AudioBook Review: Cat Spitting Mad (Joe Grey #6) by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

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Title: Cat Spitting Mad
Author: Shirley Rousseau Murphy
Narrator: Susan Boyce
Format: Paperback, eBook, AudioCD, AudioBook
Publisher: Avon
Audio Producer: AudioGo
Pages: 304
Length: 7 Hours: 42 minutes
ISBN: 978-0061059896
Source: AudioBook Jukebox
Genre: Mystery
Series: A Joe Grey Mystery
Best Read in Order: Not Required
Stars: Overall: 4 Narration: 4 Story: 4
Purchase Now: Paperback §  eBook §  AudioCD §  AudioBook

About the Book:
Hell hath no fury like a feline enraged. Though Joe Grey and Dulcie are merely housecats, they each have a strong sense of justice — to complement their uncanny ability to read, speak, and use the telephone. And they’re furious that Max Harper, police chief of Molena Point and preferred target for Joe’s harmless pranks, has been accused of a gruesome double murder.

The fleet-footed sleuthing duo is intent upon restoring an old friend’s good name. But finding the missing little girl who was sole witness to the crime won’t be easy — especially with a hungry cougar on the prowl, a cat-killer on the loose … and the kittenish antics of Joe and Dulcie’s playful new “ward” causing big trouble that could take more than nine lives to survive.

AudioBook Review:

Earlier in the series than my introduction to this author and characters, we are returned to Molena Point and find ourselves immersed in a murder mystery. Joe Grey and his partner in detection, Dulcie have found themselves the ‘parents’ of Kit, a tortoiseshell kitten with a never-ending source of energy and curiosity.

With the Chief of Police accused of a double murder he did not commit, these two detecting felines and their new ward set off to find the true culprit, while avoiding the dangerous Lee the cat killer Wark who knows that they can speak, detect and use the telephone. As the three seek the real killer, they also need to watch out for three escaped convicts, and manage to survive several tangles and a jaunt through the haunted house that is occupied by an even larger cat: a cougar.

Narration for this book is provided by Susan Boyce, and her clear enunciation and use of pacing and modulation before overly adjusting tone and adopting a voice change to delineate the different characters is a delightful addition.

Shirley Rousseau Murphy has taken the mystery and turned it sideways with the addition of speaking, intelligent cats that never quite lose that sense that they are cats. Their interactions, likes and dislikes, and even their humor is very cat-oriented, and while a completely anthropomorphic delineation and description, it works quite well. The mystery in this book was well crafted and filled with enough twists to keep a reader engaged, and the human characters, well not as well-defined as the cats, still have a sense of realness and solid voice. This is a fun series for people wanting a lighter and more humorous mystery, especially if they are cat lovers.

I received an MP3 download from AudioGo via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review for the Heard Word. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

 

About the Author:
Shirley Rousseau Murphy is the author of Cat in the Dark, Cat on the Edge, Cat Under Fire, and Cat Raise the Dead, and has received five Council of Authors and Journalists Awards for previous books. She graduated from San Francisco Art Institute, has worked as a commercial artist and has exhibited paintings and sculptures extensively on the West Coast. She and her husband live in Carmel, California. Their cats have included a tom that twice warned them of burglars in the middle of the night by growling, and a cat that liked to ride horseback.                                                 Website

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Release Day Blitz! Blood Rule by Heather Hildenbrand- with Giveaway

BloodruletourBe sure to check out the post for information on the book, a teaser AND a giveaway! To see all the tour stops go here    Continue reading

Dancing With Paris by Juliette Sobanet ~ Review and Giveaway

dancing-with-paris-bannerToday I have a lovely romance with time-travel and suspense elements from author  Juliette Sobanet.  Additionally, the publisher has graciously offered 3 lucky winners the opportunity for their own eBook copy of the book in kindle format, open to international entrants!  The drawing information is below… be sure to enter!

Juliette Sobanet Title:  Dancing with Paris
Author: Juliette Sobanet
Format:  Paperback, eBook, MP3 CD and AudioBook
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Pages:  324
ISBN:  978-1477805916
Source:  Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Romance, Time-Travel, Suspense, Historical
Stars: 4
Purchase Now:  Amazon § Audible

About the Book: 

In Paris, a past life promises a second chance at love.

Straitlaced marriage therapist Claudia Davis had a plan—and it definitely did not involve getting pregnant from a one-night stand or falling for a gorgeous French actor. She thinks her life can’t possibly get more complicated. But when Claudia takes a tumble in her grandmother’s San Diego dance studio, she awakens in 1950s Paris in the body of Ruby Kerrigan, the glamorous star of a risqué cabaret—and the number-one suspect in the gruesome murder of a fellow dancer. As past lives go, it’s a doozy…especially when an encounter with a handsome and mysterious French doctor ignites a fire in Claudia’s sinfully beautiful new body.

But time, for all its twists and turns, is not on her side: Claudia has just five days to unmask the true killer, clear Ruby’s name, and return to the twenty-first century. To do so, she must make an impossible choice, one that will change the course of both of her lives forever.

-Amount of sex/violence: This book is a romance novel with time travel and murder mystery elements. There are two sex scenes and a few light murder scenes in the novel. There is a great deal of description of 1950s Paris as well.

Book Review:

In an interesting twist on my usual time-travel / romance trope, we are introduced to Claudia in 2012 San Diego. She is mildly dissatisfied with her life at the moment, pregnant by one man while desperately in love with another: who truly does seem to be the one for her. Very quickly, we are removed to 1950’s Paris, where Claudia awakens to find herself in the body of Ruby, a Parisian cabaret headliner who also happens to be Claudia’s grandmother’s best friend. Confused yet? I was at first – for we don’t have a great deal of time to know Claudia and gain a solid sense of her situation and character before we are whisked off to Paris and need to make sense of the situation that Claudia is currently embroiled in.

Not content to make this a simple parallel lives story: Ruby/Claudia is the primary suspect in a murder that she did not commit, and she must find the real killer and save Ruby from her current fate before she can return to her own life in San Diego. As if that wasn’t enough stress: with new situations, a new view of her grandmother and the Paris to rediscover in its past form, she has only five days in which to solve the mystery and set lives on a new path.

A complex and highly ambitious plotting arc and storyline for any author, but Juliette Sobanet is certainly up to the task. While there were moments of confusion, it gave me the feel of being Claudia/Ruby and the pacing, characterization and narration all aided in my getting up to speed, much as Claudia/Ruby needed to do. Then, since I mistakenly thought I had the mystery and murder pieces sorted out, the quick twists and turns proved to me that I was wrong, yet the answer was there, just awaiting discovery.

The city of Paris is just gorgeous and so very present in the story: from the descriptions and feel to the sense of ‘difference’, it fed every memory I have of the city at that time from photos that my grandmother had tucked into a scrapbook from when my aunt first moved there in mid-1950. Sobanet’s prose is lush and well-suited to the city and the story. The interwoven romance from present to past, while bringing a sense of Claudia’s current love to the character of Antoine, with their similar behaviors and concerns and their obvious affection for her was a smooth transition that gave more insight into Claudia and her modern life, while maintaining a true feel to the past.

While it will seem from this review that the story was hard to follow, or overly complex – I truly apologize. It was an exceedingly smooth read that never let up on the entertainment, and kept me involved and engaged with each page. Although I do wish that there was more sense of Claudia in the present and a sense of a solid conclusion for her story, it left me satisfied and smiling. I now want to read the author’s other titles, and have put them on my list.

I received an eBook copy from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

 

Giveaway:  

As I mentioned before, the publisher has graciously offered 3 eBook copies of the title for lucky winners.  Drawing will end at 23:59 on 14 August -winners will be notified via email.  Enter via this Rafflecopter.

About the Author: 

Juliette Sobanet earned a B.A. from Georgetown University and an M.A. from New York University in France, living and studying in both Lyon and Paris. She worked as a French professor before turning a new page in her career, penning romantic women’s fiction with a French twist. She is the author of Sleeping with Paris, Kissed in ParisMidnight Train to Paris, Dancing with Paris, and the upcoming Honeymoon in Paris. Today she lives with her husband and two cats in San Diego, where she devotes her time to writing and dreaming about her next trip to France.

Website § Facebook  § @JulietteSobanet

Release Day! The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker with Giveaway!

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Today I have a treat for you all ~ its release day for Emily Croy Barker’s novel The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic. In addition, the publisher has graciously offered the option for a giveaway of one paper copy of the book  – limited to US mailing addresses only – no PO Boxes.  This drawing will end at midnight (EST) on 12 August – use this Rafflecopter to enter.

Title: The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic
Author: Emily Croy Barker
Format: Hardcover and eBook
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books/Viking
Pages: 576
ISBN: 978-0670023660
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: High Fantasy / Literary
Stars:  4
Purchase Now: Amazon § Barnes&Noble § IndieBound

About the Book:

Nora Fischer’s dissertation is stalled and her boyfriend is about to marry another woman. During a miserable weekend at a friend’s wedding, Nora wanders off and walks through a portal into a different world where she’s transformed from a drab grad student into a stunning beauty. Before long, she has a set of glamorous new friends and her romance with gorgeous, masterful Raclin is heating up. It’s almost too good to be true.

Then the elegant veneer shatters. Nora’s new fantasy world turns darker, a fairy tale gone incredibly wrong. Making it here will take skills Nora never learned in graduate school. Her only real ally—and a reluctant one at that—is the magician Aruendiel, a grim, reclusive figure with a biting tongue and a shrouded past. And it will take her becoming Aruendiel’s student—and learning magic herself—to survive. When a passage home finally opens, Nora must weigh her “real life” against the dangerous power of love and magic.

Book Review:

Think back to the first book that transported you on a journey to elsewhere: not a rapid movement, but a gentle realization that the world in the book is all around you. For me that was Through the Looking Glass. I found much of the same wonder and enjoyment in this book: a subtle return to those moments when reading where all outside influences cease to exist, and hours pass before they return.

Emily Croy Barker uses a smooth and beautifully descriptive writing style, to craft this story that incorporates references to classics, poetry and poets and the age-old battle of dark versus light. It is not a quick read at over five hundred pages, but a thoroughly charming one.

Nora is a grad student, stuck on her thesis and recently single. She hates her life at the moment, her self-esteems is shot, and she wants nothing more than to escape: from the sympathetic looks, the abominable men, her own feelings of failure and those few extra pounds that never seem to go away. And escape she does: an early morning wander in the woods leads to an old cemetery with a poem that attracts her. Lacking paper to write it down, she memorizes it, speaks it aloud and moments later, her world changes.

From here we are brought into a world of the impossible and improbable: where healing is by magic, clothes and people are always beautiful, the sun always shines and the most important event on the calendar is the day’s entertainment. Using time-periods that are iconic in their shapes, feel and essence to readers, Barker manages to use that sense to define fashion, style and furnishings with a nod to those eras: the 20’s, the 60’s, Elizabethan and Georgian and Victorian. There were moments early on when Nora’s complacency with the scene changes and situation made her difficult to understand, while some piece of the reader knows that she is under a spell, a bit of reinforcement of Ilissa’s power and influence on her memory and questioning earlier would have made it easier to understand her apparent passivity.

Aruendiel, however, was far more solid in his consistency and behavior, preferring the term ‘magician’ to ‘wizard’, although their capabilities are similar: in this world wizards tend to use their skills on a whim, to suit their current fancy. And Nora had been spelled, several times over, which presented a severe risk to her own mental health and safety. Nora shows her tendency to gravitate toward more ‘alpha’ and knowing personalities in her growing feelings for him: even as he must teach her to survive a return to Ilissa and eventually back to her own world.

This book is a wander to the end, throughout the story we are really given few clues to time passing, much like Nora’s inability to solidly define how long she had been away from her own world and life. These allows and insists that the reader simply drink in the moments and descriptions, and enjoy the slow unfurling of the plot: use their instincts as each new character is introduced to determine if they are friend or foe, and see if Nora really is able to find her way home. Not as action packed as some high fantasy stories I have read, there is forward progress with each chapter as we learn more, see more and watch Nora navigate this new and different world that is full of the impossible.

If you want a directly forward moving story, loaded with action and dramatic spell-offs: this is not the book for you. However, if you want a gentle moving story that is filled with beauty and description, a unique look at magic and its use, and a main character that has issues that many can relate to in their own lives: this is the book for you.

I received an eBook from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
About the Author:

Emily Croy Barker spent almost twenty years as a journalist, after starting out as an editorial assistant at Viking. Barker had great fun turning her writing skills to fiction to produce her first novel. A graduate of Harvard University, she is currently the executive editor at The American Lawyer magazine, where she oversees international coverage. She lives in New Jersey.

Website § @emilycroybarker

 

 

Review Unprotected Sax by Tony McFadden

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Title:  Unprotected Sax
Author:  Tony McFadden
Contributor: Charles McFadden
Format: Paperback and eBook
Publisher:  Self-Published
Pages: 372
ISBN: 978-1481073783
Source: Author
Genre: Thriller / Mystery
Stars: 4
Purchase Now:  Amazon  § Barnes&Noble § BooksAMillion

About the Book:
Playing sax in his friend’s jazz band was supposed to be relaxing.

Then his friend disappeared.

Johnny Delacourte, (aka JD, Johnny D, The Sax Machine and a few choice others) left the Army Rangers and the battlefields of Afghanistan six months ago. He reconnected with friends in Miami, dusted off his saxophone and started learning how to relax again. With his best friend on drums and a delightlful vocalist in front of him, life was settling into a comfortable pattern.

Then the friend disappears, the cops don’t seem to care and the Russian mob is all over his ass.

Miami was always hot in August. It just got hotter.

Book Review:

This book was a fun romp with a feel of a Where’s Waldo illustration; only we are trying to find Paul – before everyone else does, to his detriment. Add in the art-deco and slightly decadent feel of Miami, the steam of the Everglades, a jazz trio and a series of unfortunate events and you are starting to crack open the joys within.

What makes this so different is that we know who committed the murder: all of the story’s tension hang on the witness and drummer Paul, his disappearance and whether he will be found, alive, to testify. Diving right in with several point of view changes narrated by different characters does make for a tricky start, but then the pacing settled with some deliciously clever sidelines that allow for time to breathe and just enjoy the world that McFadden is building.

With so many characters, there were some gaps in their development: but the main players in the story (the band) and one slightly depraved and crooked cop are defined fairly clearly and solidly. Dialogue in this book is both fast paced and well written, with an eye to sarcasm and some humor it often served to help define a sense of the characters. While I found some issues, this story was unique and the climax was a slow build to a satisfying ending that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I received an eBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

About the Author:

Tony McFadden is a transplanted Canadian living in the Northern Beaches area of Sydney, Australia.Currently working on #8, an as yet to be titled sci-fi/pseudo paranormal thriller, he has just published “Unprotected Sax”, in the same universe as “Book ‘Em” and “Family Matters”, adding to his portfolio of “Daly Battles: The Fall of Pyongyang”, “Matt’s War”, “G’Day L.A.” and “G’Day USA”.

Website  § @tony_mcfadden

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