Thursday, 31 August 2017

Audiobook Review: Slumbering by C. S. Johnson!


    Slumbering Audiobook
  • Written by: C. S. Johnson
  • Narrated by: Nicholas Santasier
  • Length: 6 hrs and 14 mins 
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release Date:07-17-17
  • Publisher: C. S. Johnson
  • Sixteen-year-old Hamilton Dinger leads a charmed life. He's got the grades for the top of the class, the abilities of a star athlete and Tetris player, and the charisma to get away with anything. Everything seems to be going along perfectly, including his plans to ask out Gwen Kessler, as he enters into tenth grade at Apollo Central High School.
  • Everything, that is, until a meteor crashes into the city, releasing the Seven Deadly Sinisters and their leader, Orpheus, from their celestial prison, and awakening Hamilton's longtime dormant supernatural abilities. Suddenly Hamilton finds himself reluctantly allied with his self-declared mentor, Elysian, a changeling dragon, and Starry Knight, a beautiful but dangerous warrior, as they seek to protect the souls of Apollo City from the Sinisters and their evil intentions.
  • Can Hamilton overcome his ignorance and narrow-mindedness to see what is truly real? Can he give up his self-proclaimed entitlement to happiness in order to follow the call of a duty he doesn't want? More importantly, will he willingly sacrifice all he has to find out the truth?
My Thoughts:

This book was really interesting, in the way that it made me feel, which I'll get to in a bit!! So this is focused on Hamilton Dinger. He is a above average student whose life is going good... that is till a meteor crashes into his town and awakes some dormant powers he had, but it also awakens other things, and now Hamiltons life is forever changed!!! Whether for the better you will have to read it and see.

I devoured this book, which I'm quite surprised with because starting out I love/hated the MC. Hamilton. He is so arrogant, self absorbed and obnoxious that it was hard to connect with him, but he is also incredibly likable too. I honestly didn't know what to think of him, but as the story unfolded you get to see who he truly is, which isn't always nice but he had a certain charm and charisma that made him.... interesting. My feelings were all over the place when it came to him.

Even though the plot seemed very mundane, most of it is about Hamiltons life before the meteor, it was relatively fast paced and held my attention throughout. I was intrigued enough with everything happening to read it over the course of a day, which is awesome because it's at over 6 hours, it's pretty long. I just found it so hard to put down and listened to it late into the night!!

In all, a really good listen and I'm looking forward to diving into book 2 soon.

Nicholas Santasier did a good job. He was easy to listen to and read it well, I just found he lacked in the performance part!! It's important that a narrator can draw you into the story by his tones, voices and cadences, but this narrator lacked the ability to really make the world come alive. He needed to perform more and add more personality to the characters and world.

I was voluntarily provided this audiobook for free from the author, narrator, or publisher. This in no way affected nor influenced my thoughts.

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Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Audiobook Review: Level 6 by Bobby Akart!


    Pandemic: Level 6 Audiobook
  • Written by: Bobby Akart
  • Narrated by: John David Farrell Kris Adams
  • Length: 7 hrs and 52 mins 
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release Date:08-21-17
  • Publisher: Bobby Akart Inc.
  • Deadly outbreaks of diseases make headlines, but not at the start.
  • Every pandemic begins small, subtle, and in faraway places.
  • When it arrives, it spreads across oceans and continents, like the sweep of nightfall, killing millions, or even billions.
  • Be prepared to get very, very paranoid.
  • A new post-apocalyptic medical thriller fiction series from author Bobby Akart (The Blackout Series, The Boston Brahmin series, and the Prepping for Tomorrow series). The events depicted in The Pandemic Series are fictional. They are, however, based upon historical fact.
  • In Beginnings, book one of The Pandemic Series, a deadly plague virus has been introduced across the glove by ISIS terrorists who are waging the mother of all wars - The Final Jihad. Dr. Mackenzie Hagan, a disease detective and epidemiologist at the CDC-Atlanta and Nathan Hunter, an off-the-books operative for the mysterious Project Artemis within the Department of Defense, join forces to both identify the disease, but also to locate its source.
  • In The Innocents, book two of The Pandemic Series, ISIS terrorists continued to wage the Final Jihad, infecting innocent people around the world. The highly contagious form of the plague has been genetically modified - to be the perfect killer.
  • In Level 6, book three of The Pandemic Series, the pandemic has hit a brick wall, but not because it's burned itself out. Rather, it's running out of victims. Social distancing is the only way to avoid a gruesome fate. Unfortunately, in a dystopian world where resources are scarce and scavenging is a way of life, every moment away from where you live could result in your death from either the disease, or your fellow man.
  • This is an ingenious, inventive post-apocalyptic thriller about the threats we face from a global pandemic and the use of infectious diseases by terrorists as they wage jihad around the world.

My Thoughts: 

Here we are, 8 weeks into the Pandemic, and most of the worlds population is either sick or dead. Supplies in shops are running low, people are beginning to realise just how bad it is. The president is hunkered in his bunker but is becoming increasingly erratic, Level 6 is in full affect and life is on the brink. Meanwhile Mac and Hunter are trying to get into a routine and Mac and her mum are setting up a makeshift lab to try to find either a cure or a vaccine. Life in their little mountain retreat is plodding along. Something happens and one of Mac's loved ones becomes infected, so it's a race against time for Mac!

This series is simply amazing. The attention to detail is phenomenal. I felt like I was watching a documentary while reading and learned a lot!! The situations the characters find themselves in was frighteningly real and you find yourself immersed in their story. You'll laugh and cry along with them and just find yourself a part of their world. We get to see more of the characters struggles in this as they try to survive. 

Character wise, what I love most about this series are the characters. Mac is so smart and resourceful, her mum and dad are awesome and then there's "billionaire batman" Hunter, who just rocks!! The characters are all well written and developed and have made their way into my heart.

There really isn't much else I can say about this because I would spoil it for others so I'll just say that this series is one of my favourites and I highly highly recommend it!! If you love medical thrillers or viral outbreaks then you will love this! Now this does end on a massive cliffhanger but it's ok because I know book 4 is coming soon to audio and I bought the ebook already!!! Go read it, you won't be disappointed!!! 

I have to say that at this stage, I couldn't picture anyone else narrating this. Both the narrators were awesome and really read this well. They captured the characters feelings perfectly and really brought the anxiety and heartbreak of the characters to life. 

I was voluntarily provided this audiobook for free from the author, narrator, or publisher. This in no way affected nor influenced my thoughts.


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Narration: 

The Keep of Ages by Caragh M. O Brien Nerd Blast and Giveaway!


Series: The Vault of Dreamers Trilogy (Book 3)
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (August 29, 2017)


Synopsis 
In the fast-paced, high-stakes conclusion to Caragh M. O'Brien's Vault of Dreamers trilogy, Rosie travels to a derelict theme park to shut down dream mining once and for all.
Driven by fear when Dean Berg kidnaps her family, Rosie Sinclair strikes out across the country to rescue them. When an elusive trail leads her to Grisly Valley, the contaminated ruin of a horror theme park, Rosie has to consider that Berg may once again be manipulating her every move to make her fearful, priming her for a final, lethal dream mining procedure. As Rosie struggles to outmaneuver Berg, she unearths the ultimate vault of dreamers and the hint of a consciousness more powerful and dangerous than any she's imagined before. Faced with unspeakable suffering and otherworldly beauty, Rosie must discover how to trust her mind, her friends, and reality itself.
Propulsive and deeply speculative, The Keep of Ages concludes the Vault of Dreamers trilogy with stirring possibilities for what it means to be alive.


Praise for THE VAULT OF DREAMERS Series

“A sharp novel about the ways in which everyone can be manipulated, either through editing or one's own desire to go the easiest path.” ―BCCB

“Like O'Briens Birthmarked trilogy, this dystopian, sci-fi, psychological-thriller hybrid raises ethical and moral questions about science. This might have been a difficult story to pull off, given the environment, but with a likable narrator who is thoroughly unimpressed with herself, it works . . . this should have wide appeal.” ―Booklist

“Fans looking for a science fiction novel that is not heavy on the science fiction or who want something vaguely dystopian will enjoy this title.” ―VOYA

“A mixture of science fiction and contemporary fiction, this novel is an interesting addition to both genres.” ―School Library Journal

“A fast, satisfying psychological thriller . . . The sudden cliffhanger will polarize readers.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Like viewers of The Forge Show, readers will want to keep watching Rosie.” ―Publishers Weekly


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caragh M. O’Brien is the author of the BIRTHMARKED trilogy and THE VAULT OF DREAMERS series, both from Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Ms. O’Brien was educated at Williams College and earned her MA in the Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University. Her young adult science fiction has been honored by the YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, the Amelia Bloomer Award, the Junior Library Guild, and numerous state reading lists. A former high school English teacher, she now writes young adult novels full time from her home in rural Connecticut.
Photo Credit: Tomy O’Brien 2014

FACEBOOK: https://www.instagram.com/caraghmobrien/




--Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

10 Winners will receive a Copy of THE KEEP OF AGES by Caragh M. O'Brien

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Uncontacted by Rick Chesler Review!

35689658Title: Uncontacted
Author: Rick Chesler
Pages: 288
Published: August 17, 2017
Source: From Author
TWO PRIMITIVE TRIBES LIVING HALF A WORLD APART.
ONE GUARDED REVELATION THAT WAS NEVER MEANT TO BE SEEN.
AND A CALAMITY ABOUT TO BE UNLEASHED.
In the jungle cities of the Amazon, thousands of tribal descendants suddenly drop dead at the exact same moment for no apparent reason. Strange truths start to emerge that lead respected ecologist, Antonio Medina, into the deepest reaches of the rain forest, to a tribe that has seen virtually zero contact with the outside world.
On the other side of the planet, in the Indian Ocean, anthropologist Stel Foster is on a similar quest. When he learns of unlikely ties to the tribe in Brazil that his long-time professional rival, Antonio Medina, is investigating, he agrees to work together with the ecologist.
Antonio isn’t sure he can trust Foster, but together they are forced to solve a perilous puzzle, with the most alarming piece being two halves of a strange artifact safeguarded by both tribes for thousands of years.
Even worse, a powerful secret society will stop at nothing to control the ultimate truth the artifact holds. With options running short and time even shorter, our comprehension of what it means to be human is about to shift forever. 

My Thoughts:

Antonio Medina, an ecologist, is in the Brazilian rain forest when he gets a call from the Brazilian president to say that thousands of tribal people suddenly drop dead at the exact same moment for no apparent reason. They all have the same birth date too, February 29th. Antonio is tasked with checking on some of the more remote tribes to see if they experienced the same thing. He sets off in his light aircraft and goes further than he has ever gone, when suddenly his aircraft is being shot at. He doesn't know the tribe in this area so sets his craft down to see can he make contact. What he finds is an Uncontacted tribe that speak no language he is familiar with. He thinks he can make history here by being the first person to find this tribe, but when they bring him back to their village under guard, he finds someone he never dreamed of. He also finds out that the tribe seems to be guarding something in a cave. He slips away to investigate and finds.... something hidden in its debts.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, anthropologist Stel Foster has been sent to a remote island because there is a tribe there that is very hostile to fishermen and Stel is tasked with making contact with them to see if they can make peace. He discovers another Uncontacted tribe that speak a language he doesn't know. When he gets a phone call from Antonio explaining what he found, he realises that this tribe seems to be eerily similar to the one Antonio found.

I'm a massive fan of this authors other works and eagerly dived into this. It is well written and entertaining and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it!!

Character wise, I really liked Antonio. He followed his fathers footsteps and enjoys being out in the field. He doesn't really have much to do with tribes because he is an ecologist, but has had plenty of dealings with some during his time. He is unsure what to do with the uncontacted tribe he finds so calls his colleague Foster to hear his thoughts. I liked that he knew his limits and knew when he needed help. Stel on the other hand was very much big headed!! He liked the limelight and was hard to like, but he was willing to help Antonio!

Plot wise, this was fast paced and intriguing. It went in ways I wasn't expecting and kept me entertained throughout. There are parts where you have to suspend your disbelief but other than that, it's a great story with some amazing descriptive writing!! I loved how much detail the author put into the story because it made the setting very vivid.

In all, an engaging read. It's entertaining and adventurous!!


Sunday, 27 August 2017

Undressed by Kimberly Derting Book Blitz and Giveaway!


Undressed
Kimberly Derting
(The Men of West Beach, #1)
Publication date: August 27th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Can two people whose dreams have been cast aside find a new passion…together?
No one ever expected straight-A student Lauren Taylor to make waves. But that was the old Lauren, before she went to college and became an online stripper to make ends meet. Now, Lauren is on the run with a secret and a bag of cash, fleeing landlocked Arizona for the beaches of California.
Will Gabaldon was one of the hottest surfers on the circuit, but fate had something else in mind. When a surfing accident shattered his budding career, Will was forced into a life of tending bar and doing odd jobs just to survive.
A swim instructor with secrets like Will is the last thing Lauren wants. A distraction like Lauren is the last thing Will needs.
But soon, both discover there’s one thing more dangerous than the wave that ended Will’s career: Love.
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SNEAK PEEK:

I wanted to tell him he was doing this body shot thing all wrong. It was supposed to be done fast—salt, tequila, lime. One, two, three.
Rapid fire.
Not this leisurely investigation of my body. But I was convinced that if I tried to talk the words would get caught behind the massive lump clogging my throat.
The suction of his mouth made me shudder, and despite myself my body betrayed me. Fiery tendrils unfolded, and as he lapped at the tequila, drinking it up, I couldn’t help imagining what it would be like if his mouth moved lower . . . lower . . . lower . . .



Author Bio:
Kimberly has been in love with LOVE since the first grade, when she would make “boyfriends” hold her hand during recess . . . whether they wanted to or not. In high school, she discovered romance novels and she’s been hooked ever since!
She is the author of the award-winning THE BODY FINDER series, THE PLEDGE trilogy, THE TAKING trilogy, and UNDRESSED (her first book in The Men Of West Beach series). She's also co-written the soon-to-be-released picture books about a girl who loves science! Her books have been translated into 15 languages, and both THE BODY FINDER and THE PLEDGE were YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selections.
These days, she spends entirely too much time ordering stuff off the Internet, binge-watching Netflix, and holding hands with a guy who doesn’t have to be forced (her husband).

GIVEAWAY!
Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • $50 Amazon gift card + signed copy of Undressed

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Saturday, 26 August 2017

Audiobook Tour and Giveaway: Greatshadow by James Maxey!

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?

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2viEQnG
Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Greatshadow-Audiobook/B072C57RBN?qid=1499455747&sr=1-1
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35892734-greatshadow


About the Author:
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.

WebsiteBlogGoodreadsAmazon

About the Narrator:
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.

WebsiteFacebookTwitterSoundCloud
   
My Thoughts:

Whilst being chased through the jungle by pygmies, Stagger and Infidel have no choice but to jump off a cliff into the water. Unfortunately Stagger accidentally stabs and kills himself with his knife. He then becomes bound to the knife and has to go where it goes. Infidel, is distraught but gathers up his knife and flees. She needs a job so joins a quest to slay the mighty Greatshadow, but the gang of unlikely accomplices have there work cut out for them trying to slay an elemental Dragon. 

I have to say that I did not expect to love this as much as I did!! The author has created a very vivid and intrinsic world and one I absolutely adored! There is so much happening within the pages that it was impossible to put down. The world the author created was extremely well crafted and pleasantly unique. 

Character wise, we have a wide variety of them but each was well written and developed. We have a warrior whom is nearly indestructible, a priest who can sense lies and other untruths, he is also powerful in his own right, we have a deceiver who can make you believe anything, a man who can bring armor into being just by opening a book and more, plus we have dragons!!! It was amazing to read about them all.

The plot was fast paced and so entertaining. The quest they set out on is impossible because everyone who has tried has failed, plus, how can you defeat the Dragon of fire? I also loved how the story was told!! It was told via Staggers POV, even though he is a ghost!! It was a refreshing way for it to be told and I thoroughly enjoyed Stagger!

In all, an intriguing, exciting and adventurous tale and I'm so glad it seems to be a series. I want to know more about the world and characters!! 

Jake Urry surpassed himself with his narration here. Every book I've listened to that he has narrated has been a 5 star narration, but this one was even better. The sheer amount of tones and voices he had was phenomenal! He was goofy and silly when needed (the goons) and tense and serious when called for. His voice for the dragons were amazing and he nailed the performance of the whole book. Amazing, amazing narration!!!

    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.

Story: 

Narration:  


Q&A with Narrator Jake Urry
  • When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
It was around the time I listened to Samuel West’s narration of Nineteen Eighty-Four, in my first year of University (2009). It wasn’t the first audiobook I’d listened to, but it was the first that made me think ‘I’d love to do that for a job!’ I never really thought I’d get the opportunity though, and even though I was training to be an actor I thought it would be a really difficult trade to get into for someone in their twenties!
  • How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
After leaving uni, and going through the typical ‘what do I do with my life now??’ phase, I decided to take a risk and get some recording equipment, then started auditioning for work. It was after a few months of mixed success and getting disheartened by endless corporate and cheesy advertising auditions that I stumbled upon ACX, Amazon’s platform for audiobook creation, and realised that they’d made a way for people like me to audition and get audiobook work in a really straightforward way.
  • Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?
Not really once I’d figured out how ACX works, they make it really easy, and I chose books that I thought I could bring something to and be passionate about. A handful of authors trusted me with their work early on and it blossomed from there! Aside from ACX, the thing that helped me the most was that I’d been listening to all sorts of audiobooks for a long time, so had a bit of a head start because I knew first hand what makes people enjoy audiobooks.
  • A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
I wouldn’t say it was essential, but it definitely helps, especially when it comes to coming up with character voices. When I started I already had a backlog of different characters I’d played and some of them ended up in my narrations, or I could just tweak them to suit the new character. It’s not cheating, honest!
  • What type of training have you undergone?
I did a BA course in Acting, which involved a lot of theatre and some voiceover work, so it was really good preparation for narrating and coming up with voices.
  1. How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
It can be difficult, because like any self-employment there’s no one there to keep you on track and manage your time for you. But I keep the energy up by choosing books that I really love the sound of, and finding characters that I love voicing. And I set myself really obscure targets, like after my next title comes out, I’ll have over a million words of audio that I’ve produced! It doesn’t really mean anything but it gives me a kind of ‘psychological high five’.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
Yes, I got hooked on audiobooks with Harry Potter (the US Jim Dale versions, not that the Stephen Fry one’s aren’t amazing!) and was completely blown away by how Jim Dale brought to life the story and characters in a different way than when I sat and read the books. I got hooked on audiobooks because it’s a format that let me take in the story more fully that when I read physical books. I see them as two completely different experiences and today I listen to as many audiobooks as I can!
  • What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
My favourite moments are voicing characters that I particularly enjoy, and coming up with interesting things to do with characters that bring them to life. I particularly love voicing villains, it’s a common thing actors say but villains are really fun! The thing I enjoy the least isn’t actually the narrating but the editing. I edit all my audiobooks and it can be a real chore, getting the pacing right and weeding out mistakes, agonizing over it for hours when I really just want to be narrating! But in the end it’s all worth it when I wrap up a project, especially if it’s a big one like Greatshadow!
  • What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?
One thing I love when reading is when a tense moment is approaching, and I can slow down and really build up the tension. I love it when this happens in audiobooks and it makes me just stop whatever I’m doing and pay full attention to the story, and to think that I could have this effect on listeners is really rewarding.
  • Is there a particular genre you feel unsuited for? Have you ever declined a project because you didn’t think you were right for it?
I’ve had a few requests to do romance novels, but I haven’t taken any on because I personally don’t really enjoy the genre. I think it’s important that a narrator is passionate about the books they narrate, and if I did romance it would just be for the money and probably wouldn’t have great results because I wouldn’t feel connected to the story. Also I wouldn’t want to narrate anything I’d have to tell my mum not to listen to!
  • What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
Greatshadow appealed to me because although it’s an epic fantasy, it has lots of humour in it and every chapter is a rollercoaster of action, tension, and drama with moments of reflection and vivid world-building in between. The characters are so strong that coming up with their voices was a joy, and I found the fantasy setting fascinating. Also, it’s told in first person by a character who dies in the first chapter, so although I’ve done a few ghost stories, this was my first story actually told by a ghost!
  • How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
It varies, I know some writer’s like to have more input into the audiobook than others, and I’m happy with whatever level of interaction they want. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great authors like Richard Storry (a lovely gent who I’ve met in person while I was in a show in London), John Nicholl, and Ambrose Ibsen, all of which I’ve recorded multiple titles for and who have all trusted me with their words. I’ve had a few occasions where authors have asked me to change pronunciations, but no one’s asked me to change a whole character’s voice yet!
  • Who are your “accent inspirations”?
Oooh there are a lot to choose from! There are so many unique voices that I’ve admired over the years, and they’re usually older British actors like Ian McKellen, John Hurt, Richard Burton, Tim Curry, Christopher Lee, Anthony Hopkins and John Cleese - that’s probably why I ‘age up’ in my narrative voice and when listeners see a photo of me they usually let me know they were expecting me to be at least 60! When it comes to finding accents for characters I sometimes think about my favourite films and steal or alter accents from them, particularly if they’re American characters. Bagheera from Jungle Book, Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs and Frank N Furter from Rocky Horror are just a few of the character’s I’ve ‘borrowed’ from!
  • How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
Luckily with Greatshadow, the author, James Maxey provided me with a list of characters and their descriptions. The descriptions were so vivid that I came up with the voices fairly quickly. They are mostly ‘big’ characters, so I could feel comfortable going over the top and creating a really diverse cast.
  • What types of things are harmful to your voice?
Being a fairly quiet person in my everyday life I’d say that the worst thing you can do to your voice is not use it. The saying ‘if you don’t use it you lose it’ really applies here - I’ve noticed that if I have a few days off narrating, it can take an hour or so before I feel comfortable recording. If I take a few weeks off (usually if I’ve got something huge to edit), it can take longer. Basically the more I talk, the more rounded, deep and gravelly my voice becomes, which is what a lot of people enjoy in a narrator, particularly in the genres I work in.
  • Has anyone ever recognized you from your voice?
Sadly not. Hopefully one day they’ll let me do the London Tube announcements and I can freak people out by repeating them in person on the platforms, but at the moment it’s just a dream!
  • Have there been any characters that you really connected with?
The character that I felt for the most was Kathy in Bully Boy Blue by John Nicholl. The character was in an abusive relationship with her policeman husband, and the story focused on her escape from her suffocating life after she found out she was pregnant. It’s a short novella but you really get a sense of the horrific situation she is in, and it was important for me to portray her in a realistic and sensitive way. A lot of male narrators tend to portray women with high pitched shrill voices, but I get really peeved when I hear that happening, so when a strong female character comes along I jump at the opportunity to find a realistic voice for them.
  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
I definitely would, but as I found out when I listened to Stephen King’s 11.22.63 it could be risky! Aside from saving president’s lives, I’d use it to go and see life in Dickens time. The world changed a lot in the early 20th century, and I think it would be fascinating to see Europe before it was ripped apart by two huge wars. I’d also love to see Shakespeare’s company performing for Queen Elizabeth I, that’d be an acting lesson I wouldn’t want to miss.
  • How does audiobook narration differ from other types of voiceover work you've done?
I’ve not done a huge amount of voiceover work aside from audiobooks, but I like the fact that I can set how much pressure I put on myself, instead of going into a studio for a strict amount of time and having to get things perfect straight away. It’s also a lot more rewarding telling stories than recording corporate videos!
  • Do you read reviews for your audiobooks?
I do, often because I send out review copies and want to see how people have taken what I’ve produced.
  • If so, which ones stand out to you most, positive or negative?
Honestly, whatever any actor might say, the negative ones always stand out more. It can be hard not to take it personally, but over time you accept that you can’t please everyone’s tastes, and if you have to search through pages of positives to find the odd negative review then something is going well.
  • What type of the review comments do you find most constructive?
Generally ones with really specific criticisms that point out things I can improve on. To get a perspective on the audiobook as a whole I look at the performance rating on Audible, so for instance if it’s had 100 ratings and is averaging 4.5/5 then I’m pleased with it, but then I go through and look for criticisms and stuff to work on.
  • Who is your “dream author” that you would like to record for?
I’d love to narrate anything by Orwell or Dickens, but they’ve all been done! Thinking more contemporary I love a lot of books by Robert Harris, and would have loved to have worked on something like Conclave or Ghost - they’re both amazing audiobooks.
  • If you could narrate one book from your youth what would it be and why?
It would have to be The Hobbit, it’s just full of memories for me and characters that would be so fun to voice! I love the Rob Inglis version but I think they could use an update, so I won’t give up hope!
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
I would say ‘stick to books then’. Honestly I think they’re missing the point, which is that you get the exact same information listening as you do reading, it’s just easier and more enjoyable to absorb for a lot of people in audio form. When this comes up I also like to point out that stories were told verbally for thousands of years before Gutenberg invented the printing press, so really audiobooks are closer to ‘the real thing’. Books are great, I love them too, but most people who argue this point haven’t even tried listening to an audiobook, or have had one bad experience, so it can be hard to reason with them.
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
I would say firstly, before you try to narrate anything, listen to at least 100 audiobooks from all sorts of genres. This might sound like a lot, but think about how much theatre, film and TV you watch to help prepare for other forms acting, the worst thing you can do is think “it’s easy, the words are right in front of you, all I have to do is read them.” And the second thing I would say is a bit more cheesy, but I’ve found it to be true - if you really want to do it for a living, then keep going until it works!
  • What’s next for you?
I’ve got a lot of work on at the moment, two more titles by Ambrose Ibsen in the pipeline, one more by John Nicholl and another by Richard Storry. Then a two week break in Switzerland before I carry on trying to get up to 30 titles in total on Audible by the new year.
  • Bonus question: Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio?
Unfortunately most of the funny occurrences are unrepeatable, where I’ll misread something and accidently replace it with an obscenity, which I then have to triple check is edited out! I think the most embarrassing thing I’ve done was last year, while I was uploading the chapters of a book for the author to approve, it was getting late and I accidently uploaded the song Tiny Dancer by Elton John instead of one of the chapters. I had to explain I just clicked on the wrong thing, but it was pretty embarrassing!  

Giveaway:

  Greatshadow Giveaway: $10 Amazon Gift Card

Schedule: 
Aug. 20th: Seitenwinde, Reading for the Stars and Moon
Aug. 21st: Dab of Darkness
Aug. 22nd: Shh I Am Reading, CGB Blog Tours
Aug. 23rd: Notes From 'Round the Bend, Adventures Thru Wonderland
Aug. 24th: terriluvsbooks, Jazzy Book Reviews
Aug. 25th: The Book Addict's Reviews, Lomeraniel, The Page Unbound
Aug. 26th: WTF Are You Reading?, My World in Words and Pages, Book Lover's Life, Elsie's Audiobook Digest



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Thursday, 24 August 2017

The Deadly Sun by H.J Lawson Blog Tour and Giveaway!


The Deadly Sun (The Sanction Series #1)
by H.J. Lawson
Genre: YA Dystopian/Scifi
Release date: August 21st 2017

Summary:
Skylier is desperate to escape her underground confines and save her mother’s life.
On a school visit, she hears something she’s not supposed to and now she realizes that not only was her whole life a lie, but that she is in grave danger.
She doesn’t know who to trust and her enemies are everywhere. Now she is in a race against time to save not only her life, but her mother's and those she cares about.
And if she fails, she'll suffer a fate worse than death...
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Upcoming books in the Sanction Series!

The Rising Tides (The Sanction Series #2) – Releases August 21st 2017




The Sanction Games (The Sanction Series #3) – Releases November 21st 2017



Series Buy Links:

Book One – The Deadly Sun

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074Q5Y9HQ

Book Two - The Rising Tide

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074V5WDR4

Book Three - The Sanction Games

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074V5HS1B

About the Author

I was born in Lancaster, England. Growing up in a single parent household with five other siblings was difficult but at the same time character building.
As a young child I found a passion for drawing and writing, which has stayed with me into adulthood. I graduated from the University of Central Lancashire, England with a BA(Hons) in fashion design.
At aged twenty seven, my husband and I packed up our belongings for our lifelong dream to move to California. Our America dream was completed with the birth of our daughter.
A new job opportunity opened up New York, and we decided to relocate to Long Island, NY, where we currently reside.
My books are a mixture of thriller, action, and dystopian. If you’re looking for a good place to start, take a look at War Kids series of thrillers, available now. You can grab copies in either ebook or paperback. To get an email whenever I release a new title, sign up for the VIP newsletter by click this link.

Author Links:

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Blog Tour Organized by:

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Images from the Meadow of Dreams kit by Irene Alexeeva