Rezension: Isabell May – The Chosen One – Die Ausersehene

Isabell May: The Chosen One: Die Ausersehene; Bastei Lübbe; Okt. 2017; ebook; 244 S., €3,99

Klappentext:

 

Die 17-jährige Skadi ist eine Ausersehene – dazu bestimmt, dem Königreich Kinder zu schenken. Eine Seuche löschte vor Jahrhunderten einen Großteil der Bevölkerung aus und machte fast alle überlebenden Frauen unfruchtbar. Maella, die Regentin, ließ die wenigen fruchtbaren Frauen in eine Burg bringen, wo sie seitdem im Luxus leben und für den Fortbestand des Reichs sorgen. Skadi aber will sich nicht einsperren lassen und flieht.
Verzweifelt irrt sie umher, bis sie zufällig auf den freundlichen Finn trifft. Ihm und seinen Gefährten, darunter der rätselhafte Jaro, schließt sie sich an und erkennt, dass mehr in ihr steckt, als sie bisher überhaupt ahnte …

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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

Nov. 30th:

The Audiobookworm

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Dec. 1st:

Jorie Loves A Story

What Is That Book About

YA/NA Book Divas
Dec. 2nd:

Working Mommy Journal

Loves Great Reads

Dec. 3rd:

The Paperback Pilgrim

Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog

Dec. 4th:

Lomeraniel

Jazzy Book Reviews

Dec. 5th:

The Book Addict’s Reviews

Blätterflüstern

Dec. 6th:

Smada’s Book Smack

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Review and Giveaway: Ghost Owl by Nancy Schoellkopf

Details:

Book Title: Ghost Owl by Nancy Schoellkopf
Category: Adult Fiction, 181 pages
Genre: Literary / Women’s Fiction with magical realism
Publisher: Butterfly Tree Publishing
Release date: October 2017
Tour dates: Nov 20 to Dec 8, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 (There are a few non-explicit sex scenes)

Book Description:

Ghost Owl is a magical story of discovery, as a young woman seeks to understand her potential and confront her own shadow. Mariah Easter wakes up in the middle of the night to discover the world is as bright as noon—but for her eyes only. Urged by her godfather, she embarks on a mission to peer into the dark spaces normally hidden from view, leading her to confront the sinister nature of power, the vulnerability of the ill, and the hidden life of a homeless man: a journey that will bring healing to herself and the man she loves.

This compelling and inspirational tale, the third installment of the Avian Series, invites the reader to ponder the extraordinary treasures hidden in the ordinary events of daily life.

To read more reviews, please visit Nancy Schoellkopf’s page on iRead Book Tours.

 Review

This was the third book in Nancy Schoellkopf’s  Avian series, so not only was I familiar with most of the characters, but with the subject too: a spiritual journey to the main character’s inner self.

Now, I’m not a spiritual person, but I like the idea that there are things in this world which appear mystic and strange to your average human being. I quite enjoyed the first two sequels, so when asked if interested, I readily agreed to read the Ghost Owl.

Where the first two volumes didn’t stretch my imagination too much, this volume was a lot more taxing. I simply cannot imagine anybody actually having an experience like Mariah has, other than maybe suffering from an undiscovered brain tumor. Then again, I’m sure this isn’t to be taken literally, and although I failed to explain the experiences in any way I can understand, I guess those who live spiritual lives won’t have that problem.

Be that as it may, I decided to read this book as the quest of a young woman, recently bereft of her beloved dad, to find out who she is, and what her goal in life is.

As such, the story reads very well, it is interesting, colourful, and even has suspense in it.

Mariah goes missing, and her best friend Rafa and her half brother Dale try to retrace her steps with the help of Mariah’s journals, which Rafa studies meticulously in search of clues to Mariah’s whereabouts.

Meanwhile, Mariah is blissfully unaware of the frantic search for her, and experiences a lot of ‘Oh’-moments. When it is getting too much for her to cope with, she returns to her home and the people she loves, and she does know a few things she hadn’t be aware of before.

At first, we’re always a step or two behind Mariah, following her journals, but at some point we catch up with her. It is here that things get quite fantastic, but they’re still interesting. This book will certainly stay with me for a time while I try to figure out what exactly it is it wants to tell me. I know there is a message in there for all of us somewhere, and this message is wrapped in an interesting story, fluently written and very readable.

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

 

Buy the Book:

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the Author: 

 

Nancy Schoellkopf is the author of the Avian Series of novels including Yellow-Billed Magpie and Red-Tailed Hawk, as well as the short story collection Rover and Other Magical Tales. She has been telling stories and writing poems for many lifetimes. It goes without saying that she’s needed a second income, so this time around she happily taught amazing children in special education classes in two urban school districts in Sacramento, California. A full time writer now, she enjoys lavishing attention on her cats, her garden and her intriguing circle of family and friends.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

 
Enter the Giveaway
Ends Dec 16

 

 

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: The Painter’s Apprentice by Laura Morelli

Book Details:

Book Title: The Painter’s Apprentice: A Novel of 16th-Century Venice
Author: Laura Morelli
Category: Adult Fiction, 482 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: The Scriptorium
Release date: November 15, 2017
Tour dates: Oct 16 to Nov 17, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 (some adult situations but no sex or explicit violence)

Book Description:

Would you rather sacrifice your livelihood, your lover, or your life? When the Black Death comes knocking on your door, you’d better decide quickly.Venice, 1510. Maria Bartolini wants nothing more than to carry on her father’s legacy as a master gilder. Instead, her father has sent her away from the only home she’s ever known to train as an apprentice to Master Trevisan, a renowned painter.

When the painter’s servants uncover the real reason why Maria has been sent away, they threaten to reveal a secret that could tear down her family and the future of their trade. She is forced to buy the servants’ silence, but as their greed steadily grows, Maria resorts to more desperate measures. She questions whether her heart’s desire is worth risking her family, her trade, and her future, but Maria’s sacrifices may amount to nothing if the plague arrives on her father’s doorstep before she is able to get back home.

From the author of the award-winning The Gondola Maker comes a rich tale of Renaissance Venice, a heroine with a lust for life, and love against all odds.

 

 

Buy the Book:

 

 

 


 

 

Meet the Author:

 

LAURA MORELLI holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, has taught college students in the U.S. and in Italy, and currently produces art history lessons for TED-Ed. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and has contributed pieces about art and authentic travel to CNN Radio, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, and other media. Laura is the author of the Authentic Arts guidebook series that includes the popular book Made in Italy. Her fiction brings the stories of art history to life. Her debut novel, The Gondola Maker, won an IPPY for Best Historical Fiction and a Benjamin Franklin Award.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

 
Win a signed paperback of The Painter’s Apprentice and a $20 Amazon gift card (open to USA only)
Ends Nov 25

 

 

Akram El-Bahay: Bücherstadt

Akram El-Bahay: Bücherstadt – Die Bibliothek der Flüsternden Schatten; Bastei Lübbe, 384 S., €14,00

Mit dem Auftakt zu der Bücherreihe um die “Bibliothek der flüsternden Schatten” ist Akram El-Bahay ein sehr schöner Einstieg gelungen. Wie der Titel verspricht, dreht es sich tatsächlich um eine Bücherstadt — und die gefährlichen Geheimnisse die diese in sich birgt.
Das orientalische Flair kommt sehr gut herüber, man fühlt sich ein bisschen wie in 1001 Nacht. Wir lernen diverse Fabelwesen kennen, manche sind gefährlich, andere sind eher hilflos, und gefährdet sind sie alle.

Was mir nicht so gut gefallen hat, sind die Charaktere, bzw deren Entwicklung. Einige sind nicht wiklich glaubwürdig, andere haben viel Potential, werden dann aber mehr oder minder ‘fallengelassen’ — möglicherweise, um in einer der geplanten Fortsetzungen eine wichtigere Rolle zu spielen.
Einige Fragen werden geklärt, aber die Art und Weise wie das gemacht wird hat mir persönlich nicht so zugesagt. Irgendwie überschlägt sich am Schluss des Buches alles. Das hält zwar die Spannung hoch, ist aber unbefriedigend gelöst und auch etwas verwirrend. Außerdem bleiben sehr viele Fragen offen, und der zweite Band ist noch nicht einmal geschrieben. Dafür ziehe ich generell einen Stern ab, denn als Solo wäre mir das Ende zu schwach.
Ich habe mich aber trotzdem sehr gut unterhalten, bin abgetaucht in eine orientalische Fabelwelt mit tollen Ideen, und würde das Buch trotz kleiner Schwächen weiterempfehlen, aber vermutlich wartet man besser auf die Fortsetzung bevor man sonst am Ende eine sehr lange Wartezeit hat.

 

Ich möchte mich ganz herzlich bei Bastei Lübbe für das Rezensionsexemplar sowie für die Leserunde bedanken.

Ursula Poznanski: Aquila – Rezension

Aquila Hörbuch

 

Inhalt:

Nika wacht in ihrer Wohnung auf und kann sich nicht erinnern, wie sie da hin gekommen ist. Sie ist fast vollständig bekleidet, und ihre Kleidung ist schmutzig und feucht.

Schnell stellt sie fest, dass sie einen Filmriss hat — aber das ist nicht das schlimmste — es ist nicht Sonntag, sondern Dienstag. Ihre Mitbewohnerin ist nicht da; desgleichen sind Nikas Hausschlüssel, Handy und Pass verschwunden und Nika kann auch über ihren Verbleib nichts in Erfahrung bringen. Dafür entdeckt sie kryptische Mitteilungen die sie offenbar selbst aufgeschrieben hat.

Nika macht sich daran, die Botschaften zu entschlüsseln. Was wird sie in Erfahrung bringen? Was hat sie in der verlorenen Zeit gemacht? Sie muss mit dem schlimmsten rechnen…

Meine Meinung:

Nachdem mich Elanus voriges Jahr nicht 100% überzeugen konnte, war ich ziemlich gespannt auf Aquila. Diesmal wählte ich die Hörbuchfassung. Laura Maire liest das Buch hervorragend. Die weibliche Stimme passt natürlich super, da wir zur Abwechselung mal wieder eine weibliche Protagonistin haben.
Natürlich kann man sich fragen, wieso denn jemand, der kaum italienisch spricht — und noch weniger versteht — ausgerechnet in Italien studiert, und sich dann dort auch nur mit deutschen Kommilitonen umgibt, aber das nur nebenbei.
Die Geschichte fängt recht langsam an, und wirklich schnell wird sie auch nie, aber das ist natürlich durch Nikas Gedächtnisverlust bedingt — die Erinnerungen wollen sich einfach nicht einstellen.
So weiß man bis zum Schluss nicht, wer jetzt was gemacht oder nicht gemacht hat, wem Nika vertrauen kann, und wie das alles zusammenhängt.

Die Spannung ist also garantiert, und sie bleibt auch bis zuletzt erhalten.
Im Gegensatz zu ‘Layers’, dessen Protagonist auch einen Teil seiner Erinnerung verloren hat, und wo absichtlich darauf verzichtet wurde, eine Stadt festzulegen, spielt Aquila in einer bestimmten Stadt, nämlich in Siena.
Man bekommt direkt Lust, Siena einmal zu besuchen.
Fazit: ein rundum gelungenes Jugendbuch aus der Feder von Ursula Poznanski.

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.

 

 

Aug. 23rd:
Shh, I Am Reading
CGB Blog Tours
The Literary Apothecary

Aug. 24th:
The Bookworm Lodge

Aug. 25th:
Jazzy Book Reviews
Between the Coverz

Aug. 26th:
Tara’s Book Addiction

Aug. 27th:
Buried Under Books
Seitenwinde

Aug. 28th:
Jorie Loves A Story
Lomeraniel
Elsie’s Audiobook Digest

Aug. 29th:
The Book Addict’s Reviews
Jorie Loves A Story
Wall-to-Wall Books

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