Secondhand Spirits By Juliet Blackwell Narrated by Xe Sands

Juliet Blackwell Narrator Xe Sands

Secondhand Spirits: A Witchcraft Mystery, Book 1
By Juliet Blackwell
Narrated by Xe Sands
Length:8 hrs and 15 mins
Xe Sands

Narrator, Xe Sands,  is refreshing, like a mist off the ocean. Her voice is singular, unlike anyone else. Immediately, as you hear the first lines read by Xe Sands, you are captured. You will slip right into pace with her.  Xe Sands, has an outstanding range of voices, all convincing. A small child, sounds like a child, in fact children sound so realistic, you would swear you are hearing a child, or that a teenager, slipped into the studio and narrated the teenage parts.

Ms. Sands, successfully emotes the rather longing side of Lily, who yearns to make friends, having girl talk and chummy times. Each character is easily identified. Male voices are so well done, and sound, well, masculine. Xe Sands, brings a multitude of talents with her narration of this fun and frisky book, Secondhand Spirits by Juliet Blackwell.

This is another outstanding narration by the multi-talented voice artist Xe Sands.
If you are looking for something fun, insightful, and fresh, Secondhand Spirits, by Juliet Blackwell, might, just be the ticket for you. I enjoyed this book very much. Lily Ivory, (just have to love that name) our heroine, is looking for a bit of peace and normalcy in her life. She has some rather unusual and special talents, that can help her or cause her problems. After traveling the world and living in many places, a parrot tells her to move to San Francisco, but, "beware the fog". Lily decides this might be just the place for her, with the cities varied cultures.

She settles in and opens a vintage clothing store, Aunt Cora's Closet. It quickly becomes a success, due to her ability to tune into the the 'vibes' of the articles of clothing she handles, it gives her an edge, matching the right clothes to the right person. In the first part of the book we go along with Lily, on some of her buying expeditions, and meet many of her loyal clientele. All very interesting, and the historical tidbits about San Francisco and the Haight-Ashbury district, added to the enjoyment.

The second half of the book moves into a more intense and dark side, when a client is murdered and a child disappears. On investigation, Lily discovers that other children have disappeared from the same area. She starts to dig deeper into the old cases and involves the police and anyone who will give her assistance.

With her ability to cast spells and see the past history of items she touches, Lily, is more than able to solve the crimes. The story is a really good paranormal, read. I liked the location in San Francisco, and Blackwell gives historical details along the way. All well developed and integrated into the story. I look forward to more from Juliet Blackwell in this series and definitely hope that Xe Sands is the narrator.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot, Campbell, Turpin

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Skloot
Cassandra Campbell
Bahni Turpin
12 hours 30 mins.
Books on Tape

Casandra Campbell Narrator
Cassandra Campbell

Narrator, Cassandra Campbell, out does herself in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
Although Ms. Campbell has a gentle and very feminine voice, she aptly gives the character of our scientist, a good balance between serious researcher and scientist to sensitive and feeling person. Cassandra Campbell's voice is so well suited for romance stories, more so, than most non fiction works. In the case of Henrietta Lacks,  a certain sensitivity is needed to convey the nature and personality of Henrietta Lacks, Ms. Campbell does not disappoint.

Bahni Turpin Co- Narrator for Rebecca Skloot's Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Bahni Turpin Narrator

Bahni Turpin, of course goes without saying does an excellent job as Henrietta Lack's daughter. Ms. Turpin, is an accomplished narrator, who skillfully delivers the goods. I love it when narrators are so outstanding that you're completely drawn into the story to another world.

Henrietta Lacks, was a very special woman, of course she had no way of knowing this. Her life was harsh, and full of strife. Nonetheless, Henrietta, was fun loving, kind, and sounds like a thoroughly nice person. Her life was short and she died before she had a chance to fulfill all its promises. When Henrietta gets cancer and is treated at the John Hopkins clinic, it was hair raising and bone chilling to think of what pain and suffering she went through, and I imagine most cancer patients did at the time. I wanted to just weep for her, for what sounds like barbaric treatments.

During one of her sessions they took cells from her cervix, I guess, a common practice at the time, and sent them off to the lab. These cells have a short lifespan, which is what still has the medical and scientific community baffled. Ms. Lacks, cells are still alive. They are still being used in research all over the world today. They've been instrumental in curing diseases and finding treatments. The world has been truly blessed for having Henrietta Lacks in it. I can't argue the justice or right or wrong of them taking her cells. Doctors have been doing many things over the years without permission, and usually the patient never knows about it.

Book cover, audiobook review of Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Narrated by Cassandra Campbell and  Bahni  Turpin
I do think her family should have and still should get some financial compensation at least for Henrietta's contribution to the world. Her cells still live and it is only right that the family is remunerated for the use of them. I highly recommend this book, even if you're not interested in science, medicine or non-fiction, it is about the life of a remarkable woman and her eternal gift to the world. Rebecca Skloot, was a diligent and careful researcher, giving a balanced accounting of Ms. Lack. Cassandra Campbell and Bahni Turpin do marvelous narrations of the characters. So, I know you will not be disappointed with The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Who they refer to now as HeLa, so unfeeling and frosty a title, for someone so stunningly important to the world.

Audiobook review of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Skloot Author


Snobs, Julian Fellowes, Narrator, Richard Morant


Julian Fellowes
Richard Morant
BBC Audiobooks of America

10 hours. 17 minutes

Richard Morant Narrator of Snobs By Julian Fellowes
Richard Morant

Richard Morant, did a marvelous narration of Snobs by Julian Fellowes, , he strikes just the right balance from the clarity in his speech, to his nice British accent.  Perhaps,  the British don't consider they have an accent, and it's those from other countries that have the accent. Morant's speech is cultured, clear, and suave. He reads at a good conversational pace. He does a sensational, snooty, tone for the 'gentry', without his own character losing his place as being one of them.

Sadly Richard Morant, passed away November 9, 2011. A great loss indeed, for the performing arts. I enjoyed the interview at the end of the book with the author, Julian Fellowes. He was charming, witty, and knows how to take command of a conversation. This surely works in his favor when writing. He achieves this in Snobs. Julian Fellowes is one author, I personally feel, is capable of narrating  his own book, and it will be just as expertly done, as Richard Morant's narration.

Audio Book Review: Snobs, Julian Fellowes

Julian Fellowes Author of Snobs and Downtown Abbey

Julian Fellowes Author
I was completely captivated, with, Snobs, it's a very long book, and yet, there are no dull or boring parts. It's witty, insightful, charming and revealing of the inner circles, rules of the aristocracy. Edith Lavery's mother Stella, fills Edith's head with fantasies of marrying well and gaining a title. Her mother, had neither married well, nor married up and had no entree into the society she yearned to be a part of. She gets in her mind that if Edith could succeed where she failed, then, through her daughter she would have a robust upper mid-class social life.
When Edith does succeed, and marries, Lord Charles Broughton, she daydreams, of being the sought after, and deeply envied, lady of the manor. What, she gets is a life living in Broughton Hall with an overbearing mother-in-law, and a not too bright husband.  She is deeply disappointed when she finds her husband, although charming,  is not only a total bore, he is not a skilled lover. His habit of saying thank you, after each sex act, drives her crazy. On their wedding night, sex lasted a minute or two, in time it increases to around five minutes, barely time to know anything happened at all.

Between her sexual frustration and the tedium of daily life, she is ripe for being swept off her feet, by the handsome Simon, a mediocre actor. Simone sees Edith as his ticket to the upper crust of society, with the possibilities of meeting people who can help him further his acting career. Not realizing, that Edith, without her husband Lord Charles, has no entree to the people he is hoping to mingle with. With stars in their eyes, they run off together and live in a cramped London apartment.

In time, Edith, is not as happy with her new life, as she thought she would be, she mentally starts comparing his friends and the parties they go to, to the people she knew with Charles. Slowly, she starts seeing that she has given up a good and comfortable life, for, what, boils down to a good sex life. Realizing she made a horrible mistake, she resolves to contact Charles but is thwarted at every turn. Edith, takes some desperate steps to reunite with Charles, after all he is still her husband.

I couldn't help to being sympathetic to Edith, her mother raised her on romantic dreams and Barbara Cartland tales. Julian Fellowes, skillfully brings to life a glimpse into the amusing mixture of social classes in Snobs. Richard Morant, makes it blossom into a believable and exciting tale. I loved this book, and will be looking for more by Julian Fellowes and Richard Morant. Both are extremely talented in their own fields.

Snobs, Julian Fellowes Narrated by Richard Morant

Bringing up Bebe Pamela Druckerman Narrator: Abby Craden

Bringing up Bebe
Pamela Druckerman
Narrator: Abby Craden                                    
Duration:  9 hours, 8 minutes
Release date:  Feb 07, 2012

Pamela Druckerman Bringing up Bebe
Pamela Druckerman

Abby Craden Narrator
Abby Craden Narrator

I thought Abby Craden did an amazing narration of Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.  Her voice is strong and clear. She did everything a good narrator does to bring out the very best of a book. Ms. Craden, makes it easy to follow the thoughts and conversations, and conveys just the right amount of inflection, so every sentence melds into the next without interruption.

Nonetheless, there are enough pauses, to mull over what the author is presenting. Her reading is very smooth, and melodious, it is a listening pleasure, for the ears. I enjoyed Bringing Up Bebe, and found it so enlightening that I listened a second time. I admire the way the French people, attempt to keep their language and culture, unpolluted by outside influences. I hope they succeed and they will if they keep up the good fight. In the U.S. I frequently hear mothers bewailing the struggle of making their children mind them. The constant fights, and the constant conflicts over everything, making daily life a tedious struggle of the wills.

Therefore, it was refreshing, to listen to good, solid, advice, in a well written book. I don't think, American children are as much spoiled, as they are untrained. Parents seem reluctant to start early enough, if at all, to teach children the necessary tools, they will need as they get older, to have happy and productive lives. Anyone with a sincere intent to change their child rearing patterns, should read or listen to Bringing Up Bebe. The book is sometimes funny, and scoots along to a very satisfying conclusion. You, have to love some of the tips like the "Look" and "the Pause", Very funny stuff. Best of all, it works.

Bringing up Bebe By Pamela Druckerman
By Pamela DruckermanNarrator, Abby Craden


Two Tocks Before Midnight by C. J. Martin Narrated by Wayne Farrell

Two Tocks Before Midnight
C J Martin
Narator: Wayne Farrell                        
1 hr 6 mins.
Kotoba Books

Farrell narrating Two Tocks Before Midnight
Wayne Farrell Narrator
Two Tocks Before Midnight by C. J. Martin read by Wayne Farrell

C. J. Martin

The voice of  Wayne Farrell, is very engaging to listen too. I only have only good things to say about this narrator. Farrrell's voice is rich, deep, and clear. He gives an excellent presentation of the text parts, as well as in expressing the characters. Farrell, has a good handle on proper emphasis, so each character is easily distinguished. It sometimes happens, when, I see a photo or a video of a narrator, I'm rather awed, that such talent, and sounds come out of that person. I believe it takes far more acting talent to be a narrator than it does, to be a movie star. Narrators, have, more accents to learn, a huge repertoire of characters to convincingly present and above all a pleasing voice for the listener to gain full enjoyment of the book.  They also have less preparation time than a movie or stage actor. For the most part movie and stage acting relies a lot on looks, narration relies on true talent. Wayne Farrell, fits all of the criteria of an outstanding narrator. I look forward to listening to many more of the books he narrates.

Wayne Farrell has done a fine job in setting the time and place of this short story. Two Tocks Before Midnight, is a short story about a society of men who do altruistic deeds. Each man has special talents and extensive educational backgrounds, to throw into their collective pot. When an ancient manuscript comes their way, their excitement is intense. Is it a genuine or fake, document? The answer, leads to murder and mayhem. I liked, the way the story ended, justice is served, in a surprising way, or is it? If you enjoy short stories, as, I know many people do, you will definitely like C J Martins, Two Tocks Before Midnight.  This is a shorter review of the book, than I usually do, it is, a short story and to make it longer, would be a spoiler.