Book Review: Death and the Gravedigger’s Angel by Loretta Ross

Death and The Gravedigger’s Angel
An Auction Block Mystery #3
Loretta Ross
Midnight Ink, February 2017
ISBN 978-0-7387-5041-5
Trade Paperback

This is a wonderful, amusing and emotionally fraught novel. Like most of us, the characters are quirky, odd, some with skewed views of their world. When murder visits their community, their reactions are often unpredictable.

Start with the lead protagonist, a private detective in the community of East Bledsoe Ferry, Missouri. His name is Death Bogart. Yes, he of the title line for this series. His brother, a paramedic, is Randy. Death’s girl friend is Wren Morgan who is employed by a local auction house.

Immediately, readers will understand that the names of the characters play almost as important roles in the narrative as do the humans to which the individuals are attached. The dialogue ranges from testy to heartfelt and at times, sarcastic, but always appropriate. Readers will quickly become familiar with the connections between the characters.

Wren Morgan is an auctioneer. Part of her job entails cataloging and organizing estates contracted for sale by her employer. She’s anxious to start work at the late nineteenth century and long abandoned Hadleigh estate. Her work is delayed because the body of a man clad in a stolen Civil War uniform has been discovered on the property. Death Bogart gets involved when he’s asked to investigate the circumstances of the murder. Then things get complicated.

There are other elements that further complicate Wren’s and Death’s life. One is the leader of an out-of-ordinary religious cult who often argues with biblical references. The pastor doesn’t actually quote the bible, he quotes the book, chapter and verse. In one hilarious scene, Wren’s brother looks up the barked references and relays them verbally to his sister.

Ultimately the crimes are solved but not before a terrifying experience menaces Wren and Death solves the case of the mysterious dancing can. A most enjoyable reading experience.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, November 2017.
http://www.carlbrookins.com http://agora2.blogspot.com
The Case of the Purloined Painting, The Case of the Great Train Robbery, Reunion, Red Sky.

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Book Review: Parallax by D.T. Dyllin

 

Author: D.T. Dyllin
Narrator: Ashley Holt
Length: 6 hours 52 minutes
Series: Starblind, Book 2
Publisher: Tik Tok Press
Released: Jul. 10, 2017
Genre: Romantic Science Fiction

 

Tamzea, a Mazatimz healer, found a home as part of the crew on the starship The Pittsburgh. But when a part of her past crashes into her present, she’s forced to face the uncertainty of her future. Dragged back to a place Tamzea had hoped to leave in her worst nightmares, she discovers Eron, a man she thought dead. Determined to save each other, Tamzea and Eron must find a way to work together, despite their torrid past. With partial truths, and political games, will Tamzea be able to fix Eron, or is he too broken for even her to heal?

 

 

D.T. Dyllin is a bestselling author who writes paranormal, sci-fi, and contemporary romance. Basically, anything with a love story is her kryptonite. Her obsession with affairs-of-the-heart is what first drove her to begin twisting her own tales of scorching romance.

D.T. was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Black & Gold for life, baby!) She now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband, and two spoiled German Shepherds.

WebsiteTwitterInstagram
Narrator Bio

Former NPR PBS FM radio host/announcer in a major media market, with a warm mezzo female voice. I have a background in opera and can present in English, Italian, German, French, Latin. With a background in the performing arts and opera, I can sing as well as do some accents.

Home includes a husband shaped person, 2 cats, volunteerism and an active online gaming presence.
No audiobook genre is taboo, which makes for very interesting dinner table discussion.

Member, Audio Producers Association

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The second in the Starblind series is, strictly speaking, not a sequel because it focuses on a different protagonist. Jane, the captain of the Pittsburgh, is here but largely on a peripheral basis and our heroine this time is one of the crew, Tamzea. I have to say I think I like Tamzea more than Jane, or maybe it’s just that she seems a little more appealing, someone I might want to spend time with (and I confess to thinking lavender hair and eyes is pretty cool). Also, Tamzea is a healer rather than the bounty hunter Jane is and that’s naturally more comfortable.

Tamzea has a past, pretty well hidden, but it comes back to haunt her in the person of Eron, someone she thought had been lost in that past. The connection between these two is anything but placid as they try to build a “new” relationship and I found this book to have more interesting aspects than the first in some ways.

As before, the sex scenes are more than I care for but they’re acceptable. As for the narration, I’m no closer to really liking Ms. Holt’s tones and cadence and it actually jarred on me a little more this time because I would expect a different sound for Tamzea. Still, that’s not enough to make me not want to listen to the next book so stay tuned!

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2018.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. This tour is being sponsored by Spectrum Audiobooks. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Q&A with Narrator Ashley Holt
  • What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
    • The lead character. I geeked out bigtime over this title. I went online and downloaded art to represent the main characters, and printed them out and put them up on the walls. I really got into it!
  • How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
    • That is a difficult question to answer. Every author is different, and each experience is different. Having said that, DT stands out as being VERY different from most authors, to the point where we chat in email and talk about hockey more than books!
  • Who are your “accent inspirations”?
    • Another difficult question. I don’t know if I have any. Coming from the opera world makes this a very different experience than a traditional American actor, because we are steeped in the language immediately. When opera singers have to sing in English, its often a very difficult transition! Did I answer the question???
  • How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
    • Practice, a TON of practice and sounding them out in dialogue scenes. Although I now wish I hadn’t chosen such a gruff voice for Dar, because he figures prominently in Book 4, and damn, that gets painful after a while, even with a ton of vocal warmup. I work with my coach on this a LOT, and she encourages me to put more variety in. It is a learned skill, so with every book I do, I hopefully get better!
  • What types of things are harmful to your voice?
    • 4 hours of continually voicing a gruff character! Ha, no not really. The big no no? Alcohol the night before. Again, back to the opera training. Over 30 years of training (I started when I was 14) and I can feel changes in my vocal cords like THAT. My voice is my instrument, and even one drink the night before changes the COLOR and TIMBRE. Have 2 or 3, and I might not be able to record the next day at all, depending on what book I’m doing or what character.
  • Has anyone ever recognized you from your voice?
    • HA, yes! I mentioned I travel for the day job, and sometimes we drive. So one day we were gassing up at a station somewhere, and the clerk recognized my voice. It was great.
  • Have there been any characters that you really connected with?
    • I now tend to pick titles that have the bit of snark that I resonate with. Having said that, I did a time-travel alt history with a very saccharine sweet heroine that garned some very good reviews, so what do I know?
  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
    • SIGN ME UP. I would go to the year 1800, and become a student of Beethoven. I am obsessed with learning the piano – I always wanted to, and never studied. I can plunk out a few things, but I mean really immerse myself the way I did in voice lessons. Also, I am a dork for 19th century literature, especially Russian and Dickens, my favorite author.
  • How does audiobook narration differ from other types of voiceover work you’ve done?
      • I did classical music radio for afew years, and even there, where the style is not as much “in your face” as it would be for a rock station or talk radio, the radio style is still very INTENSE. When I work with my coaches, it is to get the “radio sound” out of my voice.

Giveaway

Starblind Series Giveaway: Amazon Echo Dot
https://js.gleam.io/e.js

 

Starblind, Book 1

Feb. 6th:

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

T’s Stuff

Feb. 7th:

Audiobook Romance

Jazzy Book Reviews

Feb. 8th:

Buried Under Books

Feb. 9th:

Notes from ‘Round the Bend

La libreria di Beppe

Feb. 10th:

Lilly’s Book World

Haddie’s Haven

Feb. 11th:

Smada’s Book Smack

Loves Great Reads

Feb. 12th:

The Book Addict’s Reviews

Parallax, Book 2

Feb. 13th:

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Feb. 14th:

Audiobook Romance

T’s Stuff

Feb. 15th:

Lilly’s Book World

Jazzy Book Reviews

Feb. 16th:

Notes from ‘Round the Bend

La libreria di Beppe

Feb. 17th:

Buried Under Books

Loves Great Reads

Feb. 18th:

Smada’s Book Smack

Haddie’s Haven

Feb. 19th:

The Book Addict’s Reviews

Flux, Book 3

Feb. 20th:

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Feb. 21st:

Audiobook Romance

Feb. 22nd:

Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog

T’s Stuff

Feb. 23rd:

Notes from ‘Round the Bend

Feb. 24th:

Lilly’s Book World

Haddie’s Haven

Jazzy Book Reviews

Loves Great Reads

Feb. 25th:

Buried Under Books

Feb. 26th:

The Book Addict’s Reviews

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Book Review: Pressed to Death by Kirsten Weiss

Pressed to Death
A Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Mystery #2
Kirsten Weiss
Midnight Ink, March 2017
ISBN 978-0-7387-5031-6
Trade Paperback

Maddie Kosloski, the owner of the paranormal museum, displays items with a history, usually a bloody history, in her small shop that also sell ouija boards, spooky T-shirts, and other touristy stuff. Oddly enough, she seems to make a living at it, even as she participates in the celebrations and festivals in the California wine country where she lives. As this story opens, she is being accused of stealing an antique grape press–reportedly haunted–from a local winery. Thankfully, she has a receipt signed by the winery owner’s wife, but that doesn’t stop Detective Laurel Hammer’s accusations. Only because the Halloween/autumn festival is in the offing does Maddie escape arrest. Unfortunately, as she’s setting up the display for her paranormal museum, she stumbles upon the body of–who else–the man who owned the wine press.

Trouble, as you might expect, ensues.

Somehow, the Ladies Aid Society, a lively bunch of do-gooders with a lot of influence in the community, persuade Maddie to investigate the death, which of course, turns out to be murder. At the Ladies Aid forefront is Maddie’s own mother.

Maddie’s poking and prying manages to stir up a hornet’s nest, some of which puts her in a peck of trouble, not to mention danger. It takes a lot of help from her friends to put this haunting to rest. Worse, as Maddie’s investigation winds down, she discovers why the wine press is haunted. Should she tell? Because once revealed, an unhaunted wine press isn’t much of a draw to her museum.

I wouldn’t say as this is a strong mystery, but the writing is good, the characters are engaging, the setting is warm and friendly (hauntings aside) and the story, with all it’s twists and turns, has a really good cat character.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, December 2017.
Author of Three Seconds to Thunder, Four Furlongs and Hometown Homicide.

Book Review: Murder and Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction by Amy Metz

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Cover Reveal: Alive? by Melissa Woods

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Title: Alive?
Series: The Alive? Series #1
Author: Melissa Woods
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult

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Synopsis

Everyone knows the first rule of the zombie apocalypse: Don’t. Get. Bitten.

Too bad Violet has never been great at following the rules. Walking home after a night of partying, she manages to let one of the Dead take a chunk out of her only hours after they’ve begun walking again. Fortunately for Violet, she doesn’t die. Unfortunately for Violet—she’s not exactly alive, either.

Violet’s body is undergoing changes, and suddenly the taste of human flesh is not as revolting as it once sounded. Controlling her new urges will be hard. Living with survivors who have no idea will be even harder. And the real zombies? They still want to eat her, too…

Surviving the zompocalypse is tricky when you play for both teams.

New from author Melissa Woods, Alive? is a heart-pounding adventure with suspenseful plot twists, complex characters, and a dash of dark humor. Gritty and raw, Alive? is sure to keep you guessing, and will delight zombie apocalypse fans everywhere.

About the Author

Melissa is a Primary School teacher by day and a writer by night. She grew up in a small town in the UK, and spent of her time with her nose in a book. Her childhood was filled with R.L Stein, Jacqueline Wilson, and J.K Rowling, and they inspired her to begin creating her own worlds. Melissa has always been fascinated with stories about living through an apocalyptic event, and with characters who feel so real that they become part of the reader long after the book was put away. She wrote the first draft of Alive? at sixteen, and has been hooked on writing ever since.

When she’s not writing, Melissa enjoys reading, playing video games, crocheting, and spending time with her two dogs (and occasionally her husband).

Author links: 
https://twitter.com/ melissajanewh
https://www.facebook.com/ melissawoodswriting

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Waiting On Wednesday (87)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that
spotlights upcoming releases that I’m really
looking forward to. Waiting On Wednesday
is the creation of Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

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Book Review: The Shadow District by Arnaldur Indridason

The Shadow District
The Flovent and Thorson Thrillers #1
Arnaldur Indridason
Translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb
Minotaur Books, November 2017
ISBN:  978-1-250-12402-9
Hardcover

From the publisher:  In the debut of a new series from international mystery giant Indridason, the murder of a woman in Reykjavik during WWII becomes a piece in the puzzle of a contemporary killing.  A retired detective named Konrad remembers the earlier murder from his childhood, and is surprised when, assisting in the case of a 90-year-old man who was smothered in his bed, he comes across clippings that the old man kept of the murder.  It happened in ‘the shadow district,’ a rough neighborhood bordered by the National Theatre where Konrad grew up. But why would someone be interested in that crime now?  Alternating between Konrad’s unofficial investigation and the original wartime police inquiry, The Shadow District depicts the two investigations, separated by decades, discovering that two girls had been attacked in oddly similar circumstances.  Did the police arrest the wrong man all those years ago?  How are these cases linked across the decades?  And who is the old man?  A deeply compassionate story of old crimes and their consequences.

And that this surely is.  This newest standalone from Mr. Indridason will resonate with his many readers, as it did with this reviewer.

The contemporary murder is that of a young woman of about twenty, the body discovered by a local Icelandic woman and her lover, found in a box in a doorway of that same National Theatre in the Shadow District.  The investigation is headed by Konrad and Marta, a young woman with whom he had worked in the CID, and they immediately realize the similarities between this murder and the wartime killing, the two victims and the circumstances of their murders being so similar.  The ensuing tale is riveting, in this author’s distinctive style, and it is highly recommended.

Reviewed by Gloria Feit, November 2017.