31 August 2020

Sound Recommendations: 8 Audiobook Reviews

I been a little busy with work this month, but I still managed to listen to 8 books since I last checked in with you. BTW: I have been reading in print & digital too--I'll get to those books next time.

Before I get to my mini reviews, I'd like to remind you that I list the books I've read on both Library Thing) and Goodreads, so if you're curious, you can always follow me there. I also post book content on Instagram.

Coming up later this week, I have a fun post involving a collaboration, and I'm planning a Weekend Cooking post as well. Hope you're all staying healthy and safe.

8 Audiobook Mini-Reviews
  • The Heatwave by Kate Riordan (Grand Central; Aug. 18): This domestic thriller is set in the south of France and involves a deteriorating estate, family secrets, and a closed community. Although I didn't guess all the secrets and the atmosphere was tense, I was ultimately left with a meh feeling. I don't think everything has to be explained in detail, but some plot lines weren't fleshed out enough, and the ending was unsatisfying. The audiobook was nicely read by Miranda Raison (Hachette Audio; 8 hr, 46 min). Her accents and expressive delivery kept me invested in the story.
  • The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi (Holt; Aug. 4): This mystery is set up as a book within a book. The frame involves a young book editor who is working with an author to bring his collection of short mystery stories back to print. Within the frame, we have the stories themselves, which were written (by the fictitious author) to teach lessons of a good mystery. The stories are retellings of Agatha Christie classics, so it was fun to figure out which story went with which Christie. Other than that, I wasn't all that drawn into the frame mystery: what are the editor and author hiding? Note, however, that this book has won tons of praise. As I wrote in my AudioFile magazine review, this is recommended for Agatha Christie aficionados (read by Emilia Fox; Macmillan Audio; 11 hr, 16 min).
  • The Less Dead by Denise Mina (Mulholland; Aug. 18): This thriller involves a pregnant doctor (Margo) who, in the aftermath of her mother's death and a breakup with her boyfriend, decides to try to get in contact with her birth mother's family to learn more about her heritage. What she discovers is that her biological mother was murdered just days after giving up her baby. Now that Margo's met her aunt, she finds herself getting increasingly tangled up in their personal dramas as well as in the unsolved serial murder cases that include her own mother. There were definitely some scary moments and it was difficult to tease out the motives and secrets of the people Margo meets, but in the long run, the book was only okay for me. I didn't really connect or care enough. Katie Leung did a fine job with her narration (Hachette Audio; 8 hr, 4 min)--good accents, building tension, believable emotions--so the miss is totally on me.
  • Death of a Liar by M. C. Beaton (Grand Central; 2015). This is the 30th in the series. I don't have more to say, except that I am still enjoying this very light, fun cozy series. Graeme Malcolm (Hachette Audio; 5 hr, 20 min) is always a pleasure to listen to.
8 Audiobooks to Listen to Now
  • Death of a Nurse by M. C. Beaton (Grand Central; 2016): The 31st in the series. Graeme Malcolm (Hachette Audio; 5 hr, 28 min) did it again!
  • 10 Things I Hate about Pinky by Sandhya Menon (Simon Pulse; July 21): This is the third book Menon has written about Indian-American California teens; the books have some overlapping characters but can all be read as stand-alones. Pinky's story is successfully based on The Taming of the Shrew (think of the movie Ten Things I Hate about You) and is generally interesting with relatable characters. Though I liked it, it was my least favorite of the three novels. Some of the story lines seemed unnecessary and others were a little drawn out; still worth the listen. Narrators Vikas Adam and Soneela Nankani (Simon & Schuster; 7 hr, 11 min) team up to read this young adult rom-com. Adam's delivery isn't as smooth as Nankani's, but I got used to it.
  • Brave Enough by Jessie Diggins and Todd Smith (U of Minnesota Press; March 10): In this memoir, cross-country ski champion Diggins talks about her journey from her childhood in rural Minnesota to standing on the Olympic podium to accept a gold medal. She speaks frankly about her eating disorder and the less glamorous aspects of being an elite athlete along with the wonderful opportunities, friendships, and rewards of training with a team. Maybe not the best-written memoir of all time, but I liked getting to know Diggins. More on the audiobook read by Allyson Ryan (Tantor; 10 hr, 532 min) in AudioFile magazine.
  • Death of a Ghost by M. C. Beaton (Grand Central; 2017). This is the penultimate book in the series. Sadly it wasn't my favorite of the bunch, but I still liked spending time with copper Hamish Macbeth. Only one more book to go! As always, Graeme Malcolm (Hachette Audio; 5 hr, 37 min) put in an terrific performance.
Thanks to the publishers (audiobook & print) for the review copies. And thanks to Libro.fm.


Laurel-Rain Snow 8/31/20, 9:26 AM  

I haven't read Denise Mina in a few years...and I keep intending to read M.C. Beaton.

Enjoy your week and your books, and thanks for visiting my blog.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 8/31/20, 9:32 AM  

The M.C. Beaton books sound like they would be perfect for this time. Light. Fun. With a little mystery to keep you engaged.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these and your other listens.

shelleyrae @ book'd out 8/31/20, 10:11 AM  

I had the same problem with The Less Dead, Margo just irritated me, which is a shame because I loved Mina’s last novel, Conviction,

Wishing you a great reading week

Jen at Introverted Reader 8/31/20, 1:26 PM  

I never read the Hamish Macbeth series although there was a point in time where I regularly read the Agatha Raisin series. I always enjoyed them though. I should give one or the other series a try. They're just the kind of light read that I keep looking for right now. Enjoy your week!

Kay 8/31/20, 1:27 PM  

As an Agatha Christie lover, I think The Eighth Detective would be fun for me. Guessing the stories that apply. I'll watch for that one.

Kathy Martin 8/31/20, 1:46 PM  

Nice looking assortment of audiobooks. I've always got one going on now. They are great to listen to when I'm walking or playing computer games. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

Vicki 8/31/20, 2:12 PM  

I've started to read the Hamish Macbeth series but haven't yet. I need to just get a copy of book #1 and read it.

Girl Who Reads 8/31/20, 4:05 PM  

I enjoy M.C. Beaton. I usually listen to whatever ones are available through my digital library so I'm not sure I've read either one of those on your list.

sherry fundin 8/31/20, 5:10 PM  

i see some good ones. thanks for sharing
sherry @ fundinmental

Sue Jackson 8/31/20, 5:49 PM  

Looks like a good listening month for you! Lots of mysteries and thrillers - with September starting tomorrow, I am looking forward to diving into a lot more of those for fall!

BTW, thanks so much for the gift ideas for my son. I ended up getting him the first book the SpellSlinger series and the first book in The Legends of the First Empire series. When they arrived, I thought that Age of Myth looked a bit familiar - sure enough, he'd already read book 1. But I quickly exchanged it for book 2, and he was thrilled. He also said he has picked up Spellslinger himself in bookstores and almost bought it, so that was a hit, too! And I got him book 9 in The Sanctuary series by Robert J Crane, which he loves, so his birthday was a hit! Thanks for your help - much appreciated with my laptop and lists unavailable!


Book By Book

Yvonne 8/31/20, 5:57 PM  

I always enjoy MC Beaton's books. Sounds like you had a good month. Hope you have a good week!

Laurie C 8/31/20, 6:42 PM  

I listened to a Hamish Christmas story one year, but I need to catch up on Agatha Raisin before I go back to the beginning with the other series! I never care about solving the actual mystery (I only like word puzzles, and stink at every other kind of puzzle!) so it's all about the characters for me when it comes to mysteries! I was listening to audiobooks more than reading in print or ebook this spring, but have been trying to achieve more balance lately. I can't do much other than housework and meal prep while listening without losing focus, so a good audiobook gets my chores done!

(Diane) bookchickdi 8/31/20, 7:44 PM  

My friend Beth highly recommends The Eighth Detective.

Mystica 8/31/20, 10:04 PM  

I've requested the Riordan book. I do hope I get it. Your M C Beaton books sound very good too.

Greg 9/1/20, 3:36 AM  

I need some good new mysteries so these were nice to see. It's been too long since I read a good cozy as well!

Daryl 9/4/20, 9:31 AM  

how have i never read a MC Beaton? I guess i need to do that now that the series will be there to read w/o waiting eons for the next .. thx!

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