Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Sophia Rose Review: A Quiet Life in the Country by T.E. Kinsey, Narrated by Elizabeth Knowelden

Posted March 22, 2019 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 10 Comments

Sophia Rose Review: A Quiet Life in the Country by T.E. Kinsey, Narrated by Elizabeth KnoweldenA Quiet Life in the Country by T E Kinsey, Elizabeth Knowelden
Narrator: Elizabeth Knowelden
Length: 7 hours 43 minutes
Series: Lady Hardcastle Mysteries #1
Published by Brilliance Audio on October 4, 2016
Genres: Historical Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

7 hours and 43 minutes
A Lady Hardcastle Mystery, Book 1
Lady Emily Hardcastle is an eccentric widow with a secret past. Florence Armstrong, her maid and confidante, is an expert in martial arts. The year is 1908 and they've just moved from London to the country, hoping for a quiet life.
But it is not long before Lady Hardcastle is forced out of her self-imposed retirement. There's a dead body in the woods, and the police are on the wrong scent. Lady Hardcastle makes some enquiries of her own, and it seems she knows a surprising amount about crime investigation...
As Lady Hardcastle and Flo delve deeper into rural rivalries and resentment, they uncover a web of intrigue that extends far beyond the village. With almost no one free from suspicion, they can be certain of only one fact: there is no such thing as a quiet life in the country.
©2016 T E Kinsey. (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
Listening Length: 7 hours and 43 minutes

I started with book three in this series, progressed forward, and finally took the opportunity to go back and get the first book in the series. The cozy mystery paired with historical Edwardian setting was light and whimsical.

Actually, when I started listening, I realized that the first book introduced Lady Hardcastle and her ladies’ maid, Florence Armstrong along with their new home and the other regular characters, in such a way that it didn’t feel like the first book so much as the first of the stories that had been recorded. There are hints of their unusual, dangerous work abroad and no big explanation why the pair happened to be set upon ‘a quiet life in the country’ or why Lady Hardcastle and Florence have a relationship that is nearly family rather than an employer and servant from separate classes. The author trickles out the details and the reader/listener must catch them and piece them together as they go. Because I had experienced later books, those pieces stuck out easily to me. The meeting with Inspector Sunderland and the local villagers and neighborhood was fun. I do enjoy the amusing banter between the two women and hints of darker matters and sorrow from their shared past.

There are two murder mysteries that have interesting crossover people and facts. One seems to involve a dead man from the village cricket team whose death was meant to appear like a suicide and then later, the death of a rag-time band trumpeteer that played at the engagement party of the local squire’s daughter. A theft is tossed in for good measure.

I figured out one of the murders and part of the theft and the second murder, but the ultimate solution took me by surprise. Loved seeing the intrepid Flo able to get in some of her martial arts ability, use her cache of being a member of the serving class to get their help and take on things, and spend time trailing along as her ladyship teased out the solution alongside Inspector Sunderland using old fashioned detection methods.

Elizabeth Knowelden is an absolute gem of a narrator and the voice of this series for me. She laid out the Edwardian country village world, the variety of genders and accents, and kept the pace and tone for this series just right.

All in all, I thought this first entry was as fabulous as the later books and do not hesitate to put it out there as a good bet for historical cozy mystery lovers.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: Hounded by Kevin Hearne, Luke Daniels

Posted April 12, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 17 Comments

Review: Hounded by Kevin Hearne, Luke DanielsHounded by Kevin Hearne
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Length: 8 hrs and 11 mins
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles, #1
Published by Brilliance Audio on April 19, 2011
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: Audiobook
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:one-half-flames

8 hrs and 11 mins
Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old - when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.
Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power - plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish - to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil

Atticus O’Sullivan is the last of the Druids. He seems to live mostly a peaceful life in Tempe, Arizona. He owns an occult bookshop that he also sells herbs and tea’s out of. On his spare time, he likes to shape-shift and go hunting with his Irish wolfhound. Life almost seems good, but an angry Celtic god wants his sword and he has been looking for Atticus for a while. Suddenly, people are showing up to try and kill him to get the sword back and Atticus needs to put this fight behind him ones and for all.

I listened to this on audio and oh wow, wow. I wish I did that sooner. I did have a physical copy of this book for a long time, I picked it up, but my attention strayed and I had to put it down. On audiobook, this series is a gem, Luke Daniels is a fantastic narrator. He just really brings Atticus and Oberon to life and makes you fall in love with them and the story. I found myself invested and it became such an addictive read. I have not had a lot of books where the audiobook enhances the series, so if you thought about trying this one out, I strongly suggest you give a shot. It was such a great experience.

I loved Atticus, and I loved Oberon his dog. The relationship is just so much fun, and the humor in this book is fantastic. I had the hardest time walking away from this book and I wanted to know what happened next.

There is a lot going on in this book with a wide array of characters but Luke Daniels does a wonderful job keeping them apart. I absolutely adored the fact that he used Celtic mythology in this, it’s just so refreshing and different for me.

Overall, I am not completely in love with this series. I highly recommend it on audio, because the narrator does a fantastic job and the story is just so much fun with a brilliant cast of characters. Already on to book two myself.

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Guest AudioBook Review: Year One by Nora Roberts, Narrated by Julia Whelan

Posted February 2, 2018 by Lily B in Audio, Guest Post, Reviews / 14 Comments

Good Morning/Afternoon!! Today on the site I have Sophia Rose back with an Audiobook review of Year One by Nora Roberts, Narrated by Julia Whelan. I’m so excited for Sophia’s lovely review that it has myself eager to pick up this book this month. Hope you enjoy her review and leave your thoughts below, have you read this book yourself yet?

Guest AudioBook Review: Year One by Nora Roberts, Narrated by Julia WhelanYear One by Nora Roberts, Julia Whelan
Series: Chronicles of The One, #1
Published by Brilliance Audio on December 5th 2017
Genres: Post- Apocalyptic, Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A stunning new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author?an epic of hope and horror, chaos and magic, and a journey that will unite a desperate group of people to fight the battle of their lives…
It began on New Year’s Eve.
The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed?and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.
Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river?or in the ones you know and love the most.
As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.
In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.
The end has come. The beginning comes next.
Audiobook length: 12 hours and 20 minutes

My mind just reels after finishing this book. My hands twitched to grab for more even when I knew that I would have to wait to see what comes next. One can read the blurb and see the cover and title to form certain expectations and I thought I was spot on when this one got started. But then, I realized it was something so much more. Just an astounding blend of post-apocalyptic, paranormal, mystical, and suspenseful romance.

The book opens with ground zero for what is to come. The reader is introduced to a set of characters and follows them and a plague that oozes and rushes horrendously across the world. The author’s choice in how to open this sets the tone and gives the reader the great, hideous picture of it all. World-wide death, then pandemonium, and then that something more- a darkness and a light.

The book introduces a large cast of characters who slowly start making their way in the same direction. It brings them along in paths full of danger and survival, switches to others, shows the crazed and senseless brutality, but also the hope and joy. There is much to show that no matter if the world gets a reset that humans bring their very natures right along with them.

So much is happening in this book that I can’t really summarize it. And I also don’t want to summarize so that others can experience this riveting book for themselves without losing any of the wonder and surprise, shock, and more. Some things were cut and dry and not a spoiler to say that a few rag-tag groups make it through the plague only to discover that this is just the beginning- government has collapsed, the military is herding survivors into labs and pens, evil people are on the rampage, those who are deemed different are open season, and those who just want to rebuild and start over seem to be the most vulnerable from all sides and can’t seem to catch a break for long. A prophecy promises the coming of the light bringer, but most have not heard it and the few who have are confused and can’t take it seriously. But they will when hope is at it’s lowest.

I experienced Year One as an audio so I was carried along in the talented, capably hands of Julia Whelan. Remember me mentioning a huge cast? Oh, and all those emotions and conflicts? She handled it like a pro that just gave so much more to this story than I would have got reading it for myself. It still would have been good in print, but I definitely am glad for the listening experience.

So, in the end, I was both gutted and immensely eager to press on. So many of these characters became favorites and I need to know what becomes of them and the ones I loathed as well. This will appeal to a wider range of readers since its dystopian and urban fantasy, suspenseful and romantic.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Audio Review: Death Around the Bend by TE Kinsey, Narrated by Elizabeth Knowelden

Posted July 5, 2017 by Lily B in Audio, Reviews / 24 Comments

Morning guys! Hope you grabbed your coffee because I got Sophia Rose on the blog today with another excellent review. Enjoy as she expresses her thoughts and feelings about Death Around the Bend, a cozy mystery. I personally thought it sounded so fun that I want to start this series myself <3

Audio Review: Death Around the Bend by TE Kinsey, Narrated by Elizabeth KnoweldenDeath Around the Bend by T E Kinsey
Series: Lady Hardcastle Mysteries #3
Published by Brilliance Audio on June 8th 2017
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 8 hours 36 min
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When Lady Hardcastle and her maid, Florence, are invited to Lord Riddlethorpe’s country estate for a week of motor racing and parties, they both agree it sounds like a perfectly charming holiday. But when one of the drivers dies in a crash during the very first race, they discover that what seemed like an uncharacteristic error in judgement may have a more sinister explanation . . .
Closer investigation reveals that the driver’s car was sabotaged – and the driver murdered. The local constabulary are quick to dismiss the case, but Flo and Lady Hardcastle are determined to find out just who has committed this dastardly act, and why.
As the pair begin to make enquiries of Lord Riddlethorpe’s servants and guests, it seems that, below stairs and above, there is more to this case than meets the eye. And, even in the quiet of the countryside, death is always just around the bend.

Sparkling wit, upstairs/downstairs, motor racing, country house party, and a fantastic, unique female detecting pair to make Death Around the Bend a great listen.

This is my first encounter with the series though Death Around the Bend is book three. It can easily be read/listened to standalone or out of order. I had such a good time with it that I definitely plan to go back for the first pair.

Lady Hardcastle and her ladies’ maid, Flo are a sparkling pair and I loved following along as they found their way to the solution in the country house party murder mystery. Even though this is the third book, there is a great backstory for this pair who have been together through thick and thin. Both have surprising talents that make them good detectives.

The book follows the usual style of introducing everybody, a murder, and then the slow working through to the solution. It was not a dramatic piece, but it did have the exciting climax point with a good denouement. There is also an adorable mini-mystery plot involving a ticklish problem for one of their neighbors that bookends the other mystery. Oh, and a bit of romance in the air for another side story for a few minor characters.

It was set in Edwardian Era England. I thought the story caught the tone of those times and balanced well, staying present enough to be noticed, but also not overtaking the other elements of the plot.

The cast of characters surrounding Lady Hardcastle and Flo were a great lot. There were the below stairs serving staff and the upstairs house party of the Earl and his guests.

Now the mystery itself was clever. I worked out the who and how and somewhat why out once I had enough clues, but there were a few parts that I had to wait to get until the solution was revealed.

I really only had one niggle and it was a teeny tiny one. ‘What ho!’ was often used by Lady Hardcastle so that I cringed each time Lady Hardcastle spotted Flo. I suspect it’s her signature greeting.

The narrator, Elizabeth Knowelden, was new to me. She had a great plummy English accent for the upper class characters and her voices for all the levels in the servant’s hall was superbly done. She had a huge cast to read and they were all distinct and I could easily distinguish them. She added an extra layer of goodness to an already good book. I’m pretty sure that the series would lose a little shine if I didn’t experience the rest of it with her narration.

So, all in all, this was an abso-fab story and I will definitely be getting the rest of the series. Historical mystery/cozy mystery fans should definitely give this book/series a go.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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