Narrator – Alyssa Bresnahan

Grave Surprise Written by Charlaine Harris

Read by Alyssa Bresnahan

This is not my first Charlaine Harris novel, and as I have come to expect, the writing is superb.

This is the story of Harper Connelly.  At age 15 she was struck by lightning while getting ready for a date.

It forever changed her life.  

Along with scars, headaches, muscle weakness, phobias, and other health issues making it almost impossible to get health insurance coverage, she found she could locate dead people and see how they died.

Similar to how a dog follows a person’s trail by scent, Harper feels a vibration that gets stronger the closer she is to a body.  Once she is close enough, she can see the last moments of their life, and experience some of their last thoughts and emotions.

Now in her 20’s, she and her step-brother Tolliver make a living traveling the country and using her gift to help others find peace and some resolution. 

I have to say that this book was a good reminder to me that I have MY moments when I make assumptions without even attempting to educate myself first.

And I found many interesting issues in this story to ponder.  

For instance, how often lightning survivors share similar, life altering side effects.  I never knew that!

How some people will never believe in what they cannot prove, no matter how convincing the evidence to the contrary.  Now that…I did know.

How perceptions can be misleading, and expectations wrong.  Quite often true.

How the decisions we make, don’t always get the results we anticipate.  In other words, ‘you don’t always get your way’.

And how there are people who will do just about anything, to get what they want, no matter the consequences or the people who are hurt in the process.  Can we say ‘selfish’ here?

At the end of the story I wasn’t surprised at who committed the murders, but I was surprised at the ‘why’.

And ultimately, whenever reading or listening to a mystery, it is of course nice to be surprised.  So I have to say that I was pleased on SO many levels with this story.  

And that doesn’t even count the wonderful narration by Alyssa Bresnahan.  This is my first book with this narrator, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Her portrayal is right on point of Harper’s patient resignation at the scepticism that she has to contend with each time she is successful.

The knowledge that her gift will always make her and Tolliver suspects in any crime related to the bodies they find.

How they constantly have to prove the validity of Harper’s gift, too often to people missing the capacity to accept what’s right before their eyes.

Sometimes I believe my biggest shortcoming is that I think entirely too much.  Sometimes I also believe that a lot of people don’t take the time these days to stop and think enough.

We live in a rushing world.  

Rushing to take care of our needs.

Rushing to be the first…to get our share…to not be left out.

Rushing to blame and criticise others when we don’t know the whole story.

 We all do at some point, it’s part of being human.  Not necessarily the BEST part of being human.  Yet we as humans also have the capacity to rise above our base instincts. 

Well, I loved the writing, I loved the narration, I loved the characters and the story line, and I loved being reminded to try to be a better person by not making rushed decisions.  

Whether you are looking for just a good mystery, or if you would like to read something that might make you think a little, this book could be right for you.

Happy Listening!!

Day Shift – Book Review

Day Shift – By Charlaine Harris

Narrated by Susan Bennett

I found the above Youtube video book review to be quite good.  This is of course book 2 in the Midnight TX series.  For our purposes, we will be reviewing the Narrator primarily, not the book itself.

This is my third Susan Bennett narration.  The first was a non-fiction work, then book 1 in the Midnight TX series as noted on my previous post.

I really enjoyed Susan’s narration.  Her cadence and rhythm are exceptional as always.  It’s great getting to know these characters in more depth in book 2, and I think that Susan does a wonderful job of bringing out the nuances that help to understand the true conflicts experienced by each person.

You feel Manfred’s frustration when he experiences the prejudices that surround his profession as a psychic.  And Olivia’s battle to contain the rage that threatens to overcome her time and again, especially while Lemuel is away and not around to drain the excess emotions and ease the tension.  I do hope that we get to explore Lemuel’s history more in book 3, but that gives us something to look forward to.

I keep reading in my research about the Sookie Stackhouse series, and how some of these characters have showed in that series, but I can’t really say anything about that.  I haven’t read/listened to that series or watched the T.V. series that is based on it.  Typically I am not much on the ‘vampire’ scene, so that is not a big surprise.

One of the things that I love about this book series however, is that although we have a vampire, witch, psychic, shape changers and more, they are not the typical representations most people have become accustomed to.  I find them more realistic I would say here.  If you can call any of these characters realistic that is.  Subtle but believable might be a better take on them in this series.

If you are not prejudice, and like good mysteries, then you should find this series (Midnight TX) a good fit, and Susan Bennett’s narration compelling and a comfortable read.  Some books are hard to listen to, (point in fact one that I am trying to make it through right now, ugh!) but you won’t have that problem here.  A great listening experience, so give it a try.

And as always, Happy Listening!


Midnight Crossroad – Audio Book

Hello Listeners!  Ok, I just finished this book, Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris.  As usual I picked a book based on a Narrator, in this case Susan Bennett.  As I have said before, my favorite books to listen to are Fantasy Fiction, but I also try to give a good portion of my time to non-fiction works.  Especially anything in the Self-Help or Personal Growth areas.  And that was how I found Susan.

She narrated a book called, Excuse Me, But I Was Next…, by Peggy Post.  It’s all about practical tips on how to handle different situations with tact and good manners.  I am like most people these days, and I can skimp on my manners without really realizing it, and I get impatient at times.  It’s because I am aware of this, that I picked up this particular book.  And I was not disappointed.  It is a very informative and well written book with tons of valuable tips.

But one of the surprises for me from this audio book, was that I really liked the narrator as well as the book.  Reading non-fiction work in a compelling way can often times be more challenging than reading fiction, because it can be hard to break out of the monotony.  When I researched what other work was available by Susan, I found that she does a LOT of fiction work as well.  Yippee for me!

While there was a lot to choose from, this book (series) stood out to me.  And once again, I was not disappointed.  I want to move to Midnight Texas now.  I think I would fit in well, loaner and recluse that I tend to be.  Although I am not a vampire, or a witch, or a psychic, or have some criminal past that I am running away from, I still think they could find a place for me.  Besides, they already have those positions filled in this small western town with only one stop light.  There’s a gas station, nail salon, restaurant, and a pawn shop.  Seriously…what more do you need?

Of course it would help if people weren’t dying all over the place.  But, then again, I guess you can’t have everything now can you?  I’ve just gotten a taste of these outcasts, and the ties that bind them closer than most families.  But lucky for me, I have Book 2 – Day Shift, to look forward to now!

Happy listening!