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by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

January 13, 2022

5 Audiobooks to Help You Read More Books

by Donna Huber

Is one of your New Year's resolutions to read more books? I greatly exceeded my reading goal last year because I increased the number of audiobooks I was listening to. I was already listening to audiobooks while working, but I made a point of instead of having the TV playing in the background, I would listen to a book while I cleaned the house, cooked dinner, etc. It's amazing how many hours a day you can fit in an audiobook. If you are wanting to give audiobooks a chance, I have a few you might want to give a try.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free audiobooks were provided for an honest review.

Prior Violations by Jonathan Macpherson

Prior Violations
December 2021; Indie; B09NC7W4Q6
audio (1h 38 m), ebook, print; thriller

After reviewing Outback Creed (read my review), the author Jonathan Macpherson offered me his new prequel novella for review. Prior Violations is a short story with a lot packed into it. The audiobook is only about 1.5 hours. This book is great for a commute.

It is still a fast-paced suspense story, but the cast is smaller so it was easier to keep everyone straight. If you read my review of his other book, you know I struggled with the large cast. I haven't read Brazen Violations, but I felt like the prequel was a good introduction to the characters.

I liked the main character, Mitch Walker. He is a sympathetic character that feels like a real person. I look forward to reading Brazen Violations just to learn more about him.

If you are wanting an action-packed, but quick to read, story, then this is the book to pick up.

Buy Prior Violations at Amazon

A Deception Most Deadly by Genevieve Essig

A Deception Most Deadly
January 2022; Bookouture; 9781803141510
audio (11h 3m), ebook, print; cozy mystery

I love cozy mysteries and they are one of the easiest genres to listen to on audiobook. You can get mildly distracted while listening and typically not get lost in the story.

A Deception Most Deadly is the first book in Genevieve Essig debut series. The series title character Cassie Gwynne is looking for a fresh start when she relocates to Florida to live with an aunt.

The book is set in 1883. This isn't a time period I read a lot in, but I've enjoyed a few cozy mysteries lately sent in the late 1800s that I've really enjoyed. I don't know a lot about Florida's history. At this point in time, it has been a state for less than 40 years. It was a lot more southern than I thought it was. I don't care for southern fiction and this book did have a little bit of a southern fiction flavor.  So I had a little trouble getting into the story, but once the mystery took over I found myself really enjoying it.

I liked Cassie and can see her having a great growth arc through the series as she tried to find herself. It's been a while since I read Frances McNamara's Death of at the Paris Exposition but A Deception Most Deadly brought that book to mind as somewhat similar.

I'm not sure if this series is going to be a must read for me - because of the time period and the southern fiction vibe. But I would definitely like to give a second book a try as I really liked the characters - Aunt Flora is a hoot and seems like a handful. So I would love to spend more time with them.

I enjoy Bookouture's cozy mysteries - I read several of the series they publish - but this is the first time I listened to one of their audiobooks. Lauryn Allman, the narrator, does an excellent job. Each character had their own unique voice so I never had to guess as to who was who. the whole production was well done and added another dimension to the characters.

The Mitford Vanishing by Jessica Fellowes

The Mitford Vanishing
January 2022; Macmillan Audio; 9781250846129
audio (10h 2m), ebook, print; historical mystery

The Mitford Vanishing
 is the fifth book in the Mitford Murders series, but it is the first book in the series that I have read. In Touch Weekly describes it as Downton Abbey meets Agatha Christie, so I couldn't pass it up. Also, the cover reminded me of another cozy series - Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series. 

I did have some trouble keeping all the Mitford daughters straight. I take it that each book focuses on a different daughter in some way. But other than struggling with the daughters, I don't think it is necessary to have read the other books in the series. Though after reading this one, you will probably want to go back and pick them up - I know I do. 

It is set in 1937 - my favorite time period. The daughters are somehow connected to all the important people of this time period, like Winston Churchill, Hitler, Oswald Mosley, etc. I don't know a lot about the Spanish Civil War that occurred during this period so I liked that it was part of the plot.

I love the private detective husband/wife team of Louisa and Guy. I love that Guy truly loves having his wife working with him - even though he worries about her safety. 

The mystery was interesting - it is apparently based on a real-life murder. There are two plot threads that weave together making this story a bit more complicated than your average cozy so you will want to limit distractions to get the full enjoyment. Otherwise, the audiobook is well down. I enjoyed the narrator Rachel Atkins reading of the book.

Fans of Winspear's series will want to read this series.

Buy The Mitford Vanishing at Amazon

Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka

Notes on an Execution
January 2022; HarperAudio; 9780063052765
audio (9h 42m), ebook, print; psychological thriller

Several years ago I read Kukafka's debut novel Girl in Snow (read my review). While I loved the mystery something about the characters didn't sit well with me. But it was different and Kukafka's writing was so good with all the twists and turns. I definitely wanted to give her sophomore book a try.

Notes on an Execution was definitely a page turner. I loved the structure of the story. Ansel Packer is scheduled to be executed in 12 hours and the chapters that are present-day and from his POV count down the hours. In alternating chapters, the reader is transported back to the start of his life and the story is told from the POV of women who had a significant impact on his life - his mother, his first crush, and the sister of his wife. The back and forth between the past and the present really ramped up the tension. 

I liked that there was as much, if not more, focus on these women. Have you noticed that society will remember a serial killer's name but can't remember the name of a single victim? So while we do get to know Ansel through these women, I didn't feel like that was the sole purpose of their chapters. We get to know the woman - they are fully fleshed out characters with regrets, hopes, and dreams.

I'm glad I listened to most of this audiobook at home as I found myself so sucked into the story that whatever else I was doing would fall by the wayside. 

My only complaint about the story is how it ended. I would have preferred if it had ended with the final minutes of Ansel's life. Instead, there is an epilogue of sorts. I felt like it changed the tone of the book or something. I can't quite put my finger on why I didn't like it. But I loved everything about the book up to that point.

If you want a completely entertaining, all-consuming book to read, then this is it. The audiobook was easy to follow. Even with the back and forth in the timeline and the changing character focus, I had no problem following the story. 

Buy Notes on an Execution at Amazon

Easter Bonnet Murder by Leslie Meir

Easter Bonnet Murder
January 2022; Dreamscape Media; 9781666527674
audio (8h 16m), ebook, print; cozy mystery

A couple of years ago I read a short story Christmas sampler of cozy mysteries. One of the stories included was from Leslie Meir's Lucy Stone Mystery series. I haven't read any of the other books in the series. As this is book 28 in that series, I hoped it was one that I could pick up anywhere in the series and be okay.

There isn't a lot of background given for any of the characters upfront so I kind of had to fumble through the first few chapters trying to figure out who was who. I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy the book because there was nothing connecting me to the characters. This series might be one where you at least need to have read the first book or so first, but I hang in there and found myself enjoying the characters and the mystery.

I liked that Lucy is married and a mother. I haven't read too many present-day cozy mysteries that stars such a character. I think the turning point of the book, the moment I connected to Lucy, was the scene where she is taking her daughter apartment hunting. It was something natural and typical of a parent.

An assisted living facility is always an entertaining setting for a cozy mystery. The characters living there can be eccentric while still being believable. And there are some colorful characters in this book.

There are a lot of characters which can be cumbersome when listening to an audiobook but I didn't struggle. Karen White did a great job giving each character a unique voice.

If you haven't read the series and you can, I think you should probably at least read book 1 in this series, but if you want to jump in with this book like I did, you will still find it enjoyable. The tone of the story reminded me of Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swensen series. So if you are looking for a similar series, you should try Meir's Lucy Stone series.

Buy Easter Bonnet Murder at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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