📚 The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

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Description⎮Reviewed May 2017

Narrator: Brittany Pressley
Length: 10h 41m
Publisher: Random House Audio⎮2017

4.5★ AudiobookMy most consistent thought while listening to The Roanoke Girls was “This is so f*cked up”. I apologize for offending your sensibilities, but that’s the only way to put it. I had no idea what to expect from The Roanoke Girls and nothing could have prepared me for what it held. Engel’s writing style made the story completely absorbing. It wouldn’t let me go.

But first, let’s get this out-of-the-way: The Roanoke Girls will undoubtedly be upsetting to certain readers/listeners. No amount of delicacy on the author’s part, can soften the fact that The Roanoke Girls focuses on psychological abuse, sexual abuse, incest and suicide. Those aren’t spoilers, just fair warnings.

Even as someone without personal sensitivities to these issues, The Roanoke Girls was still deeply unsettling. I suspect that’s how it was meant to be. You don’t tell this type a story without good reason. It was the most haunting and horrifying a story can be without being classified as Paranormal or Horror. It allows you to slip inside the minds of a sexual predator’s many victims.

The Roanoke Girls was empathically told. Throughout the course of The Roanoke Girls, I began to understand (on a certain level) just how these horrendous acts were able to take place. We tell children that if something like this happens to them, they should confide in someone they trust. But what if that someone is the one doing it? Wouldn’t they trust the reassurances of a beloved family member over the outside world telling them it’s wrong? Of course. And that’s exactly what makes this type of sexual abuse so dangerous.

Amy Engel makes that point subtly, yet emphatically. Engel weaves a web so entangled in naïveté, that even the reader gets caught in it. It’s tempting to want to place blame (or partial blame) on other characters, but it really only belongs on one. The atmosphere of the story is thick and sweet. Its pace is slow, giving you time to process the emotional burden it unloads. The Roanoke Girls is a story that has gotten under my skin and I’m sure it will be there for a while.

Narration reviewThe Roanoke Girls is Brittany Pressley’s best performance yet. I’ve heard her before, but never like this. She’s a perfect match for Engel’s work. Her voice was laden with emotion and varied appropriately from character to character, scene-to-scene. Pressley’s performance gives the audiobook a definite advantage over the traditional book format, making her a valuable asset to this thought-provoking tale. ♣︎

$ Available at Audiobooks.comAudible/Amazon, and The Book Depository (Hardback)

 

🎁 LMAO from A to Z by Amanda Terman

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The Vocab Book Series #2

Description⎮Reviewed May 2017

Narrator: Amanda Terman
Length: 36m
Publisher: Amanda Terman⎮2017

4.25★ AudiobookListening to The Vocab Book Series is a quick burst of mental nourishment. It leaves me with a feeling of just having done something good for myself, along the lines of taking vitamins, drinking lots of water, or physical exercise. Listening to LMAO from A to Z is akin to an intellectual workout, only a lot more fun!

If this were a workout, Amanda Terman would be an excellent personal trainer. Just like in LOL from A to Z, she makes the learning routine fun and memorable. The examples she provides aren’t anything I’m soon to forget! True to its name, LMAO from A to Z had me in stitches of laughter by the second vocabulary word (bromide). It takes a certain type of creativity and quirk to invent such colorful vignettes for each vocabulary word. I would love to know Terman’s inspiration behind them.

As much as I enjoyed my initial experience with LOL from A to Z, my time listening to LMAO from A to Z felt more fruitful. The recent addition of an accompanying PDF vocabulary list on the Audible download page increased my overall enjoyment and retention. Listening to LMAO from A to Z isn’t a one-time deal. Repetition is required in order to cement the newly acquired material into long-term memory (which is the goal). Being able to review the PDF vocabulary list goes a long way toward helping the listener to achieve this goal.

The Vocab Book Series is the best vocabulary learning tool I’ve come across. Whether you’re training for a standardized test or just wanting to impress people, Terman has your back.

Narration review: Another thing that gave LMAO from A to Z a slight edge over LOL from A to Z was the narration. Terman narrates both titles, but experience has improved her style. The narration seemed more effortless this time around, which aided the humorous effect. Her tone, enunciation and articulation still clearly said “Listen up!”, while her comedic timing livened the learning experience. ♣︎

 This audiobook was graciously gifted to me by its author/narrator, Amanda Terman, in exchange for a review containing my honest thoughts and opinions. Thanks, Amanda!

$ Available at Audible/Amazon

🎁 Goddess by Callista Hunter

Available purchase options for this title (via affiliate links) are located below this review. Purchasing through them helps keep The Audiobookworm going. Learn more here.

Description⎮Reviewed May 2017

Narrator: Tami Leah Lacy
Length: 7h 46m
Publisher: Callista Hunter⎮2017

4.25★ AudiobookGoddess was so much more than I was expecting. It was a delightful story set in Ancient Rome. Goddess was filled with political and religious intrigue, accompanied by an empowering message of feminine strength.

Calista Hunter’s stellar writing set the ancient scene beautifully, while still throwing in modern flair via the dialogue. Goddess‘s message is especially appropriate for teens 14+ and would serve as a great entry point into Ancient Roman mythology for young readers. The characters were engaging and distinct. I wasn’t drawn to one singular character, but the group of characters and the way they rounded each other out was most appealing.

The religious aspect of the story was heartbreaking. The main character, Olivia, experiences a “crisis of faith” after learning that the goddess she has devoted her life to serving was an invention of the patriarchy. Vesta, the goddess of home and hearth, was invented by men to keep women devoted to “womanly duties”. Many people have been in Olivia’s shoes, having had their fath shaken or shattered, which is why I think her story resonates so strongly.

Even if Vesta was fictionalized, the remaining gods were very real, which brought an element of fantasy to Goddess. It was easy to slip into the plot through the eyes of Callista Hunter’s well-defined characters. There was an excellent amount of action throughout Goddess, with acutely shocking plot twists peppered in along the way.

Hunter showed excellent skill by elongating the overarching plot to encompass several “mini-adventures” and then weaving everything back into the primary plot. Every time it fell like the story was tapering off nicely, Hunter found a way to revive it for another go. This type of storytelling makes me wish that Goddess was being extended into a series. Callista Hunter has something really neat here and I’m not sure I’m ready to see it end in a stand-alone novel.

Narration review: Tami Leah Lacy made this listening experience even more enjoyable. Her voice itself was extremely pleasant to hear. She appropriately varied her vocalizations to match each character’s personality and status, which added another dimension to the characters. A dimension which the physical book would not have been able to provide. There were minor quality issues throughout, which became more noticeable as the audiobook went on. The sound level frequently faded in and out, often mid-sentence. Tami Leah Lacy seems to be an extremely talented performer, but I would hire a sound engineer next time. ♣︎

 This audiobook was graciously gifted to me by its author, Callista Hunter, in exchange for a review containing my honest thoughts and opinions. Thanks, Callista!

$ Available at Audible/Amazon

📚 Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs

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Alpha and Omega #1

Description⎮Reviewed May 2017

Narrator: Holter Graham
Length: 10h 6m
Publisher: Penguin Audio⎮2009

4.25★ AudiobookMy discovery and subsequent love of Patricia Briggs through her Mercy Thompson series, led me to Cry Wolf. Although it didn’t pack the same type of punch, Cry Wolf  was a nice accompaniment to the Mercy Thompson series.

To be honest, Cry Wolf didn’t resonate with me as much as its prequel novella Alpha and Omega. At the center of Cry Wolf is a love story. There’s all sorts of action surrounding it, but it’s still about Charles and Anna at the end of the day. I would categorize the Mercy Thompson series as firmly Paranormal, but the Alpha and Omega series is definitely Paranormal Romance (PNR).

My taste tends to lean more towards Paranormal than PNR, but Patricia Briggs’ excellent writing and world building persuaded me to make an exception. Both series exist within the same universe. Sam Cornick is a prominent character in the Mercy Thompson series and his brother Charles is a main character in the Alpha and Omega series.

Charles’ mate, Anna, is an Omega wolf. Omegas are rare and have special calming powers over all wolves. They are often confused for submissive wolves. That’s about as far as my current understanding of Omega wolves goes. Briggs did a wonderful job of balancing this new information with the action and romance of the story. I was given enough information to understand the basic importance of Omegas, but not so much that I felt overwhelmed.

We got to see something in Cry Wolf  that I’ve been itching for a recent Mercy Thompson books: Witches. Several species of paranormal creatures are featured in Mercy Thompson’s series, but witches are mostly left in the shadows. Cry Wolf brings them to center stage.

Even though I was super excited to have a witch villain in this story, something about it left me underwhelmed. I suspect that Cry Wolf may have introduced too much new content, without the cushion of familiarity. There was only the slimmest of connections to Mercy Thompson and the characters I’ve come to love. I appreciate that this is a new and fresh series, so I suppose I’ll have to be patient until I develop more organic feelings for the characters of Charles and Anna.

I could easily love Charles (more than Sam!), but I’m still warming to Anna. I cannot understand why she has been mistaken as a submissive wealth, since she is coming off as a submissive character. However, having read the prequel to this installment, and I also understand why she is behaving that way. I’m truly hoping that she will begin to come into her own as the series progresses. There is so much room for character growth with her.

This is a series that I’m interested in eventually continuing on with, but I’m not yet hooked. There’s certainly the potential for it though! I can imagine that PNR fans could fall even more deeply in love with this series than I did with Mercy.

Narration review: Holter Graham gave a respectable performance in Cry Wolf. He was definitely the right call to narrate this series. I get such a clear mental image of Charles Cornick whenever Graham voices him. His vocalizations of the female characters do not seem strained or out of his range and he has a great grasp on the emotions in the story. ♣︎

$ Available at Audiobooks.comAudible/Amazon, and The Book Depository (paperback)

🎁 LOL from A to Z by Amanda Terman

Available purchase options for this title (via affiliate links) are located below this review. Purchasing through them helps keep The Audiobookworm going. Learn more here.

The Vocab Book Series #1

Description⎮Reviewed May 2017

Narrator: Amanda Terman
Length: 38m
Publisher: Amanda Terman⎮2017

4★ AudiobookAre you the kind of person who has a “word of the day” calendar? If so, I can almost guarantee that you will love LOL from A to Z. Even though I don’t have a “word of the day” calendar, I still love learning. I spend hours upon hours watching Ted Talks and listening to lectures from The Great Courses. And I’m just “nerdy” enough for LOL from A to Z to be a perfect fit for me.

I can’t help but think “Where was Amanda Terman with LOL from A to Z when I was taking the GRE a few years ago?”. This 38 minute audiobook could have saved me from boring nights studying dry vocabulary lists. Terman clearly knows her stuff. Having a psychology degree and experience with professional exam preparation, she employs the most effective methods of studying and memorization.

LOL from A to Z  isn’t a cut and dry vocabulary list. Terman uses humorous examples, repetition and recall to cement definitions and usages in the mind of the listener. Most impressively, she offers to study tips at the beginning and end of the book. Learning vocabulary isn’t just about knowing a word and its meaning, but also becoming comfortable using it.

There were some words I was already familiar with, such as verdent (green), ribauld (vulgar), zeal (enthusiasm), and sanguine (happy). But out of the list of 26 vocabulary words, the ones that stick out most in my mind are the new acquisitions. I can’t deny the effectiveness of Terman’s use of humor. Her seemingly ridiculous examples will certainly be hard to shake and I’m guessing that’s by design.

However, LOL from A to Z  highlights a minor flaw in audiobook listening. We are presented with a word, a definition, and an example, but no spelling. When it comes to pronunciation, audiobook listeners have a leg up on traditional readers. But traditional readers have the advantage when it comes to written spellings. While I don’t have a solution for the traditional reading format, I can offer this suggestion for upcoming installments of The Vocab Book Series (of which I hope there are many): Having a vocabulary word audibly spelled out would help to further cement the vocabulary item into the mind of the listener and could increase the comfort level of someone wishing to use it in written form.

Narration review: Amanda Terman herself narrated this audiobook. Her articulation and clear pronunciation of each vocabulary word greatly enhanced my understanding. Her comedic timing also added to the overall humor and wit, something I’m not sure could have been communicated as well in written form. In that sense, Terman’s narration was especially valuable to LOL from A to Z.  ♣︎

 This audiobook was graciously gifted to me by its author/narrator, Amanda Terman, in exchange for a review containing my honest thoughts and opinions. Thanks, Amanda!

$ Available at Audible/Amazon

📚 Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

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Description⎮Reviewed Apr. 2017

Narrator: Jon Lindstrom
Length: 10h 8m
Publisher: Random House Audio⎮2016

4.5★ AudiobookDo you ever get cravings for something, maybe a certain type of food? Lots of people do. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, but you need whatever it is now and nothing else will do. And once that craving is fulfilled, you’re satisfied.

In addition to occasional food cravings, I also get book cravings. Especially for a particular genre. Yesterday, it was Science Fiction. I was in a Sci-fi mood and nothing else that I picked up worked for me. I started Dark Matter several months ago and put it down after a few chapters. There was nothing wrong with it, I just wasn’t feeling it at that time.

But yesterday, when my sci-fi craving hit, I knew just what to pick up. Coincidentally, it was also the start of a 24 hour read-a-thon (reading marathon) which provided the perfect excuse to devour Dark Matter. And devour it, I did.

Dark Matter was just the kind of Science Fiction novel I had been looking for sometime, without knowing it. After the disaster that was my experience with Just One Damn Thing After AnotherDark Matter hit the spot perfectly.

That’s not to say that Dark Matter was perfect, mind you. But it was close enough to what I think of as “serious” Science Fiction, without being overly complex or unnecessarily confusing. Dark Matter deals with alternate universe (AU) theory, which is a favorite literary topic of mine. I already had enough background knowledge (from other books) to have a working knowledge of the AU concept. Although I don’t think the practical implications of that concept were explained as well as they could have been in Dark Matter, especially considering that the entire plot was driven by such implications. Someone newly exploring the Science Fiction genre (or AU subgenre) might be better off starting elsewhere.

Listening to Dark Matter gave me the distinct feeling of listening to a “stoner conversation”. A lot of what if and very little but how. As it was, I found Blake Crouch’s writing to be beautifully descriptive, almost tangible. The major plot twist had previously been spoiled for me, but I still think I would have seen it coming. The secondary plot twist, however, really had my head spinning. There was plenty of action throughout the book and things got very intense near the end. The ending itself felt just a bit anti-climactic to me, but I can’t think of a better resolution. Crouch may have written himself into a corner and that was the only way out.

Crouch’s writing style made this a pretty easy listen, despite the genre and subject matter. I had no problem getting through it in less than 24 hours. Furthermore, the constant suspense had me hanging on every word. This was the perfect readathon book to keep me motivated and listening at all hours of the night.

Narration review: Jon Lindstrom was a great choice to narrate Dark Matter. He had this edge in his voice that was perfect for reading a thriller. It kept me engaged in the story and complemented the story’s overall intensity. But Lindstrom was able to temper that edge when necessary. Blake Crouch surprised me with his ability to convey a realistic tenderness through his writing and Jon Lindstrom matched it beautifully. Lindstrom’s performance was not only appropriate to the material, but enhancing of it. ♣︎

$ Available at Audiobooks.comAudible/Amazon, and The Book Depository (paperback)

📚 Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

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The Chronicles of St Mary’s #1

Description⎮Reviewed Apr. 2017

Narrator: Zara Ramm
Length: 9h 30m
Publisher: Audible Studios⎮2014

3.25★ Audiobook⎮This story was a hot mess. Just One Damned Thing After Another is better compared with cozy mysteries than the Science Fiction genre. I didn’t realize this until I was listening to the last 30 minutes. If the Science Fiction genre had a lunch table, Just One Damned Thing After Another would not be sitting at it. If I have realized that earlier, I might have been less scrutinizing of the story.

As it was, Just One Damned Thing After Another seemed fully ridiculous to me. As in, “Why am I listening to this nonsense?”. It was humorous at times, but hard to take seriously in any respect. Just One Damned Thing After Another was only 9.5 hours long, but seemed more than twice that length. That’s never a good sign.

The title became frustratingly appropriate as the story droned on. The underlying plot was difficult to find, let alone follow. Taylor threw *ahem* one damned thing after another at the reader/listener, haphazardly stringing them together with the thinnest of connections. And the reader/listener is just supposed to “go with it”… That’s sloppy writing, in my opinion. A writer has to work for my suspension of disbelief. The overall feeling was of chaos and disorder. As for development,… Wait, there was none.

None of the characters were relatable or memorable, probably because they were as flat as paper dolls. They all fell like characters in the story, merely serving the “plot”. I was never able to form connections with them because it was difficult to remember who they were. They were all interchangeable in my mind and were drowned out by the action. The main character (whose name I can’t recall) was an out-of-the-box type who was just as underdeveloped as the minor characters.

The most frustrating thing about Just One Damned Thing After Another was that the writing was better than the storytelling (and the writing wasn’t that great!). Taylor gave the impression of someone who was trying too hard to impress someone else in a “Look what I can do” manner. All flash and no substance. Just One Damned Thing After Another could have been greatly improved if the story had been better balanced, maybe even broken up into two installments in order to give it breathing room. The action was suffocating to any potential development. Even the non-action scenes felt like action scenes, which became very tiring.

I think I can see what Jodi Taylor was trying to accomplish with this series, but it was just executed so poorly. I cannot fathom why there are 10+ installments in this series. Needless to say, I won’t be going near any of them.

Narration review: Zara Ramm did an admirable job narrating Just One Damned Thing After Another. Her vocal distinctions did more to separate the characters in my mind than the writing did. I am interested in hearing more from Zara, just not in this series. If you are interested in this series, I do recommend listening to it over reading it. ♣︎

$ Available at Audiobooks.comAudible/Amazon, and The Book Depository

 

🎁 Timekeeper by Tara Sim

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The Timekeeper Trilogy #1

Description⎮Reviewed Apr. 2017

Narrators: Gary Furlong
Length: 8h 48m
Publisher: Forever Young Audiobooks⎮2017

4.5★ AudiobookI had really high expectations for Timekeeper. I waited a couple of months before starting it and in that time I’d begun to worry that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as everyone else seemed to have enjoyed it. This is a majorly hyped book and I usually fall on the underside of popular opinion with hyped books. However, listening to Timekeeper was one of those rare times when I feel a book is worthy of the hype.

I’m not saying it’s the greatest thing I’ve ever heard, so don’t raise your expectations to unrealistic levels. Rather, appreciate it for what it is: An extremely well-told story. It’s hard to compare Timekeeper to anything else because it’s so original.

It’s steampunk, but also not. There are elements of science fiction and fantasy, but not enough of either to pigeonhole it firmly into one category. Timekeeper lies in between a lot of mainstream ideas. It doesn’t conform to any singular thing and therein lies its beauty.

My favorite thing about Timekeeper is that Sim breaks up the narrative by periodically infusing the story with more traditional storytelling. She uses real world mythology to build the foundation for her fantasy world and conveys the information in a way similar to what Nicola Yoon used in The Sun Is Also A Star. This method of storytelling provided refreshing breaks from the plot.

Considering the whole plot of this story revolves around a fantastical concept that is entirely foreign to readers, Sim explains it all wonderfully. Timekeeper is a highly balanced story. I was able to grasp the roots of this concept quickly and easily, while adjusting my understanding of it as the plot progressed. Timekeeper was an easy listen, especially for all of its fantasy elements. I had no trouble concentrating on it during the day while attending to other tasks. My attention never wavered from it.

For a debut novel, Tara Sim has hit a home run with Timekeeper. Each character is well-developed and independently memorable. The romance is sweet in its innocence, although I still think there is room for further development. I will absolutely be listening to the sequel, Chainbreaker, when it comes out in November.

Narration review: A lot of the ease-of-listening had to do with the narration, done by Gary Furlong. He’s new to me, but he is a keeper! Furlong’s narration of Timekeeper was flawless. Seriously, I have not one complaint. I was a little ambivalent at first, worrying about acclimating to his accent, but it quickly grew on me. And it’s impressive to think that he performed the entire audiobook in a foreign accent. Apparently Furlong’s native accent is Irish, not English. Could’ve fooled me! ♣︎

 This audiobook was graciously gifted to me by its publisher, Forever Young Audiobooks, in exchange for a review containing my honest thoughts and opinions. Thanks, Forever Young!

$ Available at Audiobooks.comAudible/Amazon, and The Book Depository (paperback)

 

📚 Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs

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Alpha and Omega #1.5

Description⎮Reviewed Apr. 2017

Narrator: Holter Graham
Length: 2h 25m
Publisher: Penguin Audio⎮2013

4.25★ AudiobookThis was a super quick listen and I’m so glad I started with it before beginning the regular series. When given the choice, I like to read things chronologically rather than in the order they were published. This novella ties in nicely with the first installment of the Mercy Thompson series, Moon Called.

I’ve been Netflix-style binging the Mercy Thompson series over the past week, miraculously averaging an installment today! I’ve fallen so hard for Patricia Briggs’ writing. But my ravenous devouring of Mercy Thompson has begun to wear my enjoyment thin, so I decided it was the perfect opportunity to start Alpha and Omega.

This series takes place in the same universe as Mercy Thompson and its characters are often referenced. Another popular example would be Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series. There seems to be more of a focus on romance in this series, but I’m already so invested in the universe/characters/writing that I decided to just roll with it. I’m very interested to see how the expansion of Briggs’ universe develops. It seems that upcoming installments will take place in Montana where Mercy Thompson was raised and the Cornick pack lives.

Much of the Mercy Thompson series revolves around dealing with various types of paranormal species (Vampires, the fae, etc.) and I’ve recently felt that there was a gap in my knowledge concerning the werewolves themselves. Briggs aims to fill that gap through the Alpha and Omega series. Just in this 2.5 hour novella, we are given so much essential information regarding pack rules, hierarchy and etiquette as Charles explains it all to Anna.

Anna is a very different type of protagonist than Mercy. She’s more along the lines of your “typical” female protagonist, whereas Mercy is definitely an atypical heroine in the best sort of way. I’m sure Anna will continue to grow on me, as she already began to do in this short novella. I found Charles to be the most enjoyable character in this short story and I look forward to more of him in the series.

From what I can tell, it seems like you could start with either series and read them simultaneously or one after the other. They are meant to coordinate adjacently. However, I have to echo of the reviewers and recommending this novella before beginning Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega #1). The novella sets the scene nicely for the opening of Cry Wolf.

Narration review: It didn’t take long for Holter Graham to grow on me either. By the end of this novella, I was already in love with his voice. He is a *fantastic* narrator. I mean, absolutely brilliant. His character distinction was impeccable and his voicing of Charles and Bran had this Marlon Brando quality to it that made me swoon. His voice actually reminds me a lot of Will Patton’s, which can only be a good thing. I’m excited to continue on with this series and hear more from Holter Graham! ♣︎

$ Available at Audiobooks.com and Audible/Amazon

 

🎁 Lucky Penny by Ellie Ashe

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Miranda Vaughn Mysteries #3

Description⎮Reviewed Apr. 2017

Narrators: Teri Schnaubelt
Length: 7h 17m
Publisher: Ellie Ashe⎮2017

4.5★ AudiobookEllie Ashe has added another gem to the Miranda Vaughn Mysteries series! She has also proven that a great writer can “take their act on the road”, so to speak. Each Miranda Vaughn story has a vastly different setting and premise for the mystery, but each one is as engrossing as the next.

Lucky Penny revolves around a casino and resort setting. It’s described in such vivid detail that the scenes naturally unfold in the listener’s imagination. This setting was even more conducive to the accidental shenanigans Miranda somehow always becomes involved in. Real life casinos and resorts are meant to foster feelings of escapism and excitement. Lucky Penny‘s literary versions do the same.

Each installment in the Miranda Vaughn Mysteries series has its own all-encompassing mystery that begins and ends with each novel. Unlike other mystery stories, listening isn’t only about solving the mystery before the protagonist. It’s about solving the mystery alongside the protagonist and experiencing her journey.

Miranda Vaughn is an innately endearing and relatable main character. Her personal story is the larger over-arching plot throughout the series. Her romantic life starts out as an inconvenient (to her) crush in Chasing the Dollarevolves into a will-they-won’t-they scenario in Dropping the Dime, and reaches a satisfying culmination in Lucky Penny. My favorite thing about this romance is the naturally flirtatious manner in which it is written. Throughout the series, the romance remains a subplot, never outshining the individual characters or respective mystery plots. Ashe writes it in such a way that it enhances the development of her characters, instead of hindering it, and still satisfies the [seemingly obligatory] romance requirement for Cozy Mysteries.

There’s even the slightest teasing of a love triangle, which I cannot complain about either. Even if it had developed into a full-fledged love triangle, the excellent character development would have prevented it from becoming too obnoxious. Excellent writing can save stories from typical blunders like that. In a (sub)genre usually deficient in fully developed characters, Ellie Ashe is churning them out like a machine. Her writing style is highly enjoyable and will keep listeners invested in her series and its delightful characters.

This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series. In fact, it was the first title off my tongue when making audiobook recommendations in a doctors’ office last week. Ashe really has something great going here and I hope we see much more of Miranda Vaughn in the future.

Narration review: Teri Schnaubelt deserves a lot of the credit for making this series so enjoyable. Her voice adds to the coziness factor and gives voice to the many colorful characters. She was 100% the right selection to narrate the series. Everything she does is professional-grade, from voice distinction and emotional emphasis, to timing, articulation and pacing. This is an excellent series in any format, but Teri makes it so much better. ♣︎

This audiobook was graciously gifted to me by its author, Ellie Ashe, in exchange for a review containing my honest thoughts and opinions. Thanks, Ellie!

$ Available at Audible/Amazon and The Book Depository (paperback)