Kay Dew Shostak: Next Stop, Chancey – Review and Narrator Interview

Author: Kay Dew Shostak

Narrator: Suzanne Barbetta

Series: Chancey, Book One

Length: 10h 8m

Publisher: Kay Dew Shostak

Released: Dec. 22, 2016

Genre: Contemporary Fiction


Looking in your teenage daughter’s purse is never a good idea.

After all, it ended up with Carolina Jessup opening a bed & breakfast for railroad fanatics in a tiny Georgia mountain town. Carolina knows all about, and hates, small towns. How did she end up leaving her wonderful Atlanta suburbs behind while making her husband’s dreams come true?

The town bully (who wears a lavender skirt and white gloves), an endless parade of teenagers through her house, and everybody’s talk about a ghost have Carolina looking for an escape, or at least a way to move back home. Instead, she’s front and center for all of Chancey’s small town gossip.

Unlike back home in the suburbs with privacy fences and automatic garage doors, everybody in Chancey thinks your business is their business and they all love the newest Chancey business. The B&B hosts a Senate candidate, a tea for the county fair beauty contestants, and railroad nuts who sit out by the tracks and record the sound of a train going by. Yet, nobody believes Carolina prefers the ‚burbs.

Oh, yeah, and if you just ignore a ghost, will it go away?

 

 

“A new voice in Southern Fiction” is how a recent reviewer labeled Kay Dew Shostak’s debut novel, Next Stop, Chancey. Kay grew up in the South, then moved around the country raising a family. Always a reader, being a writer was a dream she cultivated as a journalist and editor at a small town newspaper in northern Illinois.

“Next Stop, Chancey”, published in 2015, was the first in the series set in the small, imaginary town of Chancey, Georgia. The fifth book in the series, “Kids are Chancey” will be released August 2017.

Seeing the familiar and loved from new perspectives led Kay to write about the absurd, the beautiful, and the funny in her South in both her fiction and non-fiction.

Visit Kay’s website at kaydewshostak.com to sign up for her newsletter and to read more about her journey. Kay is also on Facebook and twitter. All four Chancey books (along with the first in a new series set in Florida) are available on Amazon in print and eBook.

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Narrator Bio

Suzanne Barbetta is a Jersey girl, a blue collar kid from Jersey City who binged on B-Movie Musicals and Godzilla flicks as a kid. She became a voracious reader when she realized the magic of books allowed her to become anyone, anywhere, and in any world. A storyteller and performer since the age of 5, she later apprenticed at 2 regional theaters earned her union card and became a proud member of SAG-AFTRA. She’s worked in theater, indie films and commercial voiceover. Audiobooks are a way to satisfy her pathological addiction to reading. Now based in NYC, she is also the voice of the Fierce, Funny, Fab Fangirls of the new Serial Box Publishing audio series, Geek Actually.

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It is far too seldom that I foray into genres that don’t belong to my main fare, and I’m glad I did for this book. The synopsis intrigued me, as I grew up in a small town — more or less unaware of the gossip — then lived in a big city for more than 30 years, and now I’ve returned to my home town. I wondered: is there a huge difference between people in rural North America and people in rural Germany?

Well, yes and no. But maybe that’s because my town seems comparatively large in comparison with Chancey. Or maybe I just don’t go out enough, or I don’t go the correct places. I know from a friend that there is a lot of gossip going on here, but the only gossip I ever hear is from my friend, and that isn’t a lot.

So far, I haven’t been cajoled into anything. I do believe that’s because nobody is interested in me, although my mum does her best to tell all and sundry that I’m back in town.

But to the novel: I absolutely LOVED it. The characters are so life-like, it felt as if I was there, listening in to the conversations. There’s even a ghost, but he is not of the scary kind, and somehow quite believable.

There are certainly characters that weren’t my favourites, but I can’t say that I completely disliked even one of them — well, maybe for one exception.

As I’ve come to expect from audio books promoted by The Audiobookworm, the sound quality was impeccable. Narrator Suzanne Barbetta did an absolutely marvellous job at bringing all the characters to life! She gives them depth and variety; I never had any difficulties to know who was talking, and her male and female voices are great. If I had a written list of favourite narrators, this list would now be longer by one. I’ve seen that there are four more books in this series, alas, no further sequel is available in audio. I hope there will be, because my reading time is so sparse, but I’d love to know more about this particular family and community! So, Kay, if you read this, please consider making the sequels available in audio (and do hire Suzanne)!

For all who love to read/listen to a good tale that contains everything you can ask of a good yarn, I recommend you listen to Next Stop, Chancey. I’m sure you won’t regret it.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Suzanne Barbetta. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Q&A with Narrator Suzanne Barbetta
  • When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
  • When I was a kid, I was sickly and I LOVED reading. It was my great escape, a way to go anywhere. My younger sister didn’t enjoy reading and I thought that was a shame so I picked out a Nancy Drew book one day and read it to her to try to entice her to read. And it worked! Once I became a narrator, she reminded me of this. So – I kind of feel like this is something I wanted to do since I was a teenager, before I know this could be a career.
  • How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
  • Already a theater and indie film actress, I decided to try commercial VO. I created a demo and booked some spots, but decided that the form or VO that really intrigued me was audiobooks. As a voracious reader, it seemed like a natural step. So I went to the E.I.F. VO Lab at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and brought in an excerpt from a book. The engineer asked me if I was auditioning for audiobooks and I told her I wasn’t. She told me I SHOULD be. She asked if I worked through ACX and I told her no because I had no equipment or training to self-record. She told me not to let that stop me and she walked me through setting up an account. She told me to bring all my auditions to the lab and we’d practice and record there.
  • A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
  • I DO know successful narrators without that background, but I think that it is extremely helpful to have it. HOWEVER, it’s a different way of telling a story – there’s mic technique and a hundred other things to learn that are SO different from stage acting and it takes time and patience to learn that.
  • What type of training have you undergone?
  • I worked with the engineers/directors at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s EIF VO Lab, coached privately with Jayme Mattler, Paul Alan Ruben and Carol Monda and I’ve just started coaching with Andi Arndt. .I also study dialects using various resources and plan to work with a coach who specializes in dialects because I think it’s so important AND one of the most fun aspects of the work.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out?
  • What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating? I am a voracious reader and love narrating so I cannot imagine getting burned out. Talk to me in 10 years. But, seriously, I plan on doing this work for as long as I’m able to read and speak.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
  • Yes, I’m an avid listener and I have my own favorites. I binge-listen to narrators I like so I can hear how they perform across genres.
  • What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
  • The prep work and the prep work! It can be really fun because you learn about new topics/subjects you might not have had any interest in. But sometimes it’s maddening because you’re looking at multiple sources and the sources conflict, and you want to get it right so that can be a bit frustrating. My real favorite part is when you reach that ZONE where everything is just flowing. I. LOVE. THAT.
  • What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?
  • Infusing humor and warmth into stories. I’m also great with 1st person reads.
  • Is there a particular genre you feel unsuited for? 
  • Highly technical medical texts.
  • Have you ever declined a project because you didn’t think you were right for it?
  • No, I’ve turned projects down for lack of pay rate but I try to audition for things I think are a great fit for me.
  • What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
  • I strongly connected with the viewpoint of the main character Carolina Jessup. She’s a bit snarky and an odd duck, and she has this funny monologue going on in her head no matter what is happening.
  • How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
  • Oh, if they want to participate in the process, that’s great, they can be a great resource if the text brings up additional questions. I consider the author a partner. I ask for pronunciation guides and input on how THEY see certain characters if it’s not clearly stated in the text.
  • Who are your “accent inspirations”?
  • Davina Porter is British of course, so she’s great for multiple English accents and also does GREAT scottish accents (and male voices). I also listen to Caroline Lee (Australian) so if I need an Australian accent, that’s who I’d model it after.
  • How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
  • Clues in the text whenever possible: descriptions of voice, tone, accent. Physical descriptions, meaning age, physical build etc, as well as speech pattern indicators in the text.
  • What types of things are harmful to your voice?
  • Cold beverages – I cannot drink cold water in the booth. It makes my stomach AND my throat gurgle like CRAZY. If I’m at a Giants game I no longer cheer by screaming like a loon – which is a little frustrating but I wave my hands around like a lunatic instead. (Compromises….)
  • Have there been any characters that you really connected with?
  • In the series I’m recording now, Geek Actually, (a serialized fiction podcast released in weekly episodes), there are 5 main female characters. They’re smart, geeky, funny, irreverent, feminists. Besties who met each other playing World of Warcraft or at Cons. I. LOVE. THEM. There is part of each one of those women inside me.
  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
  • Ooooohhhh, it would be fun to go to Sicily or Ireland, my ancestors’ home turf. But I’m SUCH a trouble-maker, I’d either be burned as a witch or expelled from wherever. Oh yeah. Think Claire in the Outlander series. Yup, that’d be me, stirring the you-know-what, refusing to stay in “my place”.
  • How does audiobook narration differ from other types of voiceover work you’ve done?
  • Many other types of voiceover are sprints, not marathons. It requires much more technical research and prep than other forms of VO.
  • Do you read reviews for your audiobooks?
  • Yes.
  • If so, which ones stand out to you most, positive or negative?
  • I’ve not gotten any harsh reviews so I have to say mostly the positive stand out.
  • What type of the review comments do you find most constructive? What about the narration really worked or affected them and why?
  • Specific comments are best. General comments are not all helpful. I did a fun comic-romance and several listeners said it was Laugh-Out-Loud funny and talked about how much they loved some of the characters. That’s really helpful knowing exactly I nailed for you, what really worked for you as a listener.
  • If you could narrate one book from your youth what would it be and why?
  • Can I pick two? The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. For years I dreamed about running away and sleeping over in the Museum of Natural History just like the kids in that story. (Because I’m a dinosaur freak, and briefly wanted to be a paleontologist, I reveled in the idea of crashing in the museum with all those fossils.) The other is 101 Dalmations. I am a dog-nut and read this book TEN times when I was young. It would be awesome to voice all those dogs and Cruella DeVil!
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
  • I don’t understand why anyone thinks this is cheating. You get the value of the story and vocabulary as if you were ‘reading’ the book, it’s just enhanced with audio. You get the author’s full story. I would also say that telling stories out loud is one of the oldest art forms out there. Now it just happens to be available digitally instead of around a campfire. (But you can LISTEN around a campfire if you like, LOL.)
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
  • Listen to audiobooks by experienced narrators. Be humble. Coach and get advice from knowledgeable people in the business. Do your homework! There is a long learning curve for audiobook narration, so be patient with yourself.
  • What’s next for you? Finishing up the last episodes of the 1st season of Geek Actually, available at Serial Box Publishing (download the ebook AND audio this through their app at https://www.serialbox.com/serials/geekactually); contributing 2 stories (fantasy/sci-fi) to a short story collection, beginning a public domain series written by Edna Ferber, the Edna McChesney serie, www.Listen2aBook.com.

With Narrator Suzanne Barbetta

Waffle fries or curly fries?

Cajun spiced sweet potato fries. TOTALLY addicted.

GIF with a hard g or soft g?

Hard G.
Fantasy or science-fiction?

SUCH A GEEK-GIRL. I’ve watched all the Star Wars/Star Trek movies and all the Star Trek series but at the end of the day my favorite fiction genre to read is Epic Fantasy.

Superman or Batman?

Batman. Because…Batgirl.

Text message or call?

Depends: Mom = Call. Friends = Text/IM

Pancakes or waffles?

Pumpkin pancakes!

Doctor Who or the Walking Dead?

Dr. Who

TV Shows or movies?

Movies.

Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook.

Alice in Wonderland or Robinson Crusoe?

Always Alice.

Being too warm or too cold?

Too Cold = hot chocolate + marshmallows.

Netflix or Hulu?

Netflix.

Work Hard or Play Hard?

Both. I am a certified Scuba Diver (I prefer clear blue water, gorgeous reef, colorful fish, but SOMETIMES it means hauling heavy gear and rough water).

Passenger or Driver?

Passenger so I get to watch the scenery.

Amusement Park or Day at the Beach?

Beach.

Honesty or Other’s Feelings?

Yeesh, Who’ve you been talking to? So…I am direct but like to think I’ve mellowed a bit so that I’m not TOTALLY tactless. But…if I had a ringtone, it would be Sledgehammer. ;-p
Movie at Home or Movie at the Theater?

Movie Theater if it’s a blockbuster movie.’Cuz who wants to watch Wonder Woman at HOME??

 

„Reasons I Chose to Narrate Next Stop, Chancey“- Suzanne Barbetta

I loved Carolina Jessup, the main character, and her wry wit.

I grew up a city kid, so I got to experience life in a small town.

A fun supporting cast of town gossips, sullen teens, cranky old men, train nuts, and a bully swathed in lavender and white gloves – a true Steel Magnolia.

Because it’s the story of an imperfect mother learning to stand her ground, stand up for herself and overcome long-time fears and hang-ups.

Portrayal of a strong, but not perfect marriage: I love a romance and HEA as much as the next girl, but Carolina and her husband share an affection and intimacy that seemed strong and REAL without us needing to see them in the bedroom.

 

 

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Review: The Malaise Falchion by Paul Barrett

The Malaise Falchion by Paul Barrett, narrated by Jack Wayne, 8:33h

 

Synopsis:

Dwarf Spade is a private investigator in Mage City. He is not ambitious, all he needs are a few easy jobs to buy booze and pay for his living.

A beautiful elven woman offers him a job that sounds easy enough, and although her brother tries to scare Spade, he accepts the job.

Soon he finds himself in one dire and dangerous situation after the other, and without his partner Crizz, and his friend Liz, he’d be helpless.

Suddenly, they have to save the world from total annihilation.

 

 

My thoughts:

 

This book is very difficult to rate. I’d give it 3.5 stars, but since that isn’t possible, I mark it four.

When I volunteered to listen to the book for review, I didn’t know what to expect, but the synopsis made me curious. However, the book failed to draw me in from the start.

I can’t say why, though. To me, all the references to The Maltese Falcon felt just a tad too forced.
I don’t mind a genre mix, and the idea of a detective story set in a fantasy world appealed to me, but it didn’t work for me.
I found it entertaining in parts, but in other parts my mind drifted, the story couldn’t really keep my attention, and often enough, I had to wind back to listen again, only to find that I hadn’t actually missed anything.
I didn’t root for any of the characters, though I liked Liz and Crizz, Spade’s sidekicks.

What I liked, was the idea of the various races overcoming their animosities and prejudices and working together, even starting to like each other.

Jack Wayne did a fine job with the narration, which is no mean feat, because there’s quite a range of characters. The sound quality was excellent.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher. As always, this did not affect my review.

Anomalies – Sadie Turner & Colette Freedman

Anomalies, Sadie Turner & Colette Freedman, narrated by Lucinda Clare; Punch Audio, 8:04h

 

Synopsis:

Keeva lives in a peaceful world. After the great technology war which eradicated large parts of the earth, Sobeck rescued what was left, cleaned the earth and oceans from pollution, and built a peaceful society where everybody has his/her place and is happy. Or did he? …

Keeva is looking forward to being imprinted with her intended life partner — however, she’s sorted out as an anomaly, because said partner is no more. She and six other anomalies undergo a variety of tests, and all seems to turn out well after all. But then she suddenly finds that her life as it was has ended. She is in danger, and now she must find out why, and she must find help. But who to trust?

 

This is certainly a series to watch out for. I don’t think there’s a sequel yet, but I hope there’ll be.
This drew me in right from the start, and it kept me glued to my earphones until the end. Yes, it is a YA dystopie, so I’m not among the target group, but then I love YA novels, and this book is no exception.

The idea itself isn’t novel, I was reminded of other well-known novels with the same topic, but that doesn’t mean the story is old. On the contrary, it is a very refreshing tale of what happens if you don’t fit the norm. Keeva needs to find out who she is, what she is supposed to do, what is truth and what are lies, who is friend and who is foe. It’s a coming of age story, and so much more.
There are very many twists and turns, and some of the truths Keeva discovers are completely unexpected.
Lucinda Clare did a fabulous job at narrating the story, bringing all the characters to life, as well as the world. It was like watching a film (I can absolutely imagine this on the screen).
The authors as well as the narrator were new to me, but I’ll watch out for other books by them, and I really hope I won’t have to wait for the sequel very long.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher. As always, this did not affect my review.

Review: Medicine for the Dead by Ambrose Ibsen (audio)

Medicine for the Dead by Ambrose Ibsen, narrated by Jake Urry, Ambrose Ibsen; audible: 5:32h

Synopsis:

Harlan Ulrich seems out of luck, but then he meets a former high school pal who offers him free lodging for a week in Exeter House. All Harlan is supposed to do, is doing a couple of rounds through the still empty house, which is being renovated, to make sure that no squatters ruin the place.

Harlan moves into the model apartment which is fully furbished, and he thinks himself in heaven — until strange things happen. Harlan soon feels threatened, and although he tries hard, there is no logical explanation for the goings-on in the house come night.

With nowhere else to go at such short notice, Harlan decides to figure out what is happening, and faces the evil spirits.

 

My thoughts:

I already thought The Sick House (The Ulrich Files #1) was creepy, but I was glad that I listened to about half of Medicine for the Dead in plain daylight!*

And then I made a mistake: I did what is my habit: I went to bed, listening to the book. And naturally, I couldn’t fall asleep. The story is super creepy, and I’m not just referring to the ghosts, or apparition, spirits or just visions — the things happening in real are what took my breath away and kept me from falling asleep. Oh, my, Harlan! There was absolutely no chance to fall asleep, or even stop listening until I knew the outcome! Let me give you one advice: don’t listen (or read) this book in bed! Jake Urry’s narration adds greatly to the effect, the creepy atmosphere, the terror Ulrich feels. It’s once again an excellent narration, transferring all the horror directly into your head. Well,maybe I’m especially susceptible, I don’t know. However, I think there’s an inherit fear of all things unknown and/or inexplicable in each of us, and Ambrose Ibsen’s story appeals to that fear — while Jake Urry does his best to make it seem real.

This is another great occult thriller, and I look forward to listening to book #3 (Darkside Blues) in that series. Watch this space, it will be part of a blog tour, and I’ll post my review on 2nd June.

Disclosure: I received this audiobook at no-cost from Audiobookworm Promotions. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

 

*Although this is part of a series, each book can be read as stand-alone, no knowledge of other books in that series is required to understand and enjoy them.

 

About the Author: Ambrose Ibsen

Once upon a time, a young Ambrose Ibsen discovered a collection of ghost stories on his father’s bookshelf. He was never the same again.

Apart from horror fiction, he enjoys good coffee, brewed strong.

Ambrose Ibsen has penned numerous horror and thriller titles, including The Ulrich Files, Transmission, The Demon-Hearted Series and the Winthrop House Series.

About the Narrator: Jake Urry

Jake Urry has been narrating and producing Audiobooks since February 2016, and in that time has released 17 titles, including The Cryptic Lines by Richard Storry, White is the Coldest Colour by John Nicholl, and the PI Harlan Ulrich series by Ambrose Ibsen. His narration work is often dark and suspenseful, and he developing a reputation for Mysteries, Thrillers and Horrors. In 2017 Jake will be working on more work by John Nicholl and Richard Storry, along with a sprinkling of Fantasy adventures.

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Review: Daughter of the Sun by Barbara Wood

Barbara Wood: Daughter of the Sun, narrated by Rebecca Roberts, 15:24h

Publisher’s Summary

Seventeen-year-old Hoshi’tiwa had a simple life. The daughter of a humble corn grower, she planned to marry a storyteller’s apprentice. But her world is turned upside down when she is captured by the powerful and violent ruler of an infamous city with legends of untold wealth and unspeakable acts of violence to its name. Hoshi’tiwa is suddenly thrown into the court of the Dark Lord, and as she struggles for power, she begins an illicit affair with the one man who has the ability to destroy her.

Best-selling author Barbara Wood has crafted a sweeping saga of one woman’s struggle to survive within the dangerous and exotic world of the Toltec court. Set against the backdrop of Chaco Canyon and the mysterious Anasazi people, Daughter of the Sun is an unforgettable novel of power, seduction, murder, and betrayal.

My Thoughts:

When I discovered this book on the ‚Up for Adoption‘ page of Audiobookworm Promotion, I absolutely had to listen to it. I remembered having devoured another novel (Virgins of Paradise) by Barbara Wood many years ago, and I remembered how fascinated I had been, even though my memory of the plot is hazy. So, I didn’t even read the summary, hence I didn’t know what to expect.

Let me tell you, this is a great story that made me think. I wondered about the old religions and beliefs, asking myself whether they weren’t preferable to today’s religions. But my first impression of a peaceful religion was soon shattered, because, as is so often the case, those believing in cruel deeds to please their gods oppress all the others.

What puzzled me, was the focus on female virginity before marriage, and the idea that they were makai-yó (outcasts) if they were found out. Somehow, I had always connected this anti-female behaviour with Christendom. However, the book seems extremely well researched, and whether or not this virginity thing is due to poetic licence or actually took place, it doesn’t really matter to me — although it does matter to our main protagonist, Hoshi’tiwa, whose life takes a turn for the worse when she is claimed by the Dark Lord — from then on, she is makai-yó.

This book contains everything you could wish for, especially a lot of information about the religious beliefs, rites, traditions, clothing, food, drink, and daily life of the Toltecs shortly before they perished. All this information isn’t easily found on the www, so much about these people is still shrouded in myth, with few facts known.

Barbara Wood masterfully crafts an engaging story that you won’t want to put down. It is great that this novel is now available as audio book, and the narrator, Rebecca Roberts, does a fantastic job at narrating it. Her voice in my head was never obtrusive, she simply drew me in, and I was there, on center green, seeing it all before me, suffering with the slaves, connecting with Jakál even.

There is only one character who is truly ugly inside and out, all the others have many facets, and though you may not like them, you can understand them.

The combination of a great story and a wonderful narration makes for a very enjoyable 15.5 hours of listening time.

As mentioned above, I received this audiobook at no-cost from Audiobookworm Promotions. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Check out the author: Barbara Wood

 

Check out the narrator: Rebecca Roberts

 

Review: The Sick House by Ambrose Ibsen

The Sick House by Ambrose Ibsen, narrated by Jake Urry, 06:48h

   Synopsis:

Harlan Ulrich is an unsuccessful, lazy private investigator. He doesn’t like his clients, he is bored to tears with the cases that come his way –mainly observations of cheating spouses.
Enter Jerome, the nephew of Dr. Klein who has gone missing in the Sick House near a small place called Moonville.
Ulrich doesn’t want this job, but he needs money, not least to be able to buy special coffee, which is his passion.
Payment arranged, he sets out to search for the missing doctor.
The inhabitants of Moonville are very hostile, and the Sick House has a very bad reputation.
Soon, Ulrich feels watched and haunted, and he doubts what he experienced, but is inclined to go back home. However, he is too curious and too proud to drop the case, and so he returns to the Sick House to find all his nightmares come true. Weiterlesen

Interview: James C. Lewis (Narrator) & Review: Old Loves Die Hard by Lauren Carr (Author)

Welcome to Lauren Carr’s Audiobook-a-palooza Blog Tour! To celebrate the release of Lauren Carr’s mysteries in audiobook format, we have 14 books from her three series on tour!

 


To follow the tour and to read reviews, please visit Lauren Carr’s page on iRead Book Tours.Today we stop at
The Mac Faraday Mystery Series:
Buy the Audiobook ~ Book
Book Description:

Old loves die hard…and in the worst places.

In Old Loves Die Hard, Lauren Carr continues the rags-to-riches story of Mac Faraday, an underpaid homicide detective who inherits 270 million dollars and an estate on Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, from his birth mother on the day his divorce becomes final.

Mac is settling nicely into his new life at Spencer Manor when his ex-wife Christine shows up-and she wants him back! Before Mac can send her packing, Christine and her estranged lover are murdered in Mac’s private penthouse suite at the Spencer Inn, the five-star resort built by his ancestors.

The investigation leads to the discovery of cases files for some of Mac’s murder cases in the room of the man responsible for destroying his marriage. Why would his ex-wife’s lover come to Spencer to dig into Mac’s old cases?

With the help of his new friends on Deep Creek Lake, Mac must use all of his detective skills to clear his name and the Spencer Inn’s reputation, before its five-stars – and more bodies – start dropping!

Disclosure: Thanks to iread book tours for sending me this audio book for review. I was not told how to rate or review this product.

My thoughts:

This was my first MacFaraday novel, as well as the first novel by Lauren Carr. It is not the first book in the series, but I had absolutely no trouble following the plot, because all the characters are properly introduced, and their background is sufficiently explained, so I never felt that I missed something because I didn’t know the previous books, yet.

The story is a mystery until the very end; there are many twists and turns, and I never saw it coming. It was convincing, too. We have a great character-building here, the characters aren’t just black or white, but everything in between, most of them have something to hide, so we have lots of suspects.

I wasn’t too sure about the dog, it has a special ability which seemed odd, if not impossible, but then who knows what a well-trained, intelligent dog is capable of. I have since done a bit of research, and apparently it’s not all that abstract after all.  I absolutely loved the dog’s antics, in those moments,  he seemed to be one clever dog-like dog.

I’m now curious about the area, and I’d really love to see it for real one day. The story drew me in from the start, and kept me listening; and I look forward to listening to others in that series.

I only really just noticed the cover (I’m not a cover person), and I wonder if it could give a wrong impression. Let me assure you, that the author doesn’t dwell on all the gory details of the bloody murders here committed, and although there is some romance, it’s not at all taking place between linen sheets.

The narration was good and easy to listen to. Although there isn’t much in the way of different timbres, dialects, or accents, and all the characters sounded more or less alike to me, I didn’t really have problems following who said what, so there must have been variations after all, but they certainly weren’t overdone.

I already told you how the interview came about in a previous blog post, and here it is now:

Interview with narrator James C. Lewis (see more below):

How do you prepare for accents and different characters?

 

Once I was narrating a book of 19th century preachers in Wales. One of them was from Cynghordy, a village in the rural community of Llanfair-ar-y-bryn in Carmarhenshire. Oh my! I went to my usual sources: You Tube and several web sites. Finally I called Spire Hospital in Cardiff, the capital. (I have a phone plan that costs only one cent per minute for international calls.) But they were too busy saving lives and hung up on me. Then I phoned up the newspaper, the South Wales Argus in Cardiff. The young reporter thought I was joking. But I convinced him I was on the level. And he helped me right away! I think that my decidedly American accent may have helped.

 

Are there any genres you prefer narrating?

 

I have a fondness for crime fiction and spy dramas. I come from a journalism background. At one time, I was a police reporter in Seattle and I came to deeply respect cops and their emotionally taxing jobs. And I enjoy being the voice of the tall tough-talking private detective with the snazzy girlfriend. (I’m not very tall. But please keep that information just between us.)

 

Will you narrate any book if the conditions are right?

 

I have narrated a wide range of books but not erotica. But I’ve narrated some horror fiction with really creepy monsters. (They’re actually the best!)

What is the hardest part of narrating a book?

 

The hardest part is finding the voice of the character. Is the character old, young, angry, happy, educated, ignorant? And of course where are they from. I find that evil characters from Eastern Europe are the easiest to do. And it’s hard being confined to a small studio by myself (other than the character’s voices).

 

How is the work with the author?

 

I really like Lauren Carr’s work. Being the voice of Mac Faraday is great fun. Lauren writes for the ear as well as the eye. She would be a great screen writer. (And she’s wonderful to work with!)

I’d like to thank Mr Lewis for answering my questions, and Laura Fabiani from iread book tours for managing it all.

Meet the Author:

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Lauren Carr

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with LaurenWebsite  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Meet the Narrator:

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Another Audible Approved narrator, voice actor  James Lewis has established a solid reputation in fiction as well as non-ficton audiobooks. At latest count, he’s narrated nearly 50.

Although his specialty is noir fiction, James has done several non-fiction books as well on a range of people and subjects: Butch and Sundance, General Custer, Revolutionary War, psychic development, taxes.

James Lewis has been awarded the AudioFile Earphone Award for narration, „The Last Outlaws“. It’s about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.