I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
6 years ago I moved to the other side of the world from my home state of Florida to a place you'll all recognise as Australia, but I like to affectionately refer to as Opposite Land. This realisation struck me when I was explaining the move to my friend's then 6-year-old boy by telling him all about the cool ways AU was different: opposite side of the world, water ran through the drain in the opposite direction, "on" was "off" on the light switches, locks locked by turning them the opposite direction, etc. etc. To which his reply was a question: "Do they wear their shoes on the opposite feet?" Hand to god, he said that, and I snorted my iced tea up my nose.
The other thing that's opposite is, of course the whole driving thing. Other side of the road and other side of the car. (Just today, after 6 freaking years, I went to get in the car on the wrong damn side....) I took 6 months before attempting to drive here and then only at night - the logic being that there'd be fewer people on the roads if I accidentally, say, started driving down the wrong side of the street. I adapted fairly quickly though and was soon tooling around in my own car.
What, you may be asking yourself, for freak's sake does this have to do with the Witchcraft Series?? Well, it turns out that no matter how cool a driver you were in your homeland, the combination of other-side-of-road-and-car + the insanity that is driving in Melbourne (NOT NOT NOT the best drivers in the world, just... NOT) makes for a very stressed out driver prone to outbursts of road rage.
To keep others safe from my wild gesticulations and skin searing profanities, I started listening to audiobooks while driving to and from work (plus, morning radio = blech). And thus we finally reach the point of this review: Xe Sands narration of the Witchcraft Mystery Series.
I've read, reviewed and I own all the books in this series, but I had heard somewhere in one of my groups that the narration for these books was particularly well done and since I'm always looking for something to listen to (my drives are not short ones) I decided to give the first book in the series a try. Which led me to immediately purchasing every book in the series on audio. At full price.
Xe Sands is brilliant. Absolutely freaking brilliant at narration. I've heard some really well narrated books previously, but she's ruined them all for me. Everyone else now sounds like Clint Eastwood in drag. By this I do not mean to infer that narrators everywhere have OD'd on testosterone supplements, but so many of them now sound to me as though they are mimicking his style of talking. I don't know how to explain it beyond that. Choppy, overly grave, um... yeah, let's go with choppy.
Xe narrates these books just the way you'd imagine real people talking. She's not reading a book to you, she's living the story as she speaks it. Lily could be sitting next to me in the car telling me all about her latest adventures and it would sound exactly the same way (plus, she could totally use her magic to fix the damn traffic!).
Male voices are done without the male characters sounding like they'd just been kicked and she's really adept at making one male character sound different from the next. In fact her overall range of voice characterisations is quite broad.
I'm gonna stop gushing now - it's almost time to get back in the car and drive home, but if you're looking for great audiobooks and cozy/paranormal mysteries are to your liking, I can not recommend these strongly or emphatically enough.
P.S. I'll just add, since I didn't bother to actually review the books themselves, you can find one of my reviews for one of the books here: http://jenn.booklikes.com/post/290739/witchswardrobe