Friday, May 30, 2014

Dakota by Gwen Florio narrated by, Caroline Shaffer

Dakota by Gwen Florio narrated by, Caroline Shaffer

I should start off by saying that I am a North Dakotan, I live here,  my family lives here, my parents were raised here, so my perspective on this may be different than others.

This was a good mystery and it kept me guessing right up to the reveal. Lola is a reporter who decided to go after a story even though her Montana newspaper and Sheriff boyfriend Charlie tell her not to. She finds herself in the North Dakota Oil patch where the men outnumber the women by a huge percentage and finds herself hip deep in all sorts of trouble. She’s on the hunt for a killer of a young girl and maybe even more girls,  when she puts it together that many women from the Blackfoot Reservation in Magpie, Montana are going to the patch to work and that work ends up being  dancing or prostitution but they are ending up dead, not rich like they were hoping. She takes it upon herself to find the answers and it puts her in danger.

I liked the character of Lola she’s scrappy and fearless, of course that fearlessness gets her in trouble as she dives feet first into a story that is much bigger than she ever expected. I liked this book well enough that I plan to read Florio’s first book Montana and I look forward to reading  more of Lola’s adventure’s especially after the ending of this one I am curious how she will deal with that going forward.

The author also does a good job of respecting the Native Americans while honoring their culture. Also the descriptions of the man camps and the bars near them were pretty spot on.

I wish the narrator, Caroline Shaffer, hadn’t used the movie Fargo to learn a North Dakota accent. The character of Charlotte sounds just like the lady cop on the movie/tv show Fargo, and that annoyed me to no end. Her Native American accents were a little better and the main character was good because she wasn’t from North Dakota. Also The Bakken is pronounced Bahkken (like Bah humbug). It wasn’t that the narrator was bad I liked her narration except when she was doing her Fargo impressions. So I would listen to this new to me narrator again as long as the book wasn’t set in my home state!

This story looks at the gritty underbelly of the Bakken Oil Patch in North Dakota it involves prostitution and human trafficking and it may seem like fiction but unfortunately it is a true consequence of the major influx of people coming to ND to work, the crime rate in ND has gone up considerably and there are a lot of murders and crime on the west end of our state.

One thing that bothered me was, Thor saying this is Dakota, I have never heard anyone from North Dakota call it just Dakota because we need to make the distinction that we are North Dakota Not South Dakota.

3 ½ Stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher & Librarything however I did end up checking out the audiobook from my library.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Armchair Audies Thriller Category Wrap up~~ And The Winner is…

Armchair Audies Thriller Category Wrap up
This was a tough category because I decided to get through the new to me author & narrator first, I had never read anything by Sandra Carrington-Smith nor had I ever heard of Dave Fennoy, it didn’t really sound like a book I’d pick for myself so I was just going to get it out of the way and do you know what happened?? I was completely blown away not only by the narration but the story too. Fennoy’s narration was so great that I knew within a few minutes of listening to the other books in this category that they wouldn’t beat out Fennoy’s narration. I did listen to all the books a couple I didn’t finish completely but I did listen to at least half of the book just to make sure I got in on any accents the narrators were doing.

                               And the Winner is….

#1-The Book of Obeah (Crossroads #1) by Sandra Carrington-Smith Narrated by, Dave Fennoy
Even though our heroine is female it didn’t bother me at all that this one was narrated by a man because he was amazing and added to the spookiness of this book. Dave Fennoy has this voice it’s the voice of every scary Voodoo witch doctor that’s ever been heard or read he was perfect for this book. His voice is a cross between Barry White & Dion Graham and I really liked it and was very surprised to find out this was his only audiobook on audible so did some digging and found out he is a voice over actor and has some impressive credits to his name in commercials, animations, games and documentaries. I for one hope he narrates the second book in this series because it won’t be the same without him! I also hope he will narrate more books because I could listen to him all day! There were times the music between chapters was annoying and times it felt like it fit in so just a warning to those of you who don’t like music in your audiobooks.

#2-Sycamore Row (Jake Brigance #2) by John Grisham narrated by, Michael Beck
Michael Becks narration was really good, I thought his southern accents weren’t overdone and I found it interesting that he has different accents for different parts of the south. I think most people would have done one stock voice for all southerners but a Mississippi accent and a North Carolina accent are very different and he conveyed that well.

#3-The Fifth Assassin (Beecher White #2) by Brad Meltzer narrated by, Scott Brick
 This story grabbed me right away and as always Scott Brick’s narration was so well done he always makes me want to continue on even when I got a bit confused, this is one I think I should have read the first book first. Brick does give us many distinct characters and you always know who is talking.

#4-The Hit by David Baldacci narrated by, Ron McLarty & Orlagh Cassidy
I love Ron McLarty’s voice he reminds me of Len Cariou which is a compliment! I'm not sure about the reasoning behind adding Orlagh to the mix it's just odd, it did grow on me a little though. Plus there are sound effects gunshots, explosions, horns honking and tires squealing this is not a radio show or a full cast production, so, please just tell there were gunshots and explosions I don't need to hear them. I Hated the sound effects they drove me crazy and pulled me out the story every time.  I don’t like books where all the women’s parts are done by one female and all the male done by the male, if you are going to have a male and female narrator in this book then the character of Jessica should have been the female when it was from her point of view and when it was Robie’s point of view should have been the male, some of the conversations felt like they were reading a script it was very stilted and stiff. Just to clarify this has nothing to do with Orlagh Cassidy’s voice I am a fan, it was the way the whole book was edited together that I didn’t like.

#5-Suspect by Robert Crais narrated by, MacLeod Andrews

Macleod Andrews narration was well done but nothing extraordinary, and when he talked to the dog in his high pitched voice it got really annoying. Honestly there is nothing memorable about this book, not the narration or the story.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Armchair Audies Mystery Category Wrap Up~And the winner is...

Armchair Audies Mystery Category Wrap Up

I didn’t review all of these on my blog some I didn’t have much to say about them (Links take you to full review where available):

                                           And the winner is …
#1- Heirs and Graces (Royal Spyness, Book #7; by Rhys Bowen; Narrated by Katherine Kellgren; Audible, Inc.) – Katherine Kellgren’s narration was as always Amazing. I kind of feel sorry for anyone else in an Audie category that is up against Katherine Kellgren because she is so amazing. There are so many characters in this book with very different accents and each and every person sounds different and is distinct. Some of the accents in this book were; high brow English, Australian, cockney, Irish, male and female, kids and grown-ups all done absolutely flawlessly. No other book in the mystery category had this many accents and characters done so well.

#2- Rage Against theDying (by Becky Masterman; Narrated by Judy Kaye; Macmillan Audio)- Judy Kaye’s narration was fabulous all of the characters and accents were very well done. She did a few different accents which felt authentic especially since the main accents were male characters it was very impressive.

#3- He’s Gone (by Deb Caletti; Narrated by Cassandra Campell; Tantor Media)- Cassandra Campbell’s narration was really good, she had just the right amount of emotions in her voice and when Dani is feeling overwhelmed and frantic the narration conveys this superbly. As always Cassandra’s narration is very well done.

#4- Death and the Lit Chick (A St Just Mystery, Book #2; by G.M. Malliet; Narrated by Davina Porter; Dreamscape Media, LLC)- Davina Porter is one of the best narrators out there you can’t go wrong with her narrations, this was a cute cozy and Davina was great as always.

#5- Unleashed (Andy Carpenter, Book #11; by David Rosenfelt; Narrated by Grover Gardner; Listen & Live Audio)- Grover Gardner’s narration was well done but at times just a straight read, I do like his voice though so I still enjoyed this one.

#6- The Enemy of My Enemy (Brainrush, Book #2; by Richard Bard; Narrated by R.C. Bray; Richard Bard)- I’m not sure what to say about R.C. Bray’s narration it was very urgent even when he was saying things like I’m going to sit over there (just an example), it also reminded me a bit of William Shatner. I will be honest I did not finish this book but I listened to 3 hours and that was enough to tell me that it would not beat Katherine Kellgren.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Heirs & Graces by Rhys Bowen narrated by, Katherine Kellgren~~Armchair Audies

Heirs & Graces (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries #7) by Rhys Bowen narrated by, Katherine Kellgren~~Armchair Audies
2014 Audie Nominee Mystery Category
Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
Publisher: Audible Studios

This book was hilarious it made me laugh out loud while driving down the road other drivers must have thought I was crazy!

Georgiana is staying at Kingsdowne Place to help out the family when they find a new heir for the Dukedom unfortunately for this upper crust family the heir apparent is an Aussie who has been raised as a rancher not as a Duke, plus the current Duke Cedric is a jerk who would rather have everyone gone and adopt one of his male playthings than put up with an interloper or anyone else in the family. Unfortunately for the Duke things don’t go well for him at all.

The mystery was a good one I didn’t guess who had done it. And the cast of characters and I do mean characters are all fabulous; you have Princess Charlotte who constantly wants to have a séance, her sister Vivienne who is a highly sexual being and turns everything into innuendo, The Dowager Duchess who is as upper crust as they come, her daughter Irenee who just whines a lot and her two incorrigible children. Plus we have, as Georgiana called them, the Starlings who are Cedric’s companions and possibly his lovers. And of course we have Georgiana’s boyfriend Darcy and her best friend Belinda shows up hoping to catch the new duke in her snares.

Katherine Kellgren’s narration was as always Amazing. I kind of feel sorry for anyone else in an Audie category that is up against Katherine Kellgren because she is so amazing. There are so many characters in this book with very different accents and each and every person sounds different and is distinct. Some of the accents in this book were; high brow English, Australian, cockney, Irish, male and female, kids and grown-ups all done absolutely flawlessly. No other book in the mystery category had this many accents and characters done so well.

This was a fun book and a cute story; I’ve only read the first book in this series and wasn’t confused at all so this one could easily be read as a standalone. This is a very fun historical cozy I highly recommend this series.

4 ½ Stars