Monday, January 31, 2022

“Wisteria Witches”
written by Angela Pepper,
Narrated by Tiffany Williams

When Zara & her daughter move to a new town, they run into quite a few surprises, not the least of which is the sudden awakening of Zara’s magic on her daughter’s 16th birthday. Soon after, they find themselves drawn into a mystery and discover/reconnect with a long lost aunt that they weren’t aware lived in town. Zara’s aunt is also a witch, though she had discovered her own gifts at a young age, and is now trying to rapidly teach Zara and Zoey about magic (though as of yet Zoey doesn’t seem to have any powers of her own.) Then there are the interesting neighbors and a whole other cast of characters in the small town of Wisteria.

Rather than reading this book, I listened to the audiobook version as I was walking. It was a nice, lighthearted little cozy mystery that kept me quite entertained for a few days. I expect that had I been reading it, it would have been a quick read, but that doesn’t take away from the fun of the story.

The narrator did a very good job of making sure that each voice was distinct enough that there was no confusion between which character was speaking at any point, and also managed to convey quite a bit of personality into each character’s distinct voices. I enjoyed listening to her portraying each of the various personalities.

If you enjoy listening to a nice, lighthearted cozy mystery that has been read by an entertaining narrator, then you should enjoy this audiobook. And if you prefer to read the physical book or kindle edition, I expect that you would find it just as entertaining.

Monday, January 24, 2022

"Last Night with Tokyo Rose' by Alexa Kang

Tom Sakai was a 2nd generation Japanese-American living and growing up in America. His life has been difficult because in many ways he and his older brother are trapped between two worlds. No matter how hard they tried, many only saw them as only Japanese, rather than as Americans, and unfortunately they were often treated poorly because of it.

This was Tom's story. The tale of his life and the choices he made, many of which appeared to be because he had no other options left available to him at the time. People looked at him and saw a Japanese man, ignoring that he was born an American. And unfortunately things only became even more difficult after Pearl Harbor was attacked & thus brought the United States into WWII.

I greatly enjoyed reading this book. It easily captured my interest and held it, leaving me barely able to bring myself to put it down so that I could sleep at night. The characters were complex and well-rounded. The story was well thought out, and I loved the way in which the reader learns all the complexities of what is unfolding as the story progresses. 

Anyone who enjoys historical fiction, especially those stories set during WWII should read this book. I happened to read the 2nd book in this series before this one, but as each book is a stand alone novel, it didn't lessen my enjoyment of either book or give away any spoilers. I would definitely recommend giving this one a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Monday, January 17, 2022

"Flawed and Loved" by Florence Linnington

Ellie was supposed to marry the banker in Red Canyon, but when the bank was robbed and she was taken hostage, her fate seemed to be pretty much sealed. But one of the gang members does not want that to happen and goes out of his way to keep her safe from the others until he can get her free of them and back to where she can be rescued. After that, the gang leader has David take a job in the town so he can listen to learn when and how the safest way for them to get away with the stolen money will come about while the rest of them hide in the woods.

This was another enjoyable story told by Ms. Linnington. In this one, both Ellie and David have secrets that they hide from each other. (His, an effort to keep him from returning to jail and hers… well, that would be too much of a spoiler to give away at this point.) This was an enjoyable tale of change from within as well as of possible redemption.

I don't want to give away too much, but do remember that this is a mail order bride tale, (though it was more of an arranged marriage from a nearby town rather than one arranged through a catalog.) So as is usual, you can probably feel safe in expecting a happy ending of some sort.

If you've enjoyed reading any of Ms Linnington's other books, mail order bride stories, or are just looking for a light quick read to enjoy, I think you'll enjoy reading this one.

Monday, January 10, 2022

“Dangers and Empty Mangers”
by Trixie Silvertale

In this 17th book of the Mitzy Moon series, you guessed it, there’s another body found as the story begins. But this time it’s not Mitzy who finds it. As expected, she does wind up involved in the investigation to find the killer (would there be a story here if she didn’t?) while at the same time trying to solve a seemingly unrelated crime by finding the missing statue of baby Jesus from the local church’s manger scene. Oh, and her ghost-ma needs her to locate a coat that had gone missing before Mitzy arrived in town. The coat has at least as much of a sentimental as real value to it and Grams is heartbroken by it’s loss and needs Mitzy to find it, though she won’t tell Mitzy why.

This was another fun-filled installment in the series. Despite being the 17th book, there are still plenty of new dangers, problems, and other adventures for these characters to discover, as well as plenty for them to still learn about and from each other. And of course there are still more than a few secrets to be discovered/resolved.

As with the others in this series that I have read, I enjoyed this book just as much as the others. Mitzy is a fascinating character who is far from perfect, but it is her faults that make her relatable. If you’ve enjoyed any of the other books in this series, whether in order or not, you should give this one a try as well. You will not be disappointed. This is also a good series for anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist.

Monday, January 3, 2022

"Soulless" by Gail Carriger


This was an interesting audiobook focusing on a young woman who was born without a soul. In a world populated by both humans and supernatural creatures, it makes her somewhat unique. The other supernaturals are believed to have been born with an excess of soul, which allows them to be turned into vampires, werewolves, or other creatures and to survive the change.

But Miss Alexia Taribotti, having been born without a soul is a preternatural, meaning that her touch causes supernatural beings to revert to fully human while she maintains physical contact, which can cause for some interesting situations at times.

This book involves the story of Alexia trying to help solve the mystery of supernaturals who have been disappearing from their territories and others appearing from seemingly nowhere without the basic knowledge that should have been taught to them by their makers. England being a civilized country, there are laws & registries in place to keep all citizens, human and otherwise safe.

And yet, clearly, someone has no respect for these laws as things that should not be possible seem to be happening. But who is causing this chaos and why? 

I enjoyed listening to this story and the characters portrayed were brought to life by the voice actress reading the audiobook. I loved that the person who read the book was clearly British & did not need to struggle with maintaining a believable accent as she read. She also did a fantastic job in developing clear and distinct voices for each of the characters, allowing the audience to simply enjoy listening without struggling to identify who was supposed to be speaking at any given time as she read. 

If you enjoy listening to an entertaining and well thought out fantasy mystery, I think you’ll enjoy this one, whether you choose to read the book or listen to the audiobook version. I’d say sit back, take a break, and let yourself relax with this one. Just be aware that parts of it can get a bit graphic at times, so it may not be entirely appropriate for younger listeners/readers.

Firefax by A. M. Vergara

During the Revolutionary War, there are rumors of a city of gold that is hidden on an island whose location is known only to the Firefax fam...