The Thing about December Author: Donal Ryan Narrator: Wayne Farrell

The Thing about December
Author: Donal Ryan
Narrator: Wayne Farrell

Length: 6 hrs and 14 mins
Publisher: Steerforth Press L.L.C

Wayne Farrell's reading is steady from beginning to end maintaining the sober, somewhat sad and often confused inner thoughts of Johnsey Cunliffe. Johnsey is pensive and lonely and Farrell does such a beautiful job narrating the mentally challenged Johnsey. Mr. Farrell narrates a variety of books and not only brings out the best in each story but maneuvers nicely through many characters and emotions. It is lovely and a special treat when an Irishman narrates a book about and Irishman. 

Book Review: The Thing about December by Donal Ryan

Donal Ryan Author image
Donal Ryan Author

There is no doubt that Donal Ryan is a skillful writer and talented beyond belief in delving into the minds of the people he creates going deep into their soul. In The  Thing about December he manages to root out the essence of Johnsey's thoughts which are simple, yet, insightful and often forgiving. I found the book rather depressing because of the sad and spiteful treatment shown to a person that needed compassion and patience.

I was left with a slightly unsavory view of the Irish people that in modern times were acting  no differently than their eighteenth century ancestors and perhaps were even more cruel. I suppose the same could be said if it were set in any other country and Donal is revealing how little true progress mankind has made in dealing with the less fortunate. No matter how much hue and cry is made for political correctness and equality in all things, maybe it is just hue and cry with no substance or genuine gain.

Johnsey's father does his best to give good direction and helpful pointers to Johnsey and his words are frequently heard in Johnsey's mind even long after his father has passed away. His mother seems less sympathetic towards him and Johnsey does hear her words and advice in his head, though less frequently than he hears his father. Sadly they failed to prepare Johnsey to find any independence or ability to take care of himself after they were gone. Leaving him with no understanding of how to handle the farm or money left to him.

Again and again Johnsey fails to see or understand the people he thinks are friends are not and many unscrupulous people try to trick him to get his money or property. In his simple way of thinking he takes things at face value and has no ability to discern body language or duplicity. Johnsey is fated to never understand people and they will never understand him. One can hope that from time to time a person with scruples will help him make wiser decisions.

Overall The Thing about December is a beautifully written book and insightful. Perhaps a much more in depth perception into a mentally challenged person's mind that one might wish to go. Nonetheless a book worth listening to and an superb narration by Wayne Farrell. The book was almost unbearably sad and depressing, but Donal Ryan does know how to slice and dice his words and phrases to get the most emotional impact that is possible out of each one.

Wayne Farrell does and equally soul felt and excellent narration of Donal Ryan's award winning The Spinning Heart. The Irish Times did a great review you may like to read of The Thing about December. 


The Cross of St. Anne By Gary Alan Ruse, Narrator Bill Burrows

The Cross of St. Anne
Written by: Gary Alan RuseNarrated by: Bill Burrows

Length: 8 hrs and 14 mins

Bill Burrows Narrator Image
Narrator Bill Burrows

Bill Burrows has a rich and very masculine voice that is such a pleasure to listen to.  His reading is impressive and he has a good steady reading pace. I appreciated that there were no unnecessary pauses or over enunciated words. Just a steady flow of listening enjoyment. Mr. Burrows strong suit is in his attention to the details of what he is reading. I was a little disappointed that he was lacking in doing a female character. He did try, but dropped the female voice half way through. I would love to listen to some nonfiction performed by Mr. Burrows as it would be a dazzling presentation. Everything about his narrating style and his wonderful voice begs for nonfiction, history would be my choice.

Book Review for The Cross of St. Anne Author Gary Alan Ruse

Gary Alan Ruse Author image
Author Gary Alan Ruse

Curt Devereaux buys a relic from a New England antique dealer, Thorton James, and charms the lovely if not beautiful Annie McCormick. Curt and his family bought a monstrously large estate on Jarritt's Island with plans of turning it into a museum and Curt invites Annie to stay a few days at White Oak Manor and aid them in setting it up.  Annie is thrilled to have a few days off and eagerly accepts the invitation and is secretly glad to see Curt Deveraux again. Curt sends a limousine to drive Annie and the relic to the island. Yet, when she arrives Curt is nowhere to be seen and only Karen Wyler, the owner of the hotel across from the White Oak is there to greet her. Karen and Annie are close to the same age and hit it off right away.

When Curt does finally appear and Annie fetches the St. Anne's Cross, the box is empty. Annie is sure it was stolen while she and Karen were doing the grand tour of the Manor but couldn't imagine who would have taken it. The police are called in and Annie begins to feel like they think she took it herself. She feels terrible and is sorry that she left it unattended in the foyer. Curt apologizes and takes the blame for not having the locks fixed on the foyer door. No matter who is at fault, the relic is gone.

After the police start to investigate Annie is torn between going home or staying, would she look guilty of the theft if she went home, or would staying show her innocence. In the end her attraction to Curt sways her to stay instead of returning home. Jealousy plagues Anne when she meets Monique, Curt's young and attractive business partner. Her mind is awhirl with conflicting messages and unsettling situations that lead her to a horrifying situation that can cost her, her life.

This is an exciting listen with lots of mystery and suspense. Witchcraft and magic and things that go creep in the night are in this story. I recommend this book to anyone wanting something a bit different with many surprises in it. Not to mention some romance to add spice to an already exhilarating story.


Saint Mazie By Jami Attenberg Narrated By Tavia GilbertNa

Saint Mazie
By Jami Attenberg Narrated By Tavia Gilbert

Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins

Narrator Tavia Gilbert narrator of Saint Maize image
Narrator Tavia Gilbert

The performance that Tavia Gilbert does for Saint Mazie is magnificent. Each person is unique and Ms. Gilbert brings out the smallest behaviorism, every subtlety is addressed, and all is blended to express the very best of each personality. The young Jeannie, who wants to dance, dance, dance, is perfectly captured by Ms. Gilbert, and when as grown woman Jeannie returns, Tavia Gilbert takes her voice to a new level that brings out the still youthful inner Jeannie, melded with the mature Jeanie, giving a new dimension to her that is charming and lovable. It is uncanny the way Ms. Gilbert brings characters to life.

Book Review: Saint Mazie By Jami Attenberg 

image of Jami Attenberg
Author Jami Attenberg

Saint Mazie, is written in a diary form, some entries are very short, just a line or two. Others are long,  giving more details about the different people in Mazie's life. I am not usually fond of books written in this format,  but Tavia Gilbert with her magical voice paints a good story that otherwise might have turned stale. Mazie in my humble opinion was not all that remarkable or interesting. She lacked character and backbone, and was more apt to let people and events create her life for her. She would say one thing and do another. Mazie was one very mixed up girl.

The first half of the book covers Mazie and her lover, Mazie and her sisters, Mazie and her friends. Mazie and her strange loyalty to so many wrong things. Even the last part of the book that covers Mazie's taking care of the street people is sketchy at best and focuses on just a couple men and not in that much depth either. It never occurs to Mazie that many people are taking advantage of her. I couldn't see Mazie as a Saint maybe people around her called her that and thought of her in that particular way, but it's more likely she was a Saint to them because Mazie did not know how to say no, gave anyone anything they asked for even her body and soul.

I found Saint Mazie slow and a little frustrating with incomplete sketches of events or people with the important ingredients missing. I never was sure if she loved her boyfriend or if he was just an exciting lay, that breezed in and out of her life. She did not want children, but when she lost her baby she was sad and upset. But not devastated after all she intended to give the child to Rosie, who couldn't have children. Probably was  a good thing she miscarried as neither she nor Rosie would have been good mothers. To wait years and years before telling her boyfriend about the baby was just wrong and selfish. I guess I did not like Mazie and finished the book because of Tavia Gilbert's, splendid narration and because the secondary characters were more interesting.


A Murder in Mount Moriah by Mindy Quigley, Narrator, Holly Adams

A Murder in Mount Moriah
A Reverend Lindsay Harding Mystery
Mindy Quigley 

Narrator: Holly Adams

Length: 9 hrs and 36 mins
Published by, Mindy Quigley

Image of Holly Adams narrator for A Murder in Mount Moriah
Narrator Holly Adams

Review of Holly Adams, narrator

Holly Adams does an amazing array of accents and is very enthusiastic in her reading of A Murder in Mount Moriah. It's nearly like listening to a full cast performance but is Holly Adams with her many voices and skillful performance. I like the way she read the text, managing to make it a lively part of the story and not the background. There are a few times that the volume goes up that may be hard on earbud users. Overall the performance was simply wonderful.

Book Review of A Murder in Mount Moriah by Mindy Quigley

Mindy Quigley author. Image
Author, Mindy Quigley

Lindsay Harding, Chaplain, at Mt. Moriah's hospital, is sometimes unorthodox in her methods of giving comfort to the sick and grieving and still manages to comfort without compromising her principles. Lindsay becomes embroiled in finding out who shot Vernon, a very popular townsman during a Civil War Reenactment. There seems to be no apparent reason why anyone would want to kill Vernon and Lindsay thinks that by finding the reason she will find the killer. A Police Officer and Lindsay discover a clue, at nearly the same time that could reveal the motive and the murderer.

Her love life gets a jolt of excitement when a new very attractive doctor, has the singles all a twitter with Lindsay netting a date with him. A date doomed to fail because someone told the handsome doctor that Lindsay was a huge baseball fan. Lindsay not wanting to blow a date with him, goes along pretending she loves baseball. Lindsay knows nothing about baseball nearly is caught out when it comes to the score keeping.

A Murder in Mount Moriah is funny with many good quips and lots of excitement with Lindsay's constantly finding herself in unlikely situations and butting heads with people in authority. The characters are well developed and add to the fun. I did not see who the murderer was, Lindsay nearly gets herself killed because she did not know who the killer was either. Although Lindsay is a Chaplain and her father is a minister, there is no religious preaching in the book. It is all light hearted and fun and I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a cozy mystery with lots of humor and a good plot.

Mindy Quigley is a great writer with a wonderful sense of humor that makes a story move from routine and ordinary into a fun, laugh out loud read, paired with Holly Adams narrating gives double the dose of fun.



Emissary By Chris Rogers Narrated By Jeff Hays


Author: Chris Rogers  

Narrated By Jeff Hays

Length: 13 hrs and 16 mins
Chart House Press

Jeff Hays is a magician with his portrayal of Emissary. Hay's has a pleasing deep and very masculine voice. When chapter one started I thought wow is this read by two people. I listened and thought no, I am sure Hays is the only narrator. Well, omg, this is the best female voice from a male narrator ever. The amazement does not stop there, no, he has other stellar voices up his sleeve. Aldamae was equally praiseworthy and very much a stand alone voice and accent. Jeff Hays is equal and even exceeds some of the golden voices of male narrators. I enjoyed his sound effects like simulating a intercom. Jeff Hays imbues so much life into each character that you can't help but enjoy every moment of Emissary. His pacing is excellent on both text and characters.
Jeff Hays Narrator, image
Jeff Hays Narrator

Audiobook Review: Emissary, By Chris Rogers

image of Chris Rogers, Author
Chris Rogers Author
President Addison Hale returning from a re-election campaign is unaware that a ship is poised in space with a transfer beam directed at her as she sits in the  air force one's oval office. Ruell, an alien from a dying planet has been groomed to go to earth to invade the mind of the President of the United States, to be receptive to Ruell's influences.

Ruell is pleasantly surprised that seeing earth life from President Hale's mind is more intense in colors and textures and voices are far nicer than what he experienced in the preparation chambers simulations. Emotions are also something he'd not expected. Having left forever his body and now just a beam of light and energy that needs recharging he tries to remind himself to be a sponge to begin with until he's completely comfortable and knowledgeable about human life.

After watching, absorbing and collecting data, President Hale is shot in an assassination attempt. As he feels her life force going dark, he feels despair
that he failed his mission. A few pep talks with himself he is drawn to a Texas policeman Longshadow. Longshadow has a drinking problem and dealing with his grief for losing his wife, his son and his brother, all who died in a relatively short time of each other.

Ruell enters Longshadow's mind and unlike President Hale, Longshadow becomes aware of Ruell. At first he tries to drink himself into oblivion to shut up Ruell's voice, and eventually he realizes that somehow, Ruell is not his imagination and he isn't hearing things and going crazy. Ruell reveals himself in a way the convinces Longshadow that he is real and has a mission to fulfill.

An interview with Jeff Hays from audiobookreviewer
Link to an interview with Jeff Hays

Emissary is very long, thirteen hours and Jeff Hays does a magnificent interpretation and portrayal of it. If not for such a fine performance I may not have been able to listen to all of it. There are other side stories that are books in themselves that needlessly go into long diatribes. Although each character is well fleshed out, about five hours could be deleted and turned into a separate book.


Panthers Play for Keeps by Clea Simon Narrated by Tavia Gilbert

Panthers Play for Keeps
Clea Simon

Tavia Gilbert Narrator

Blackstone Audio Inc.

8 hours 45 minutes

Award winning Tavia Gilbert, Narrator image
Tavia Gilbert Narrator
Tavia Gilbert is one of our finest audio book narrators. Her characterizations of the different animals in Clea Simons' books is absolutely stunning. Pru is so well done that one forgets that Pru is not real, but, Tavia, does make her seem like she is. Tavia Gilberts' voice is so charming, has a lovely pitch, and is so very expressive. Hands down no one does a cat's meow as well as Ms.Gilbert. Cat ears perk up in my house when Ms.Gilbert meows.

Clea Simon Author, image from narrator reviews
Author Clea Simon
Clea Simon the woman behind the Theda Krakow Mysteries, Dulcie Schwartz Mysteries, and Pru Marlowe.

Audiobook Review: Panthers Play for Keeps

Pru Marlowe is training Spot a service dog, she takes him out to a rural area to let him have some run free time along with his training. When Spot sniffs out a corpse of a once attractive woman, Pru is once again going headlong into another murder case. Her unique talent of being able to talk with animals gives her inside information that the police don't have access to. Wallis her ill tempered cat is always there to give her his advice and snarky comments. Wallis has no fondness for dogs, likes to hunt outside for flyby snacks and is Pru's sounding board when she's working out the details of a case.

The story is more complex than the previous three in the series. Pru gets into situations far more dangerous and life threatening. Relying on animal cues and
prompts that Pru does not always understand. There are breathtaking events in a fast paced adventurous story. Made me compare it to the old movies where you are holding your breath while yelling don't go down there, as the heroine makes her way down the basement steps. 

Pru is facing the green eyed monster when a beautiful woman seems to be moving in on Pru's on again off again boyfriend Detective Jim Creighton. Pru has a hard time committing to a full time permanent relationship. Creighton is not going to have an easy time pinning Pru down, after all it is difficult hearing the thoughts and feelings of any animals around while trying to carry on a normal relationship. Pru's attention and concern are always going first to the animals. Any human is taking a backseat to them.

The first book in the Theda Krakow Mysteries came out in 2005, Mew Is for Murder, 2006, Cattery Row, Cries and Whiskers by Clea Simon arrived in 2007, and Probable Claws came out in 2009.

Dulcie Schwartz Mysteries also came out in 2009 with Shades of Grey,
between 2009 and 2015 there were eight more books,
Grey Matters, Grey Zone, Grey ExpectationsTrue GreyGrey Dawn, Grey HowlStages of Grey, and Code Grey, to be released August 1,2015.

Pru Marlowe Pet Noir Series Dogs Don't Lie, arrived in 2011, Cats Can't Shoot was out in 2012, Parrots Prove Deadly by Clea Simon by Clea Simon, 2013, Panthers Play for Keeps 2014, Kittens Can Kill, was released March 3, 2015.