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Covey and JayJay Get Educated

Covey Jencks Mysteries, Book 2
Narrated by: Kathy James
Series: Covey Jencks Mysteries, Book 2
Length: 5 hrs and 40 mins

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Summary

Amateur detectives, Covey Jencks and JayJay Qualls, set out to solve a triple murder and encounter a White Nationalist conspiracy.

©2019 Shelton Williams (P)2020 Shelton Williams

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Haley
  • Haley
  • 20-05-20

Review from The Page Unbound

This sequel, Covey and JayJay Get Educated, picks up with the unfortunate death of Covey’s friend. To pay respects and get a few answers, Covey and JayJay go to West Waverly in Texas. This search for answers, however, seems to draw out even more questions and very questionable characters. I received this book in the form of an audiobook. It’s become a wonderful way to listen and complete tasks in a breeze. In my case, I enjoyed drawing and getting inspiration from these audible pages. For this audiobook, it was narrated by Kathy James. Her style of reading is unique in its clear and well enunciated words. This book does favor having more than one dialogue and at times I had trouble determining which I was hearing. I would have enjoyed some differential accents, tone, or speed to help with these changes. The original speed of this audiobook was a bit fast for me as well. Of course, this was easy enough to slow down in audible and once I was more grounded in the story, I switched it back. James does excel in the side stories and plots that take place as Covey and JayJay investigate. She seemingly draws out these digressions in one fell swoop and quickly moves along to the story. It did help bring back the focus to the main plot. The book is vast in its characters and detailed backstories. While I’m not one to write down characters and who they were, I did at times have to backtrack and pause my recording to remember. Of course, with a variety of characters, comes the subtle clues to help piece together this mystery. Let’s talk about the mystery! There are many. Hidden plots unfold in this story and make it a tangled web of complicated relationships and nefarious people. The characters are what really stood out most for me. From the first encounters with the people in West Waverly, there seems to be much more than meets the eye. Covey and JayJay’s relationship is great as well. They are affectionate, trusting, and independent. While they tease each other, their comfortable way of being together was well written throughout the book. Despite introducing each other as friends, they do seem to have no shame in defending each other and being close at times. This does bring up other subplots of the book. The setting of the book revolves mainly around Baker College, a liberal arts institution with religious ties. West Waverly, I will note is all fictional, also has many people that haven’t seen any need to open their minds to outward thinking. In short; prejudice, racism, and homophobia are present in the town and characters (along with the murders of course). Lovely fictional town to visit right? JayJay is an African American woman who does encounter the odd comment and compliment that seems just as confrontational. It’s here that I’ll say she is a badass. Putting aside her crime fighting skills, is a talented, cool headed, and well rounded character. Her points of view are witty and earnest in helping solve these murders. The interactions with other characters could be quite funny as she would work her way to getting the truth out of them. Covey, at times, seemed to be the sidekick to their duo. Overall, I enjoyed listening to this book. While a fairly short listen, there’s a lot this book has to give. Shelton L. Williams has some truly funny and well-hearted scenes that make this a great read for many out there. Feel free to scroll down and enter the giveaway to win your own copies of the books!

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Jenn Z @ That's What She's Reading
  • Jenn Z @ That's What She's Reading
  • 19-05-20

Mystery that packs a powerful punch!

After promoting the first book some time ago, I got my first introduction to Covey Jencks when I read this one in its physical format last year. While I don't usually choose audio books as a format to read, I'm always looking for chances to check them out. I used them a lot while traveling back and forth in the Army, but it really doesn't work out well for me now. With three young children at home, it's difficult to listen to audio books without being interrupted. Completing this one took a long time despite its short length, so I'm glad that I had already read it with my eyes last year. Everything was still so familiar, making it an enjoyable experience to return to it as someone else read it to me. I'm not completely ready to incorporate more audio books into my life right now, but I'm certainly happy that I had the opportunity to do so for a little while with this book. "'What is it with you, Covey Jencks? Does everyone you know get murdered?'" Though this is the second book, I never felt that I was missing anything. The author has created a richly drawn cast of characters that truly comes to life off the page. Whether you end up liking them or not, each character is so well developed that personalities and idiosyncrasies shine through. Alternating chapters give readers insight into both Covey and JayJay's frame of minds, while adding many layers to the evolving mystery surrounding multiple murders. Offering perspectives of life within Odessa in the 1990s, a wealthy liberal arts college on the cusp of welcoming diversity is certainly at odds with much of the small-mindedness and extremism found within its rural West Texas residents. But as the author reminds us, universities are not ivory towers, and they are also ripe with negativity within their own spheres of influence. It was entertaining to see just how corrupt and damaging these forces became and definitely not something that I saw coming! "'Bitter almonds, Covey. Bitter almonds! It's like a friggin' Agatha Christie novel. Can you believe it?'" The author's storytelling paints a vivid tale that is both compelling and relevant, yet calls to mind the classic murder mysteries that it references. So many interesting twists shift the direction of the case and provide Covey and JayJay with the ability to use their strengths to home in on making the connections that lead them to such surprising revelations. While their passionate pursuit to solve these cases drives the story, this is very much an engaging character study focusing on a time not too far removed from our own social and political climate. Overall, this is a tightly woven tale that packs a powerful punch and highlights just how much our past is often our future. In terms of the audio book experience, the same narrator is used from the previous installment of the series. Despite this book being told largely from a male's perspective, the choice of a female narrator never bothered me. I thought perhaps there would be some distinction when genders switched; however, that really didn't happen. I don't go into audio books with a performance in mind, but had I not read this one before, I would have had a difficult time understanding the nuances of all the dynamic characters captured within the text. There were some slight and subtle inflections, but this wasn't enough in my opinion especially with some of the more intense and engaging scenes. The rhythm of the reading maintained a similar cadence throughout that just didn't work when the energy picked up. Whether detailing description, being in the middle of a protest, or witnessing the murder reveal, the tone always felt the same. The sarcasm was never lost; however, I wanted more emotion to express the more spirited and singular moments featured in the text. The sound quality is great. I listened at 1.25 speed because anything lower seemed a bit too slow, while anything higher came across as too frenetic. I would like to see file naming conventions match the actual chapter titles in order to make linking up much easier if you to pick up the book to read on your own,but that's completely a personal preference given my situation and is most likely not an issue for readers who are audio book aficionados. From my review of the print edition, I noted that though I am not one who is overly bothered by editing and formatting issues, I would be remiss to not mention that the print edition failed to provide distinction to a few chapter headings as the novel came to completion. Even the table of contents provided at the beginning makes these same mistakes. While I can look past this even within a final copy, this will definitely be a problem for other readers, which I can appreciate and understand. The audio book eliminates this issue completely, as the narrator states each chapter heading and title. You can't go wrong with either, so choose what works best for your reading pleasure and pick one up today! Many thanks to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and the author for providing me with a free copy of both the physical book and the audio book. This is my honest and thoughtful review.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lorilei Gonzales
  • 14-05-20

This sequel is even better than the first one!

Covey and JayJay Get Educated, by Shelton L. Williams is the second book in the Covey Jencks series. I listened to the first book a little over a year ago and remember very much enjoying the story and getting a kick out of the narrator, Kathy James. I think the characters are what I enjoyed most in this book, especially JayJay. I loved how fearless she was and how she handled herself in any situation. I can’t remember if I had similar feelings while reading the other book, but I thought that Williams writes women very well. I got the feeling that he likes writing about them more than he likes writing about men; which is funny since the series is named after the main character who is a man. The dialogue was fantastic throughout but my favorite moments took place in Covey’s office. Something about office banter really appeals to my sense of humor. But funniness aside, I was really impressed with how Williams handles the weight of social injustice and political corruption. I sometimes wonder about authors who choose seemingly random time periods for their backdrop, but in this case it works really well - especially when you take into consideration that times haven’t changed much since then. I think that setting the story in the past makes the theme come across less preachy and maybe creates a distance that feels safer for the reader. On a lighter note, I’m a big fan of alternate histories or fictional works that briefly feature real people. While I enjoyed this story even more than the first book, the narrator just did not do it for me this time around. I felt like the sauciness of some of the characters couldn’t shine through because of how robotic James speaks in this book. She also was not consistent with differentiating between different characters. Aside from some editing that felt a little choppy and overlapped like radio infomercials, the production quality was good. However, my final impression was that maybe she did not have time to pre-read the book or re-record sections. Overall, I recommend this audiobook to anyone who likes a good, smart mystery. You don’t have to read or listen to the first book to enjoy it either. I look forward to the next adventure with Covey and JayJay.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lynn
  • Lynn
  • 08-05-20

Excellent plotting, mystery, history, and humor

Audio books have always been a great distraction for me while exercising and Covey and JayJay Get Educated was fantastic at providing me something else to focus on while I put one foot in front of the other. It’s not too long (under 6 hours); the narration is easy on the ears; and there is some mystery, some history, and some whimsy. Covey and JayJay Get Educated is set in 1996/1997 but could easily take place today. I found I had to often remind myself that Covey and JayJay aren’t traipsing through Texas in 2020! (The Yahoo and AltaVista comments from law office manager M.A. does offer a hilarious reminder of the past!) Some of the plot points which could easily be topics in books set today include white nationalism, bigotry, homophobia, and protesting by college students. The novel is enjoyable to read. Mr. Williams is skillful with his plotting, interspersing murder and history throughout the novel. The various mystery plots are full of red herrings as well. I fell for every mis-direct and had no idea who the killer (or killers!?!) were by the end of the novel. The story is told from both Covey’s and JayJay’s points of view. Seeing the story unfold from both characters really enhances the novel. JayJay’s chapters are some of my favorite in the novel. Her point of view is just as crucial to the story as Covey’s. She is funny and honest and tells it like it is. She even has some serious self-defense skills! Of the two main characters, I honestly identify with Covey’s character. Not so much the lawyer part, but his personality is a sure match for mine. I love his groan-worthy dad jokes and his thoughts on cell phones and e-books, Covey says: What an outrageous idea! I want a book or a newspaper in my hands. I want ink stains, corners to fold down, and bookshelves to fill. I completely remember thinking the same thing about e-books when I first heard about them. Who wants to read on a digital format when you could have a physical book? Hopefully by now, like me, Covey has come around to the wonder that is carrying around hundreds of books on your phone! While it is not necessary to read the first novel in the series to read the second, do yourself a favor and check out both books! I highly recommend Covey and JayJay Get Educated for anyone looking for some amateur sleuthing and first-rate plotting. About the Narration: This is my first time listening to Ms. James’s narration. Her reading is clear and concise. The dialog between characters is somewhat clipped. However, this made it easier to differentiate the dialog from the remainder of the novel. Covey and JayJay have distinct voices. The secondary characters were not as easy to distinguish, but I did not have any issues understanding or following along with the story. The audio production is clean with no technical issues. I read the first novel in the series and listened to the second novel. Both modes of reading worked for me. Pick one or the other (or both!) when checking out this series for yourself.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • FinnsNana
  • 07-07-20

Clever novel, lousy reader

The content is quite interesting and the characters well developed. The reader, once again, is awful. There is no predictable variation in her voice as she voices Covey and Jayjay let alone any of the others. She mispronounces occasionally but mostly is like listening to your aunt read from a magazine.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Hall Ways
  • 07-05-20

The pages fly by as the action unfolds

Audio Book / Print Combo Review: Covey and JayJay are back to their amateur-sleuthing best in Covey and JayJay Get Educated, the second book of the Covey Jencks series. Though it’s not necessary to read book one to enjoy this book, I highly recommend it for the background and to get better acquainted with the couple and the Jencks law firm team in Odessa. Talk about a rich cast of characters! In this installment, the story takes place away from Odessa, the home base for Covey’s law firm, and primarily in New Waverly, Texas, a fictitious college town built around a fictitious liberal arts college. But take note of that Educated part of the book’s title: there is a lot of truth and history packed inside this story. As was the case with Covey Jencks, I read Educated with both my eyes and ears; however, I read the print version about four months ago. A lot has changed in the real world since then with the onslaught of COVID-19, and I found that my reaction to the story was dramatically different the second time around. The multiple plot lines mostly revolve around ugly parts of humanity: white nationalism, racism, homophobia, corruption. Oh, and hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. The book is set in the 1990s, and it’s loaded with lessons in political and social history, which reminds readers that what is now always has been and will likely always be. Covey’s observations and concerns are our own (well, my own anyhow. Sadly, there’s a huge population of people who would bristle at the notion that white nationalism is a bad thing. I digress.). And there’s no doubt, ever, about what Covey is thinking; readers are in his head with him as he reflects, ruminates, and evaluates. Happily, inside the head of Covey Jencks is a great place to be and BONUS! In this book, readers spend a lot of time inside JayJay’s head, too. These two are what keep the heaviness at bay with their cleverness, humor, and observations of people and situations. Add to the mix their relationship, which is filled with love, respect, and admiration, and author Shelton Williams gives readers a winning combination and a much-needed balance to those aforementioned uglies. “He collected hatreds the way teenagers harbor Star Wars cards: acquire the latest ones, keep them in mint condition, and never forget their origin story.” One of the vehicles Williams uses to acquaint readers with characters is to give full profiles of each as they become central to the story. We get the roots and depths of the evil; we get the impact of their disappointments; and most importantly, we get the effects of negative influences and unreasonable expectations. These detailed backgrounds and stories flesh-out the players in an efficient way so that readers can see what factors may have played a role in building these personalities. Instead of feeling like an info dump, this tool works because it fits with Covey’s thinking style and seems a natural way he’d share information. The result is readers get a bunch of fascinating, entertaining, and revelatory side-stories in compact little bundles. In Covey and JayJay Get Educated, the pages fly by as the action unfolds. It’s a fast read at around 200 pages (with lots of white space), and the audio comes in at just over 5 ½ hours -- about half the run-time of many novels. I said it with book one, and I’ll say it again with book two: don’t be fooled by the white space or brevity. Yes, they allow for a quick and satisfying hit of mystery and humor, but jammed in those pages is also cerebral and thought-provoking content. Amazingly and masterfully, author Shelton Williams detangles the plethora of plot threads and ties up the loose ends, leaving readers satisfied – but with our interest piqued by the hint of another adventure in store for Covey and JayJay. I’ll be there for it! This duo just keeps getting better. ABOUT THE NARRATION: Kathy James is back as narrator, and she gives an even delivery and speaks clearly with warmth and just a slight hint of sarcasm in her tone – perfect for both Covey’s and JayJay’s personalities. There are no technical issues with this high-quality recording. It’s been a while since I listened to her narrate the first book, but for this book, it’s more like a book being read aloud than a performance. There is some expression in James’s voicing of JayJay, and her best character was Annette, who sounds like the Texan she is! (More, please!) I did have some difficulty distinguishing between characters during scenes with dialogue, and there were several mispronounced words that caught my ear. While I enjoy the freedom afforded by reading with my ears, I am glad I had read this book in print first, and I would recommend that or a reading/listening combination to best enjoy the nuances of the intricate plots. Thank you to the author and Lone Star Book Blog Tours for providing me an Audible download in exchange for my honest opinion.