Author: Gail Z. Martin
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
Length: 19 hours 58 minutes
Publisher: Tantor Audio⎮2018
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Series: Deadly Curiosities Collection, Book 1
Release date: Dec. 4, 2018
A collection of nine adventures: "Buttons", "The Restless Dead", "Retribution", "Coffin Box", "Wicked Dreams", "Collector", "Bad Memories", "Shadow Garden", and "Spook House."
Cassidy Kincaide runs Trifles & Folly in modern-day Charleston, an antiques and curios shop with a dangerous secret. Cassidy can read the history of objects by touching them and along with her business partners Teag, who has Weaver magic, and Sorren, a 600-year-old vampire, they get rid of cursed objects and keep Charleston and the world safe from supernatural threats.
An extension of the Deadly Curiosities book series.
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I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Gail Z. Martin. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
I’m beginning to wonder if this author just isn’t for me (or maybe it’s just her collections of short stories). While the concept of “Trifles & Folly” was unique and interesting, Ms. Martin managed to make every story almost exactly the same: object comes in, Cassidy has vision, Teague puts the pieces together, villain is confronted and day is saved. A good portion of each short or novella was taken up by explaining what talents the characters have (they’re the same from story to story), why the shop exists, and what magical gear they carried/why they carried it into battle. It could be that the shortness of each story is partly to blame for the cookie-cutter feel—or it just made it more obvious.
The introduction by the author insists that the characters grow and change like real people; it’s just too bad for the reader that any and all character growth takes place behind the scenes. Cassidy just tells us about it later. With that said, I did really like the characters. Cassidy is sassy and smart and does what’s right even when she’s afraid. Teague has a great sense of humor and his lack of romantic interest in the female lead was refreshing. My initial impression was that Soron was only a shadow of a character..and then I got to the stories at the end that focused on his origins. We get to know him better and my curiosity is definitely piqued. Some of the secondary characters, like Father Anne and Kel, were fun and added their own flavor to the stories where they appear.
My jury is still out on this narrator. Ms. Ronconi has a pleasant reading voice and her recording quality is clearly professional, but her ability to do accents convincingly is subpar. Some of the characters have an island lilt and Ms. Ronconi’s attempt to imitate it is pretty abysmal. I wish she would have just stuck with her regular reading voice for these characters. She will forever be my voice for Cassidy, though, and that was by far her best portrayal. Her voice changed a little for Teague was good, too, and not overdramatized. Overall, she was a decent choice for narrator who I wish would have stuck to her strengths.
Bottom line: “Trifles & Folly” has the potential to be something really unique, but the short story collection falls short. However, if you’re looking to dip your toe into this universe and want something that doesn’t require a lot of focus to follow, this is a good place to start. A light, fun listen overall in spite of the lack of substance.
Gail Z. Martin writes urban fantasy, epic fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, Falstaff Books, SOL Publishing and Darkwind Press. Urban fantasy series include Deadly Curiosities and the Night Vigil (Sons of Darkness). Epic fantasy series include Darkhurst, the Chronicles Of The Necromancer, the Fallen Kings Cycle, the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, and the Assassins of Landria. Together with Larry N. Martin, she is the co-author of Iron & Blood, Storm & Fury (both Steampunk/alternate history), and the Spells Salt and Steel comedic horror series. Newest titles include Tangled Web, Vengeance, The Dark Road, and Assassin’s Honor. As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance, with her Witchbane and Badlands series.
Amanda is an actress and narrator who divides her time between New York City and Upstate New York. She has a BFA from NYU where she studied at the Stella Adler Conservatory. She has performed in theaters around New York City and regionally at The Alley, Capital Rep and many productions at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.
Her Off-Broadway solo comedy, Shirley at the Tropicana, received critical acclaim and was subsequently featured in The New York Times. Film and TV credits include Daydream Believer (Slamdance 2001’s Best Dramatic Feature winner), The Understudy, Deadly Sins (ID Discovery), IFC’s Get Hit and Chasing Paradise. National network and regional commercials include Chase Bank, Sony and Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Her voiceover work encompasses over 100 audiobooks available on Audible.com. She is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and Actors’ Equity.