Spotlight: Alec Birri – The Condition Trilogy Book 3

Author: Alec Birri

Narrator: Jonathan Keeble

Length: 6 hours 34 minutes

Publisher: Essential Music Limited⎮2018

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: The Condition Trilogy, Book 3

Release date: Jan. 17, 2018

The third and final part of a dystopian trilogy based on the author’s command of a top secret government unit.

So, Professor Savage has been unmasked as the monster Alex Salib always knew he was. But what was their agreement, and why is she still determined to see it through? The war on terror appears to be back on track, but why does President Kalten seem hell-bent on ramping it up – are the Americans seriously intent on starting World War Three?

And what of the treatment itself? Despite Savage’s arrest, the “corrections” go on, but to what end? The laws of unintended consequences are about to cause a seismic shift in the very nature of our existence. But then our new master knows that and won’t let it happen until we’re ready….

Ready to accept the unacceptable.

 

Alec Birri served thirty years with the UK Armed Forces. He commanded an operational unit that experimented in new military capabilities classified at the highest level (Top Secret Strap 3) and it is this that forms the basis of his novels. Although semi-autobiographical, for national security and personal liberty reasons, the events and individuals portrayed have to be fiction but are still nonetheless in keeping with his experiences.

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Narrator Bio

If you regularly enjoy listening to audiobooks then this Shakespearean actor will need no introduction. Winner of a 2016 SOVAS award, Jonathan’s voice is rightly recognized as being one of the best, and his narration of The Condition Trilogy is no exception.

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Book One

Mar. 6th:

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Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

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Hall Ways Blog

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AudioSpy

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Bound 4 Escape

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Book Two

Mar. 13th:

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

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Review: The Condition Trilogy Book One by Alec Birri (Audio)

Author: Alec Birri

Narrator: Jonathan Keeble

Length: 6 hours 32 minutes

Publisher: Essential Music Limited⎮2018

Genre: Medical Thriller

Series: The Condition Trilogy, Book 1

Release date: Jan. 17, 2018

The first in a dystopian trilogy based on the author’s command of a top secret government unit.
What if all brain disorders were treatable? Few would lament the passing of dementia or autism, but what if the twisted mind of a sex offender or murderer could be cured too? Or how about a terrorist or maybe a political extremist? What if we could all be “corrected”?
It’s 1966, and RAF pilot Dan Stewart awakes from a coma following an aircraft accident into a world where nothing seems to make sense anymore. Not being able to recall the crash might be expected, but what about the rest of his life? And what’s stopping him from taking his medication? Is it brain damage that’s causing paranoia about the red pill, or is Dan right to think something sinister is going on?
His horrific injuries don’t make any sense either – a post-crash fire caused him to suffer almost 100% burns. How is it even possible to survive that? Are the hallucinations and strange dreams trying to tell him something? They are, and he’ll soon find out what, but not before his doctor’s sure the shock won’t kill him.



Alec Birri served thirty years with the UK Armed Forces. He commanded an operational unit that experimented in new military capabilities classified at the highest level (Top Secret Strap 3) and it is this that forms the basis of his novels. Although semi-autobiographical, for national security and personal liberty reasons, the events and individuals portrayed have to be fiction but are still nonetheless in keeping with his experiences.

WebsiteTwitterFacebook

Narrator Bio


If you regularly enjoy listening to audiobooks then this Shakespearean actor will need no introduction. Winner of a 2016 SOVAS award, Jonathan’s voice is rightly recognized as being one of the best, and his narration of The Condition Trilogy is no exception.

LinkedInIMDB

I’m a huge fan of Dystopias, so when I read the synopsis of the Condition series, I  asked for a copy to listen to. I wasn’t disappointed. The story of book one, along with the author’s background, makes you chill to the bone. Are such things even possible?

We’ve all profited from medical research and progress at some point in our lives, and I, at least, tend to not think about where a certain medication came from overly much.

We’re aware that new medicine is tested on animals, and on human volunteers before it is declared ‘safe’ from whichever board is in charge. There are numerous films about viruses developed (and accidentally set free) by the military — and if we are to believe the press, there are secret military laboratories researching very dangerous viruses.

It never seemed as close to home as in the UK, though, and after listening to this book, I really don’t want to know what the Germans are up to in that regard.

This book is not about viruses, however, but it begs the question:

Are we all doomed, not from Mssrs Trump or Kim Jong Un firing nuclear weapons, but from secret medical experiments?

The book makes you ponder these questions and more. It is a topic I’d rather put firmly in the science fiction corner, but alas, it is only too real.

In this regard, the author managed to make me think, and, let’s face it, to frighten me. However, the way the book is written takes some patience to keep listening. For a long while, the reader, as well as the protagonist, doesn’t have a clue what the heck is going on. It takes ages before some light is shed on the whole affair and you get an idea what this could be about.

There isn’t a lot in way of character development, as all the characters remain quite distant. I couldn’t build a relation to the main character, because he was so confused most of the time, and it was all so weird. Even though much of it is revealed later on, there isn’t any character who really got me rooting for him or her.

Still, the idea and the topic are well worth being known by a wider public, and there are two more sequels which might well change my mind about some of the characters.

Jonathan Keeble is a very gifted narrator. His character interpretations, his pace and narration were perfect. He is certainly a new voice in my library of audio books. I have to listen to more of his narrations.

 

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

Book One

Mar. 6th:

Jazzy Book Reviews

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

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Hall Ways Blog

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AudioSpy

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The Writing Train

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Lomeraniel

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Bound 4 Escape

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Book Two

Mar. 13th:

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

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Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

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Mar. 24th:

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Review: Legacy (The Biodome Chronicles #1) by Jesikah Sundin (Audio)

About the Audiobook

Author: Jesikah Sundin

Narrator: Sunil Patel

Length: 12 hours 30 minutes

Publisher: Forest Tales Publishing⎮2017

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: The Biodome Chronicles, Book 1

Release date: Dec. 11, 2017

Synopsis:

She is from the past, locked inside a world within a world.

He is from the future, haunted by her death.

A sensible young nobleman and his fiery sister live in an experimental medieval village. Sealed inside this biodome since infancy, Leaf and Willow have been groomed by The Code to build a sustainable world, one devoid of Outsider interference. One that believes death will give way to life.

All is ideal until their father bequeaths a family secret with his dying breath, placing an invisible crown of power on Leaf’s head. Now everyone in their quiet town is suspect. Risking banishment, the siblings search for clues, leading them to Fillion Nichols, an Outsider with a shocking connection to their family.

Their encounter launches Fillion into battle with his turbulent past as he rushes to decode the many secrets that bind their future together–a necessity if they are all to survive.

Cultures clash in an unforgettable quest for truth, unfolding a story rich in mystery, betrayal, and love.

Are you ready to discover what is real?

Buy Links

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My thoughts:

When you think of scifi, you usually imagine something that happens in space, far away from Earth. However, this needn’t be the case. You can write really great scifi without leaving Earth, and that’s exactly what Jesikah Sundin did with her Biodome Chronicles.

If you’ve watched Stephen King’s ‘Under the Dome’, you get the idea: there’s a community living under a dome — albeit voluntarily — that is, the first generation did. Their descendants haven’t been given a choice, but they seem content enough.

However, something is about to change: Leaf and his sister Willow discover a few things that make them distrust almost everybody. Their encounter with Outsider Fillian sets in motion a chain of events they can’t control.

We have here some great characters, notably Fillian and Willow, and I can’t wait to find out how the story goes on.

As is wont in a good scifi story, there’s a lot of technology involved, none of which seems impossible, even with today’s standards. Experiencing some of it through the eyes of Leaf and Willow makes it seem quite alien and outlandish, though.

I have to admit that I quite like the idea of living in unpolluted surroundings, where there is no technology that could do harm to nature.  That said, I guess there’d be numerous things I’d miss, so I’d probably not be as content as the idea suggests, and living in a confined space, however intact it might be, probably would drive me mad after a while.

Sunil Patel’s narration was wonderful, he brought the story to life, and I listened every free minute I had. Although there isn’t exactly a cliffhanger, the ending left me wanting for more. I’m very curious about the future developments, and I hope ‘my’ lead characters will be well.

So, if all scifi you know is set in space, you should absolutely try this story, just to give you an idea that there’s more than space battles to a good scifi story. For everybody else: you don’t need to be a geek, or even understand technology to thoroughly enjoy this story.

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

About the Author: Jesikah Sundin

Jesikah Sundin is multi-award winning a sci-fi/fantasy writer mom of three nerdlets and devoted wife to a gamer geek. In addition to her family, she shares her home in Monroe, Washington with a red-footed tortoise and a collection of seatbelt purses. She is addicted to coffee, laughing, and Dr. Martens boots and shoes … Oh! And the forest is her happy place.

Other Interesting tidbits:
Jesikah owns Forest Tales Photography, and boasts a varied background in business administration and marketing, though her heart has always belonged to the arts and sciences. In college, she pursued a degree in geophysics and oceanography. And, as a teenager, she attended a performing arts school for musical theater and opera, performing in several theater productions, while also serving as editor-in-chief of her high school’s newspaper. She is married for over twenty years to her high school sweetheart and raising three awesomely geeky children. When not writing, she’s often found in her garden, hiking, gaming, baking, fangirling over all things Star Wars and Firefly, or attending various conventions in cosplay, notably Comicon and FaerieCon.

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About the Narrator: Sunil Patel

My name is Sunil Patel and I am a professional British male Voice-Over artist. I was born and bred in London, UK, and woke up with a deep, rumbling voice when I neared adulthood. As a result I have pursued the lifestyle of a Voice Actor / Voice-over artist, not wanting my unique voice to go to waste. I have recorded for multinational companies like Herbal Life, and organisations like The Billy Graham Evangelist Association. I have also narrated an audiobook called Legacy: The Biodome Chronicles. I can also do voice-overs in other languages, which includes Hindi and Gujarati.I have been voice trained by coach and mentor, Gary Terrza (https://www.vomasterclass.com), a successful and and well-known voice actor who has been doing his craft for over 25 years. I have also received additional voice training by my acting mentor and coach, Gavin MacAlinden, (https://www.actinggymnasium.co.uk/)

Other interesting facts about myself: I worked as a Police Community Support Officer for the London Metropolitan Police for four years; Travelled to 16 countries; Climbed 3 mountains, including a Himalayan peak; I speak 5 languages and most importantly I am also pursuing a career in acting and have performed in local theater in Camden, London.

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Audio Blogtour/Review: Colorless – Rita Stradling

Author: Rita Stradling

Narrators: Lauri Jo Daniels

Length: 9 hours 22 minutes

Publisher: Rita Stradling, Lauri Jo Daniels

Released: Oct. 2, 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy


In Domengrad, there are rules all must live by: Fear the Gods. Worship the Magicians. Forsake the Iconoclasts.

To Annabelle Klein, the rules laid down by the Magicians are the mere ramblings of stuffy old men. As far as she’s concerned, the historic Iconoclasts, heretics who nearly destroyed the Magicians so long ago, are nothing but myth. She has much more important matters to worry about.

Heiress to a manor mortgaged down to its candlesticks and betrothed to her loathsome cousin, sixteen-year-old Annabelle doubts the gods could forsake her more.

Then Annabelle is informed of her parents’ sudden and simultaneous deaths, and all of the pigment drips out of her skin and hair, leaving her colourless. Within moments, Annabelle is invisible and forgotten by all who know her.

Living like a wraith in her own home, Annabelle discovers that to regain her color she must solve the mystery behind her parents’ murders and her strange transformation.

Meanwhile, hundreds of the Magicians’ monks, with their all-black eyes and conjoined minds, have usurped control of Annabelle’s family manor. An Iconoclast is rumored to be about—a person who they claim goes unseen, unheard, and lost to memory, yet is the greatest threat to all of Domengrad. For the first time in a hundred years, the monks plan to unleash the dire wolves of old.

Their only target: Annabelle.

Rita Stradling is the author of Ensnared, Making Bad Choices, The Deception Dance series, the Dakota Kekoa series and The Fourteen Day Soul Detox Novella Serial. She has a BA in Art History and a particular love for modern and medieval art.

Rita lives with her husband and son in Northern California.

She has an insatiable novel addiction and mostly reads young adult and adult: romance, paranormal, urban fantasy and high fantasy.

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Narrator Bio

Lauri Jo Daniels has had her nose in a book since before she started kindergarten and has been reading stories out loud to anyone who would listen ever since. Her mom has always said that from the moment she was born she has never shut her mouth, so it just makes sense that she would make a living with her voice.

It was this love of reading that inspired her to major in English Lit and later to become a Young Adult Librarian
and it was this career that introduced her to the wonder of audiobooks. She began dreaming of narrating them one day herself. Today that dream has become reality.

​Lauri Jo has a very versatile sound and a knack for character voices, both skills that truly bring a story to life. Those skills and her passion for storytelling have made her dream a reality.

When she’s not busy trying to organize the chaos of 2 teenagers and 6 animals at home, Lauri is producing material from The Huffington Post, Slate, and Playboy for SpokenLayer’s news podcast, SpokenEdition, voicing Alexa flash briefings for Biden’s Briefing, and narrating news and short stories for Medium Members while working on her next audiobook masterpiece.

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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 Rita Stradling. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

The beauty of the fantasy genre is, that no matter which book you listen to (or read for that matter), you can always discover something completely novel. Colorless is no exception. Here, we have a strange world, with magicians, priests, nobles, and dangerous beasts, and iconoclasts. I really love that word, it was a new one to me, but I didn’t have to look it up because the meaning was very clear.

We’re thrown into Annabelle’s transformation straight away. At first, nothing makes sense, information about why it happened, or how, is as inaccessible to the listener as it is to Annabelle herself.

Little by little we get more and more information as Annabelle sets out to discover what is behind it all.

She has a few companions who help her in her quest, most notably Dillon, the stable boy. He is one of the very few people who can actually interact with Annabelle and isn’t intent on delivering her to the monks. His siblings aren’t too pleased, but think they can use Annabelle for their own purposes.

The monks are very creepy, a bit like the Borg from Star Trek. They seem to have a collective mind, they’re threatening and powerful. The whole society has been brainwashed and subdued, and those who try to resist just vanish at some point.

Annabelle’s cousin Tony is one of them: he has to choose between giving Annabelle away, or suffering from what the the monks threaten him with, and it is interesting to see his choice.

At first, he isn’t very likable: snobbish, and paranoid, but by and by we get to know a bit of his past, and we learn that he is just another victim of the circumstances.

It will be very interesting to see the story unfold further in the next book, because I think that something more is going to happen. It was a fulminant finale, but I don’t think this can be all.

Lauri Jo Daniels did a very good job with the various characters. At times, I had to listen very closely to understand certain words, but that is due to my not being a native speaker, and the narrator’s strong American accent sometimes getting in the way.

I would rate the story and the narration at four stars (out of five) each.

Q&A with Author Rita Stradling
  • Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
    • I’ve worked with a couple different narrators over the years, and each time it’s a little different. This time around, I had very little work to do. Lauri asked me some questions in the beginning, and we stayed in contact throughout. She sent me a publish ready product, I reviewed it and pressed publish.
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
    • I was so impressed with Lauri, I basically told her to have at it. She’s such a talented actress, and I didn’t want to squash her talent.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • Lately, I only ‘read’ in the audiobook format. Between writing and life, I just don’t have time to read physical books lately.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • I’d say that it’s not a competition. Do you read books to feel accomplished or just because books make you feel and think (and escape to new lives and worlds)? If it’s solely the first, then, sure, read the books. But, don’t snub the people who read or listen for other reasons. We can all be book lovers together.
  • What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump?
    • I’d say the same answer for both: writing or reading in a different genre or sub-genre. I often hop between genres. Some of my favorites are: Urban Fantasy, YA Fantasy, Contemporary Romance, Cozy Mystery, Epic Fantasy.
  • In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
    • From a marketing perspective, there’s no advantage to writing a standalone (in my opinion). But, I do it because I like to move onto my next crazy idea.
  • What’s your favorite:
    1. Food – Tie – Kraft mac’n’cheese and steak & lobster
    2. Song – Anything by Imagine Dragons
    3. Book – how much time do you have? Oh my goodness . . . I’ll just give you my favorite author: Ilona Andrews.
    4. Television show – Veronica Mars
    5. Movie – V for Vendetta
    6. Band – Imagine Dragons
    7. Sports team – Sorry
    8. City – Victoria, BC
  • What’s next for you?
    • One of my books is part of the Sigils and Spells boxed set. Sigils and Spells is a collection of over twenty Urban Fantasy novels that we’re selling for $0.99 for a limited time. It comes out January 2nd. There are parties and lots of giveaways planned.

      Here’s the blurb:A dangerously beautiful vision of unique worlds that’s sure to leave its mark.
      Cross through the looking glass into Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, and Dystopian realms where you’ll meet valiant heroes, kick-ass heroines, and dangerous creatures waiting to unveil the hidden corners of the universe.
      SIGILS & SPELLS includes more than twenty exclusive novels that roam the sands of Egypt, slip into the shadows of 1940s Los Angeles, voyage to the mystical land of Mabi, and dare to traverse the stars.
      From the deserts of Africa to the streets of San Antonio, mythological adventurers strike out to discover brand new worlds and unravel the mysteries of Earth in a limited edition boxed set offering the diversity and originality you haven’t been able to find before now.
      Dare to enter forbidden realms of unexpected beauty and peril? Secure your copy of SIGILS & SPELLS today – before it disappears forever!
      You can learn more on the facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sigilsandspells/

Ruelle – Where Do We Go From Here

Aurora – Runaway

Skott – Porcelain

Jetta – I’d Love to Change the World

Katy Perry – Rise

Imagine Dragons – Rise Up

Sia – To Be human

NF – Can You Hold Me

Colorless Giveaway: $20 Amazon Gift Card or Colorless Swag

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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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James Maxey: Greatshadow – Review and Giveaway

Author: James Maxey

Narrator: Jake Urry

Series: Dragon Apocalypse, Book One

Length: 13h 20m

Publisher: James Maxey

Released: May 29, 2017

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Greatshadow is the primal dragon of fire, an elemental evil whose malign intelligence spies upon mankind through every candle flame, waiting to devour any careless victim he can claim.

The Church of the Book has assembled a team of twelve battle-hardened adventurers to slay the dragon once and for all. But tensions run high between the leaders of the team who view the mission as a holy duty and the super-powered mercenaries who add power to their ranks, who view the mission primarily as a chance to claim Greatshadow’s vast treasure trove. If the warriors fail to slay the beast, will they doom mankind to death by fire?

 

James Maxey’s mother warned him if he read too many comic books, they would warp his mind. She was right. Now an adult who can’t stop daydreaming, James is unsuited for decent work and ekes out a pittance writing down demented fantasies about masked women, fiery dragons, and monkeys. Oh god, so many monkeys.

​In an effort to figure out how Superman could fly, James read a lot of science, books by Carl Sagan and Stephen Jay Gould and Stephen Hawking. Turns out, Superman probably wasn’t based on any factual information. Who would have guessed? Realizing it was possible to write science fiction without being constrained by the actual rules of science proved liberating for James, and led to the psuedo-science fiction of the Bitterwood series, superhero novels like Nobody Gets the Girl, and the steam-punk visions of Bad Wizard.

​In 2015, James was honored as the Piedmont Laureate by the United Arts Councils representing Orange County, Durham County, and Wake County. This is almost certainly a sign of the ongoing cultural decay gripping the nation.

​James lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina with his lovely and patient wife Cheryl and too many cats.

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Narrator Bio

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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Jake Urry does it again!

My first book narrated by Jake Urry was a psychological thriller, and his way of narrating really got to me. I then listened to his performances of an occult thriller series; so when I found out that he was the narrator of Greatshadow, and fantasy being my favourite genre, I absolutely ‘had’ to listen to it.

Now, the brain is a funny organ: when starting Greatshadow, at first I couldn’t help but picturing Harlan Ulrich, the main protagonist from the occult thriller series. I hasten to add, that this is none of Jake Urry’s fault, his narration was immaculate, as I’ve come to expect from him. So, I had some serious talking to myself, and after a while, Ulrich faded, and Stagger and Infidel came to the fore.

I thoroughly enjoyed the narration, the various characters and voices. The good thing is: I enjoyed the book as much as I enjoyed the narration!

Being an avid reader/listener of fantasy stories, I sometimes wonder what new stuff authors can still come up with, cause it seems I should have read it all by now.

Far from it! On the foreground, this is a book about mankind’s fight against the evil dragon, but there is so much more to it.

The world building is excellent, and the world is populated by very strong and different characters and fascinating races. The narrator’s perspective is a bit of a funny one, because he is dead. Yes, you read that right. And he isn’t the sort of ghost I would have expected, either, because he can still feel like a living being — only he can no longer act like one, which causes him a lot of frustration.

Then there’s Infidel, an invincible woman who doesn’t let anyone push her around.

There are mercenaries with various special abilities, there’s the knight in shining armour (and he isn’t as boring as I expected him to be, either). And of course there’s a representative of the church who claims to hold the one and only truth, and there’s his (and the church’s) antagonist, some sort of Antichrist. And then there’s the mysterious — well, sort of wise man, or wizard — who knows it all.

These are only the main characters, but the sidekicks are just as fascinating and memorable. I hope in a sequel we’ll get to know more about the Black Swan, for instance.

All these characters make for a hell of a mix in their common goal to slay Greatshadow, the most powerful dragon on earth, not least because their motivations for the mission are so very different.

The story is full of surprises, and it is funny in parts, too. The mix of action and reflection, disputes and building of friendships makes for great entertainment, and I highly recommend it.

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

 

 

 

Greatshadow Giveaway: $10 Amazon Gift Card

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Review: Lisa B.Thomas: Sharpe Shooter (Maycroft Mystery #1) – Audio

Lisa B. Thomas: Sharpe Shooter, narrator: Madeline Mrozek, 5:18h, audible audio

Synopsis: When Deena Sharpe loses her job as a teacher, she intends to get back to being a journalist — but that isn’t as easy as she imagined. Luckily for her, a deputy discovers the body of a cold case, and it turns out that the murdered man is her long lost uncle. Her family asks her to find out what happened to her uncle 50 years ago, and so Deena sets out to solve the mystery. A well-known author has his own theory, but Deena isn’t happy with his suggestions. And so a race for the wanted outcome begins.

What I think:

Sharpe Shooter is the first sequel in the Maycroft Mystery Series, and the first cozy mystery novel by Lisa B. Thomas that I listened to.
Madeline Mrozek did a perfect job with the narration, and I absolutely enjoyed the story. The characters were convincing, as was the story. I liked the way our heroine, Deena Sharpe, went about solving this very (c)old case. I like the fact that there is a loving and caring family, even if not all family members see eye to eye.

I love the conspiracy theory which is thrown into the bargain by another party.
The story is well written, and I’m curious about the next case.
It’s a clean story with lots of twists and turns which kept my attention throughout.
I like a good mystery story, and this one easily compares to other good mysteries I listened to.
I received this audiobook at no-cost from Audiobookworm Promotions. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.