too. No worries, she has one for you at the very end. Although there are a few murders throughout the book, it is not a bloody or gory listen by any means, for those of you who were maybe worried about feeling queasy. There are quite a few characters, though, so listen closely! Knowing what I do now, I may go back and re-listen to see if I can pick up some of the clues I missed the first time through. If you like a good whodunnit mystery, you will love An Unwanted Guest. Everything is so well written, leaving no loose ends. It is super engaging, kept me on the edge of my seat, and is 100% unpredictable. I loved it!

Hillary Huber's performance as narrator was excellent. This is my first time listening to her, and I have no complaints. Her smooth voice and calm demeanor were the perfect balance for the suspenseful storyline. She kept a great pace, and her consistent tone made for a completely easy and enjoyable listen. While I'm sure the book is great, I'm so happy I decided to listen to the audiobook because her Huber's performance made my overall experience that much better.

I loved the audiobook An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena, narrated by Hillary Huber, and I give it a rating of 5/5 stars across the board. Fans of suspense, mysteries, and thrillers will be hooked immediately and want to listen straight through. It definitely gives any murder mystery I've ever listened to a run for its money! I give it my high recommendation...you will not be disappointed.

Thank you for reading my review. I hope it was helpful. :-)

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20 of 22 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-07-18

A great listen!!

A Not so Merry Christmas Murder: Hope Hadley Cozy Mystery Series, Book 5 by Meredith Potts, narrated by Rachel Carr is a great listen at just over 2 hours. I'm really starting to think these shorter audiobooks are my new favorites! Being able to listen to books as I tackle those items on my daily to-do lists is really making me a more productive person! After listening to so many cozies, you would think I was a detective, myself, but Meredith Potts knows how to keep me waiting until the very end to reveal that I got it wrong again! Yes, she keeps me guessing every time! I'll solve it one day! :-)

Rachel Carr, aka Hope Hadley, had a great performance. She makes my overall experiece (and those to-do lists I mentioned) much more entertaining. I choose the audiobook almost 100% of the time over reading the Kindle or print versions because I am able to enjoy so many more books with my busy lifestyle. Carr's consistency in playing Hope is much appreciated, and I have grown to love these wild adventures...no matter how pushy Hope seems! She really will stop at nothing to get the truth!

A Not so Merry Christmas Murder: Hope Hadley Cozy Mystery Series, Book 5 by Meredith Potts, narrated by Rachel Carr is a great audiobook for those looking for a short, yet complete start to finish cozy mystery. It is a fun series that can be read in any order, but you will want to listen to the Books 1 & 2 first so you know the background of how Hope got where she is today. Even though this one occurs around Christmastime, it can be enjoyed all year long. It's the middle if August right now, and I enjoyed the story every bit as much as if it were December! I'm looking forward to next in series!

Thank you for reading my review. I hope it was helpful. :-)

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-03-18

<br />Remember to breathe! :-)

Cookies, Corpses, and the Deadly Haunt: Haunted House Flippers Inc. by Rachael Stapleton, narrated by Ellora Sen-Gupta is for all you cozy mystery fans who crave an extra dose of suspense! Fit for Halloween, this audiobook contains all the elements to keep you on the edge of your seat, and looking over your shoulder, well after the book has ended! I'd have to say that in between my laughs and giggles, I found myself holding my breath for periods of time. I must remeber to breathe!! This is one of the most suspenseful cozies I've ever listened to, and I've listened to many! I am a bit of a scaredy-cat...I always have been, and I'm sure I always will be...so being that this could technically be considered a paranormal cozy mystery, I knew I was in for, what I consider, a scary (yet cozy) ride. :-)

The writing is fantastic and is filled with vivid deatils and real-to-life dialogue, making it easy to follow along. At just over four hours, I found this to be a perfect listen for Halloween night, but for those of you who run toward the scary, creeking sounds you hear in the attic, why wait for Halloween? You live for books like this one! I finished listening to this a couple days ago, and I'm still thinking about it! All jokes aside, though, I feel like I keep hearing foosteps, like someone walking...but I'm the only one here! Of course, it only happens when I'm home alone. Rachael Stapleton, what have you done to me? Ahhhhhh!!

This is the first time I've listened to Ellora Sen-Gupta's as narrator. Her voice is calm and soothing...thank goodness! In the beginning of the book, I took for granted her consistent, even-keeled tone. In fact, I almost mistook it as too calming, even being on the verge of non-expressive. However, as the plot thickened, I realized that she might more perfect to narrate this series than I realized. Her pace was perfect, and she kept balance between the ever-growing suspense of the storyline. I don't think I'd want to listen to a frantic, hysterically expressive narrator in a paranormal cozy mystery because it would take away from the plot. She added to my overall experience and kept me listening up to the big reveal at the very end! Yup, the end....that I'm still thinking about!

Cookies, Corpses, and the Deadly Haunt: Haunted House Flippers Inc. by Rachael Stapleton, narrated by Ellora Sen-Gupta deserves a 5/5 star rating across the board. It's engaging, "page-turning," and definitely sets the mood, giving cozy mystery lovers and paranormal fans an all-inclusive ride to "the other side." While I'm sure the book is a wonderful read, I'm so glad I chose to listen to the audiobook. Although my wimpy, scaredy-cat self is easily frightened, the characters drew me in, making me excited and curious to find out what new adventures and discoveries the future holds! I plan to build my tolerance for "the unknown," and I'm looking forward to the next in series!

Thank you for reading my review. I hope it was helpful. :-)

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-27-18

Out Sleuthing Again!

Halloween Candy with a Side of Murder: Daley Buzz Cozy Mystery, Volume 6 by Meredith Potts, narrated by Lisa Beacom is an entertaining addition to this fun series! Of course, Sabrina is again on the case, and she's not stopping until she hears...or should I say demands to hear...the truth. I have to admit, I would NOT want to be the one sitting there being questioned. They do not give up; I almost felt bad for a few of the suspects in the beginning. Well, almost.... :-) All the volumes in this series that I've listened to have held my attention from start to finish, but I found this one (Vol. 6) to be the most engaging. I really liked it, and even though it would make a fun Halloween-time listen, it is definitely not a requirement. Right now, it's the middle of summer, and I enjoyed it just as much as I would have if it were October 31st. At just over 3 hours, it's perfect for an afternoon at home or a weekly drive to work. I like each of the audiobooks written by Meredith Potts, but the shorter ones, like this one, mesh so perfectly with my daily schedule that I keep coming back for more. Keep up the great work! :-)

Lisa Beacom's performance as narrator was great! She uses voices that allowed me to easily differentiate who is speaking at the time, and her clear enuciation of words made for a pleasant listening experience. We all know there's nothing worse than having to hit the 30-second rewind button over and over because we can't understand the narrator. Well, none of that exists here, and because of it, I was able to sit back, relax, and do some sleuthing of my own! Thank you!

Halloween Candy with a Side of Murder: Daley Buzz Cozy Mystery, Volume 6 by Meredith Potts, narrated by Lisa Beacom deserves a rating of 5/5 stars. The length is perfect, it's entertaining throughout, and I couldn't help but laugh out loud at some of the comments! Ha! While it is part of a series, it could be considered a stand-alone. If you are a fan of cozies, I think this is one you will really enjoy!

Thank you for reading my review. I hope it was helpful. :-)

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-13-18

Beautiful in every way!

Waiting for Aegina: The Gift Saga, Book 2 by Effie Kammemou, narrated by Emily Lawrence is so wonderful! I cannot recommend it enough to everyone out there. Although it could stand-alone, you do not want to rob yourself of the opportunity to get to know how these characters came to be. I loved Book 1, Evanthia's Gift, just as much as this one; I'm taken aback by the beauty and eloquence of Kammemou's flowing words and beautiful storyline. These true-to-life characters have quickly become part of me. With them, I've laughed, cried, shared in their joys and successes, as well as their pains and sorrows. I recently lost my own mother to Cancer, and in a way, these characters have allowed me to feel not so alone. They have let me see that life goes on, and, in the end, everything works out just like it's supposed to. Wirhout knowing, they have given me the friendship, hope, and courage that I needed. Thank you for that. :-)

Narrator Emily Lawrence, again, puts on an absolutely amazing performance. She has made my listening experience memorable, and I can still hear her voice speaking to me as I type this. I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to her narrate every minute of this series. I am very much looking forward to hearing her again in Book 3 when it is released on audio.

A rating of 5/5 stars is not enough for this series...I'd give it 10, if I could! I have no doubts that Waiting for Aegina: The Gift Saga, Book 2 by Effie Kammemou, narrated by Emily Lawrence is one that will be enjoyed by all. It is highly relatable, as it is a story about all of us...life, love, loss, family, friendship, and everything in between. These characters and all they experience on their unpredictable journeys through life will stay with you long after the story, itself, ends. It has allowed me to reflect on my own life and decisions I have made, as well as my future, because I saw bits and pieces of myself in each of the characters, as you will, too. Without hesitation, I give this book my highest recommendation.

Thank you so much for reading my review. I hope it was helpful. :-)

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-10-18

What a performance!!

Serendipity Mystery: Diary of a Snoopy Cat: Inca Book Series, Book 7 by R.F. Kristi, narrated by Stephanie Quinn is a delightfully engaging audiobook for children in grades 3-6 and depending on the individual, would also be an enjoyable listen for those in grades 7-8. I am a high school teacher, and even though some of my students would find this too juvenile, as an adult listener, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. :-) After hearing the sample, you will know if it is right for you. This is the first book I have read/listened to from both the author and narrator; even though it is part of a series, I would still consider it a stand-alone, if you wanted to start with this one. I'll allow you to read the plot description on your own, as it gives a detailed explanation of the exact storyline. The running time of this audiobook is around 1.5 hours, making it perfect for an afternoon listen or a car ride up north. I recommend it to those who love children's books, cozy mysteries, animals, and culture! This is also a great option for those looking for an audiobook that the whole family will enjoy! Filled with figurative language and opportunities for discussion, Serendipity Mystery is very well thought out! I was thoroughly impressed with the writing, and I could definitely see many teachers using this book in the classroom to supplement their lessons on similes, vocabulary, and characterization, to name a few. **Of course, like everything that is used for educational purposes, make sure to you are following the Fair Use Policy guidelines or have been granted permission for use before choosing to implement.**

The performance by Stephanie Quinn blew me away! I wasn't sure if this was a child narrating or an adult who was just that good!! After checking out samples of her other work, I realized that she is just that good! Wow! Her amazing voice!!! She did a phenomenal job playing these adorable, loving characters! Her performance made me want to hear more in the series, and while I'm sure the book is wonderful without audio, my overall experience was heightened by choosing the audiobook. Everything from her pronunciation, clarity, and speed to her inflection, volume, and enthusiasm kept me engaged in the story from start to finish. I am so impressed by her amazing performance! Bravo!

The audiobook Serendipity Mystery: Diary of a Snoopy Cat: Inca Book Series, Book 7 by R.F. Kristi, narrated by Stephanie Quinn deserves 5/5 stars across the board. From the wonderful learning opportunities and fun storyline to the engaging narration, this is an audiobook your entire family will love! I highly recommend it all!

Thank you for reading my review. I hope it was helpful. :-)

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-09-18

Absolutely Outstanding!

Jennifer S. Alderson proves to us all in her latest, Rituals of the Dead: An Artifact Mystery: Adventures of Zelda Richardson, Book 3, what I had suspected all along - she is the author to keep an eye on! No joke...she IS the one your mama warned you about! Alderson is on fire, and I have a feeling, this is just the beginning. After reading and listening to another of her books, The Lover's Portrait: An Art Mystery, I immediately recognized that her writing abilities greatly exceeded other authors of the same genre. Being that it was the first book I ever read by Alderson, I had nothing to compare it to. So, when I saw a couple days ago that Rituals of the Dead was released on audio, I was overjoyed and couldn't wait to give it a listen! I can say with complete confidence that I was correct - Jennifer S. Alderson is an amazingly talented author! Taking a look at the charts on Amazon, I see that I am definitely not the only one who feels this way. Rituals of the Dead is a top seller in 3 separate categories right now, as I type this review, and one of them has the Kindle version teetering between the #1 and #2 spot for Literature and Fiction, focusing in on Foreign Language Fiction. So, Ms. Alderson, just in case you read these reviews, I want to say congratulations! :-)

Chelsea Stephens' performance as narrator was excellent! She did a phenomenal job bringing the characters to life as she flawlessly switched between the early 1960s and 2017. Her consistency made for easy listening, and her voice was pleasing to the ear. I feel she made my overall experience that much more enjoyable and well worth the credit! This is my first time hearing Chelsea Stephens narrate, and, based on her performance here, I definitely plan to check out more of her work! :-)

Rituals of the Dead: An Artifact Mystery: Adventures of Zelda Richardson, Book 3 by Jennifer S. Alderson, narrated by Chelsea Stephens is very deserving of 5/5 stars across the board. Not only will you be kept in suspense and wonder, but you will also stay thoroughly entertained from start to finish. If you love historical fiction, mysteries, and culture, you are definitely going to love this audiobook. It is thought-provoking and very-well researched! In fact, it is so well-researched that I had to check if it was actually fiction. I love audiobooks, so, natually, when I find a good one, I can't help but recommend it to others. I have to also say, if you are looking to read a book, yourself, or if you are deciding on your next group or book club read, this one would be a wonderful choice. It can be read as a stand-alone or as part of a series. The content allows for a variety of thoughts and opinions on situations that are real and relevant, which provides wide opportunity for discussion. The characters are relatable and likable, especially Zelda, and it is highly enjoyable! I cannot wait for the next audiobook to be released!

Thank you for reading my review. I hope it was helpful. :-)

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-05-18

~My First Anthology~

This audiobook consists of five cozy mysteries by Meredith Potts, narrated by Marley Welling. The total running time is around 10 hours. Although I've listened to many individual audiobooks by Meredith Potts, this is my first anthology. It is also my first time listening to narrator Marley Welling. While it is nice having the option to purchase an anthology, I still wish the books were available for individual puchase on audio. I like being able to download shorter books, knowing that I can finish them within a reasonable time frame, instead of having it sit on my device waiting for my return. This is why I was originally drawn toward Potts' Hope Hadley Cozy Mystery Series. On the upside, for those looking to get more for your dollar, this is the way to go because the audiobook as a whole costs more than your credit is worth, so you are coming out ahead! Either way, it is just my own personal preference and did not affect my rating. I felt each of the stories in this anthology was engaging, and I recommend this audiobook to those who are lovers of cozy mysteries!

While I enjoyed the performance by Marley Welling, I felt the recording quality wasn't as good as other audiobooks I've listened to by Meredith Potts, and although I got used to it as time went on, I felt it could have been improved. Now, by no means am I an expert when it comes to creating, recording, and publishing audiobooks, but I have listened to enough to know the difference between one that is of high quality and one that is not, especially when I have heard much better quality from this author, herself, in her other series of books, which I deeply enjoyed. Another issue I found was the narrator's repetition of words and phrases throughout each of the books. This is an editing issue, and I can see 1-2 accidentally slipping by without noticing during the editing process, but there was more than that. This tells me that 1.Yes, these audiobooks were edited and went through more than one reading (which I'm sure 99.9% of audiobooks do) and 2.During the final edits, not enough attention was paid to the specific words being said (if so, we wouldn't have heard the narrator repeat the same words and sentences more than once in multiple places throughout the five stories). I hate giving a lower rating for the narrator category, but I wasn't sure if the other categories were fitting for these specific issues. Had there been no problems in the editing and overall quality, I would have given a rating of four to narrator Marley Welling.

Overall, I enjoyed the stories in Meredith Potts Cozy Mystery Anthology. I love the length of each one, and I felt that they all held my interest. If you are looking for fun, clean, and entertaining mysteries, Meredith Potts is your girl! She has published many books and audiobooks; all of them are highly-rated and thoroughly enjoyed by her large fan base. With this one, however, due to the lesser recording quality, in comparison to her Daley Buzz Cozy Mystery Series, for example, I have to take a star off. Overall, taking everything into consideration, I would give this audiobook an overall rating of 3.5 to 4/5 stars. I'm a fan of Meredith Potts writing, and I am looking forward to seeing what she records next! This is the only work from narrator, Marley Welling, that I was able to find on Audible, so maybe it is her first. In time, I think we will see growth in her narration skills, which is always exciting. :-) On that note, since I haven't yet completed the Daley Buzz Cozy Mystery Series by Meredith Potts, I'm off to spend my next credit on one I have yet to hear!

Thank you for reading my review. I hope it was helpful. :-)

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