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DubaiReader

Holsworthy, Devon, United Kingdom
  • 82
  • reviews
  • 20
  • helpful votes
  • 87
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  • Grey Magic

  • Realm of Smoke & Ashes, Book 1
  • By: JT Lawrence
  • Narrated by: Roshina Ratnam
  • Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22

Did real-life witch Raven Kane murder one of her clients? No one appreciates the irony of her situation more than Raven Kane: She’s a burnt-out witch...and that's the least of her problems. Accused of murder, this eccentric hexing-and-texting witch must explore her past lives in order to keep her freedom and find her way back to magic.    

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely GLORIOUS!

  • By Melanie Preston Lewis on 03-01-19

A modern day witch.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 19-04-19

This book was a huge surprise. Fantasy is not normally my chosen genre, but I decided to give this a listen for something a little different, and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. There are witches and spells, as i'd kind of expected, but also past life regression and reference to the historical persecution of witches, which seemed to anchor the book and give it depth.

Raven Kane was a hugely likable character, a struggling witch, suffering from asthma and an issue with burning, blistering skin. She lives in her grandmother's crumbling wooden house and tries to make a living by doing spells on request. Other services are available, some less legitimate than others. It is this that leads to her becoming persecuted in a modern day re-enactment of the witch burnings of old.
A clever idea that worked really well.

I loved the narration by Roshina Ratnam, who had a delightfully subtle South African accent. She managed great men's voices as well as women's and had perfect pacing.

Probably my only issue with the book was the similarity in the names of the High Priestess (Levinia) and the head of the Wicked Witches (Luella). I only sorted out these two in the last 10%, when both appeared together in the same scene, but I guess that is one of the problems with audio.

I can't wait for the next books in the series to be available as audiobooks, hopefully with the same narrator.

  • Missing Gretyl

  • You Only Love Twice
  • By: Si Page
  • Narrated by: Melanie Crawley
  • Length: 8 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12

After 50 years of marriage, Gretyl Trollop is thinking of a new life, somewhere hot. Her husband, Albert, is thinking of the crematorium. She's thinking of stuffing herself in a bikini. He's thinking of a taxidermist. The Londoners continue their separate lives until a mysterious letter turns their world upside down. In Essex, Dave and Sharon Soddall are struggling on benefits and looking for a get-rich-quick solution. With the help of a devious financial advisor, they concoct a plan and Costa Soddall Travel is born. Will the Soddalls pull off the con of a lifetime?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • LOVED IT! WHAT A TONIC!

  • By Karen V on 31-10-17

A very British farce.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-04-19

Every time I read a humorous book I hope that this is going to be the one that makes me laugh out loud, that leaves me with a stitch in my side and a desperate need to share it with others. Unfortunately I am yet to find such a book, maybe it doesn't exist, maybe it's just me. I can imagine that others would find Missing Gretyl hilarious - lovers of farce and situation comedy in particular, it just wasn't right for me.

I guess, by the end of the book, I had found a soft spot for Gretyl, though she couldn't have been ruder or more belittling. I certainly felt for her husband, Albert, camped out on his allotment. The two other main characters, Dave and Sharon Soddall were definitely more likable. Both couples were down on their luck and looking for solutions to their problems and a house in Marbella might just hold the answers.

I wasn't a great fan of the narrator of this book, Melanie Crawley. I found her voice a bit whiny, though she certainly put her heart and soul into her performance.

I'd like to give this 3.5 stars. It's about time review sites allowed half stars!

  • Bloodlines: Cove Point Manor

  • By: William B. Taylor
  • Narrated by: Bill Nevitt
  • Length: 7 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9

Alex Tinsdill never thought a simple DNA test would lead to a $250 million inheritance and Cove Point Manor, a massive estate built during the Gilded Age on the Gold Coast of Long Island, New York. Alex's inheritance doesn't come without a cost however, as two greedy relatives soon show up, determined to separate Alex from his new found riches. Cove Point Manor has a dark past, and a sinister secret which is about to be revealed!

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Better than winning the lottery!

  • By DubaiReader on 19-03-19

Better than winning the lottery!

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 19-03-19

Wouldn't it be wonderful to inherit an amazing historical house and the money to maintain it? Cove Point Manor sounded fabulous and it had even been kept in good condition since it was last lived in, by a maintenance firm. Unfortunately I found the way in which Alex's inheritance found its way to him, a little too coincidental, but OK, I can ignore that.

Then, of course, once you receive this amazing inheritance, you suddenly attract all the scrounging friends and relatives, after their share. Brenda and Connie were no exception and they drove me nuts, as no doubt they were intended to do. Alex was amazingly tolerant, I'm sure I'd have lost my rag much sooner.

The narration by Bill Nevitt was well done, especially as there were many unnecessary repetitions of names, which always irritates me. I so wished the author would make more use of the words 'he' and 'she'. Mr Nevitt did a good job of both male and female characters and read at a comfortably steady pace.

The paranormal part of the story was quite entertaining, with Alex's Great (Great?) Grandmother lurking in mirrors and taking a dislike to the uninvited guests. I did get confused by all the Great Greats and never really got a hold of the Farnsworth family tree. Maybe this was printed in the readable version? I could certainly have done with a copy.

A little bit of an unconvincing ending for me, but all in all, an entertaining cosy mystery that wasn't scary or violent.

  • Death in Dulwich

  • The London Murder Mysteries, Volume 1
  • By: Alice Castle
  • Narrated by: Alex Lee
  • Length: 7 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 19

Thirty-something single mum Beth Haldane is forced to become Dulwich’s answer to Miss Marple when she stumbles over a murder victim on her first day at work. To clear her name, Beth is plunged into a cozy mystery that’s a contemporary twist on Golden Age crime classics. But can she pull it off? Listen to find out more.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • cosy little murder mystery

  • By niamh bonner on 07-03-19

Murder in Yummy Mummy-land.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-03-19

This book has entertained me through several hours of driving and housework. It was well written and well paced and I loved the picture the author painted of up-market Dulwich, with its Yummy Mummies and valuable real estate.

Beth Haldane is a young mum whose husband had sadly, died young. She has one son, Ben, still in primary school, and has just landed herself the job of archivist at the prestigious secondary school, Wyatt's. Her boss turns out to be a lecherous old man, unpopular amongst the other staff and seemingly lacking in social graces.
When events lead to her becoming the prime suspect in a murder, she decides the police need a bit of help, before she finds herself behind bars and her young son loses his mother.

I liked that Beth's motive for becoming a sleuth, was believable. I also identified with her as being a little out of the 'cool' group and a bit insecure. Her friend, Kate, was a great sounding block for her investigations and a good friend too.
There's a bit of a potential romance, but given that this is the first of a series, there is plenty of time for that to develop, or not.

Well read by Alex Lee, who did a good job on both male and female characters.
I look forward to reading/listening to further episodes in this series.

  • Harriet’s Big Fat Wedding Blunder

  • A Romantic Comedy
  • By: Lynda Renham
  • Narrated by: Rosie Akerman
  • Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

On arriving home after a friend’s posh wedding, launderette worker Harriet finds her flat has been ransacked and her boyfriend is missing. Shortly afterward, she is harassed by East End gangsters and upper-crust aristocrats. Accepting an offer she can’t refuse, Harriet, against her better judgement, becomes the fiancée of the wealthy Hamilton Lancaster, with dire consequences. What she had not bargained on was meeting Doctor Brice Edmunds.   

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hilarious story - totally recommend!

  • By Liz Rev on 09-02-19

Harriet fumbles through.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-03-19

If you love Chick-Lit and you laugh out load at comedy novels, then this is the book (or audio) for your summer holiday.

Harriet is a lovable Battersea girl, all rough edges and self-deprecation. She works as a laundrette manager to make money for her medical studies and has a low-life of a boyfriend, Julian. When he lets her down big time, Harriet finds herself saddled with a huge debt and no way of paying it off.
She receives 'An offer she can't refuse' and her ensuing adventures feature gangsters, engagement to a wealthy creep, inviting her wacky family to a large country mansion and, of course, romance.

I have yet to find a book that actually makes me laugh out loud. I can cry buckets, but for some reason I never laugh. So, to say this book made me smile, is probably a good sign. Yes, it was a bit exasperating, but I was forewarned by the title. The ending was a bit predictable, but the way it came about was definitely original.

I wasn't really a fan of the narration, although Rosie Akerman has been praised by other reviewers, I found her male voices unconvincing - with the exception of her sexy Bryce voice. She did a good job with the accents though, so credit where credit's due.

All in all, a good romp, something to take your mind off your own troubles for a few hours.

  • Beyond the Cabin

  • By: Jared Nathan Garrett
  • Narrated by: Bill Nevitt
  • Length: 10 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8

Born into a controlling, abusive cult and betrayed by those he trusted, Josh hungers for freedom from the Fundamental Faith in God. After his first escape attempt fails, Josh takes even more solace in a rustic cabin he and his oldest brother made, finding peace in isolation. After unspeakable tragedy strikes, Josh flounders for hope and anything that will soften the grief threatening to destroy him.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The cult: should I stay or should I go now?

  • By Timi on 20-02-19

Life in a cult.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-02-19

Although published as a novel, this book is the semi-autobiographical account of the author's upbringing in a breakaway (from Scientology) cult. His mother is the cult leader but doesn't show any love her children. Discipline consists of a huge amount of chores and lines, often directed at the wrong child. Severe beatings also take place, but the children hide their bruises through some feeling of shame or protection of the perpetrator.

Josh is fourteen when his older brother decides he's had enough and leaves without warning. Josh feels betrayed and angry. They had been building a cabin in the woods and this becomes a place of refuge for Josh. Although he lives in a house full of children, he doesn't have any close friends and seems to be constantly at loggerheads with the other boys. Which brings me to my main gripe with the book - the inane conversation between the boys; which seemed to consist of a huge number of insults such as 'jerk', 'moron' and 'idiot'. As the author is writing from his own experience I can only assume that this reflected the level of conversation, but it did make for irritating reading.

As a bird's eye view of life in a cult this was definitely disturbing. The boys pretty much raise themselves, while the older girls become mothers to the younger ones. The children are desperate for love and attention and there is only one adult who shows any level of care at all. The children are educated by the adults who are less effective at begging for funds on the streets; even the teacher herself, didn't understand algebra.

Thankfully, the author is now happily married with a family of his own, but in an interview he does admit that his upbringing has left scars. He tries to show his children infinite love, rejecting the role model of his own childhood.

Finally, I was listening to the audiobook and I should make a mention of the narration by Bill Nevitt, who managed to do the girls voices as well as the boys, without sounding forced.

  • Tastes Like Murder

  • Cookies & Chance Mysteries, Book 1
  • By: Catherine Bruns
  • Narrated by: Karen Rose Richter
  • Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3

Sally Muccio's had her crosses to bear: a cheating ex-boyfriend, crazy Italian parents, and an unfaithful husband, just to name a few. After her divorce, she returns to her hometown to start a novelty cookie shop whose specialties include original fortune cookies, served with a sprinkle of foreshadowing. But there's no warning when her ex-husband's mistress drops dead on Sal's porch, and police confirm it's a homicide. Determined to stop her life from becoming a recipe for disaster, Sal takes matters into her own hands.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Cosy mystery.

  • By DubaiReader on 27-01-19

Cosy mystery.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-01-19

This was an entertaining, light-weight listen, for lovers of cosy mysteries. I enjoyed the narration by Karen Rose Richter, who managed managed male and female voices equally well.

Sally Muccio (Sal) has returned to her home town to open up a cookie shop with her best friend Josie Sullivan. She has left behind a loser of a husband and is ready to make a new start. Unfortunately her ex-husband's lover is set on making problems for Sal, ultimately falling dead on her doorstep. Sal feels compelled to find out why Amanda died, before her business collapses under suspicion that her cookies were responsible.

There are some real quirky characters in here. Sal's family are nuts; her mother thinks she's still a teenager and dresses appropriately, and her father is obsessed by death, funerals and coffins. An elderly neighbour is constantly rude, for no apparent reason. Thank goodness for the wise old grandmother who holds them all together.
To add interest, two sexy men are chasing Sal, an ex boyfriend, and a dashing policeman, who will she go out to dinner with?

A fun listen, got the ironing done with a smile on my face :)

  • Brass in Pocket: Inspector Drake Mystery (Volume 1)

  • By: Stephen Puleston
  • Narrated by: Richard Elfyn
  • Length: 10 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 26

Two traffic officers are killed on an isolated mountain pass in North Wales. Inspector Drake is called to the scene and quickly discovers a message left by the killer - traffic cones in the shape of a number four. The killer starts sending the Wales Police Service lyrics from famous rock songs. Are they messages, or is there some hidden meaning in them? Does it all mean more killings are likely?  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining story and great narration

  • By Anonymous User on 14-11-18

Numbers and song titles...

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-01-19


Having enjoyed Stephen Puleston's prequel, The Devil's Kitchen, I was looking forward to following Inspector Drake and his assistant, Ceren Waits, as they embark on a full length investigation. I was not disappointed at all, and Richard Elfyn again added a dimension, with the narration and his lovable Welsh accent. Some of these place names would have been massacred in my head, had I tried to read them.

The book starts with us in the murderer's shoes, as he stalks two police officers through the Welsh countryside and into the mountains. Drake is soon alerted to the murders of the two officers, and he and Ceren rush to the scene to find that they have been murdered by a crossbow, and traffic cones have been left in the shape of a number four. When a politician is murdered soon after, the suggestion is made that the number four is a prediction of the number of intended murders. Drake and Ceren are now under pressure to solve the crime before the target is reached.
As well as the numbers, the killer complicates the investigation by sending song lyrics after each murder. Surely this is a clue, but what does it signify?

An enjoyable listen that kept my interest. Atmospheric, with description of the Welsh countryside, but a little annoying when Drake's OCD is referred to repeatedly and his constant need to play Sudoku puzzles to calm his nerves, becomes irritating. Thankfully I don't have to live with him!

  • No Conscience

  • By: Phil M. Williams
  • Narrated by: GraceWright Productions, Tristan Wright, Sarah Grace Wright
  • Length: 7 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1

There’s something wrong with this family. Mary Shaw’s the doting mother, showering her children with gifts from the heart and the pocketbook. Wes Shaw’s different than his siblings - darker, awkward, the perpetual ne’er-do-well. The Shaws have survived divorce and death, but something sinister is in their midst. The truth threatens to tear them apart. The lies threaten to tear them apart. There’s no neutral ground, no place to hide. Ultimately, each family member must make a choice with irreversible consequences.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The dark side of a family.

  • By DubaiReader on 02-11-18

The dark side of a family.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-11-18

This book was something of a slow burner, but it built to an interesting narrative and had some great lurking secrets. Poor Wes Shaw is such a victim, always on the receiving end. I really felt for him, while at the same time wanting to give him a push in the right direction (kick up the backside!). His mad-cap family were hard work, not at all a comfortable crowd to be around.

I don't want to give too much away and spoil the story, so it's a bit hard to review this book. I would say that it would be advisable not to read any more reviews as many of them do give away too much.

There are a couple of sexually descriptive chapters, which would normally put me off, but in fact they were lighthearted, even comedic, and that seemed to make it OK.

The narration of the audio version was excellent, with Sarah Grace Wright playing the female parts and Tristan Wright playing the men, which meant I never had to listen to squeaky females or deep-voiced women. I wish more books would be narrated in this way.
My only problem was was that although I was listening to an excellently narrated audio copy, the chapter where we meet everyone at a family party was just too full-on to assimilate. It's not possible to rewind an audiobook while driving, but even after I'd listened to that chapter again, I was still a bit confused as to who was who and where the grudges lay.

The ending did leave a few things unresolved, maybe a bit frustrating, maybe true to life. You can draw your own conclusions.
I shouldn't have had this on the tbr for so long, I'm glad I finally brought it to the top.

  • Lost & Found: A humorous private investigator murder mystery

  • A Daisy Dunlop Mystery, Book 2
  • By: JL Simpson
  • Narrated by: Diana Croft
  • Length: 9 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 11

Hot on the success of her first case, British female sleuth Daisy Dunlop can count the offers of work on one finger. An empty bank account and the need to prove to her business partner, private investigator Solomon Liffey, that she is an asset, not a liability, calls for drastic measures. Terror has to be overcome as she answers a plea to find the one thing that gives her night sweats and flashbacks. An animal. A missing stud poodle, to be exact.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fun murder mystery

  • By SandraL on 08-10-18

A rollicking romp.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-10-18

This was fun! Certainly not the most in-depth book I've ever read, but an enjoyable romp with entertaining characters and brilliantly narrated by Diana Croft.

Daisy Dunlop is a nutty private investigator along the lines of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum. She has teamed up with her husband's best mate, Solomon, to work on a case that involves a missing poodle. Suffice to say she is petrified by dogs.
The interaction between Daisy and Solomon forms a large part of the book, they are not involved with one another; Daisy is madly in love with her husband Paul, but they seem to manage to get into rather a lot of compromising situations.

Other characters are less detailed and some of those involved with the crime became rather a cast of thousands for me. The crime itself trundles along at a steady pace but then we suddenly get an overload of information which was rather confusing on audio as it's so difficult to rewind when driving etc. This aside, I enjoyed the narrative and the excellent narration and would certainly consider listening to the first book. Hopefully the third book will also be available on audio at a later date.