Wednesday, November 14, 2018

REVIEW K.M. Riley FEVER RISING


Author: K.M. Riley

Narrator: Audra Cook

Length: 6 hours and 5 minutes

Publisher: Trifecta Publishing House

Released: Sep. 14, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction; Dystopian


“I don't save, I kill. I don't build, I break. I don't run, I chase. And I won't rest until a new society is built on the System's ashes.” (Cassidy Havok) Kaden Valens' world is kill or be killed. Such is the life of a Challenger, the property of a Citizen. Fight or die. When Kaden is ordered to face his sole family member, his sister, Nix, he chooses a different battle - one against the Federacy that owns him. Rebel Cassidy Havok is the Federacy's worst nightmare. Her only goal is to bring down the government, doing whatever it takes to eradicate the slave-based society. When Kaden defies the Federacy publicly, she hopes to make an ally out of him, turning the tide in the resistance's favor. Cassidy helps Kaden escape the clutches of the Citizenry, and they flee to the Wilds, the world outside the Federacy's reach. There they plan for the fight of a lifetime. Can they take on a nation, or is their cause a lost one?
 
K.M. Riley is not only a lover of stories, but she's a game designer, artist, and fan of all things imaginative. If she's not writing, she's daydreaming or doodling about more worlds and characters that will make great tales. With a background in Creative Writing, she's always busy creating new adventures, or taking part in them.
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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 K.M. Riley. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Q&A with Author K.M. Riley
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    • To be honest, no. When I’m writing a book I focus on the story itself, having fun with what I’m envisioning. Characters are my favorite part to shape. Can they compel a reader to the world, the plot, to keep reading at all?
  • How did you select your narrator?
    • I had the auditioning narrators read one of the most compelling scenes from the book. To me, if they could capture that moment, that intensity between the characters, they could nail the rest of the narration.
  • 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?
    • For the most part, I trusted my narrator to run with the story after a brief breakdown of pronunciation and descriptions. What mattered most to me was her portrayal of the characters. I wanted them to not only sound different, but they needed to feel as impassioned as the words they’re speaking aloud to the listener.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
    • Burnout is common everywhere. I work in video games, so I recognize when to stop and take a break. It’s the same with writing. Sometimes I’ll read a new series, draw a character I’m thinking of, or play excessive amounts of D&D. I let my imagination stay alive until get inspired again, keeping that enthusiasm alive in other forms.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • Of course I’m a listener, that’s the best part about my commute. Audiobooks make it easy to do other things while listening to a story. Exercising, long drives, you name it. Whenever I can’t hold a book in my hands but crave a tale, that’s what they are there for.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • Nonsense. Some avid “readers” have actual impairments. Audiobooks are a fantastic way to help those with disabilities, sharing a story regardless of obstacles. For those without impairments, it’s just another way to cram more books in. Either way, getting through a book is an achievement to be praised, not condemned based on method.
  • In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
    • Having done both, there’s something freeing about a stand-alone. For me, I had a single vision in mind, and all I wanted was to get that across, but not drag it out per se. Having a series means considering aspects beyond your first hook, a story that needs unfolding over more hurdles, thicker plots or complex character development. There’s no right or wrong, good or bad, it’s just a matter of what the author wants to write.
  • Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
    • All the time. They reenact scenes with more complexity than I could have remembered to write down when I woke up. Sometimes, and without giving too much away, some of the characters have made it a point to romance since there was only alluding in the book.
  • What’s next for you?
    • Currently, I’m working on a narrative project at Hangar 13 that I’m incredibly excited about. Unfortunately, I can’t talk about it. Hopefully one day it’s something I can share. That said, I’m not done writing books; the next one is just beginning to take root in my imagination.
Dream Cast
Author K.M. Riley's Dream Cast for Fever Rising
  • Cassidy Havok - Chloe Bennet
  • Kaden Valens - Chris Evans
  • Nixandra Valens - Daisy Ridley
  • Hunter Cath - Javier Bardem
  • Liam Mercer - Tahj Mowry
  • Sly Simmonds - Jeff Bridges
Giveaway

Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card

Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card Fever Rising Giveaway: $50 Amazon Gift Card Nov. 13th: Dab of Darkness Book Reviews The Book Junkie Reads . . . Nov. 14th: In Patti's Imagination Nov. 15th: Lilly's Book World Nov. 16th: Guilty Indulgence Bookclub Nov. 17th: Book Addict T's Stuff Nov. 18th: Jazzy Book Reviews Nov. 19th: Lomeraniel The Book Addict's Reviews
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Saturday, November 10, 2018

REVIEW Julie Berry WISHES AND WELLINGTONS


Author: Julie Berry

Narrators: Jayne Entwistle

Length: 9 hours 29 minutes

Publisher: Audible Studios

Released: Sep. 25, 2018

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy


From award-winning author Julie Berry comes a brand new middle-grade fantasy adventure full of humor and heart, exclusively from Audible. Maeve Merritt chafes at the rigid rules at her London boarding school for “Upright Young Ladies.” When punishment forces her to sort through the trash, she finds a sardine tin that houses a foul-tempered djinni with no intention of submitting to a schoolgirl as his master. Soon an orphan boy from the charitable home next door, a mysterious tall man in ginger whiskers, a disgruntled school worker, and a take-no-prisoners business tycoon are in hot pursuit of Maeve and her magical discovery. It’ll take all of her quick thinking and sass to set matters right. Maeve Merritt is one feisty heroine you won’t soon forget. Julie Berry lives near Los Angeles with her family. The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place is an Odyssey Honor Audiobook, and The Passion of Dolssais a Printz Honor Title.

Julie Berry is the author of the 2017 Printz Honor and Los Angeles Times Book Prize shortlisted novel The Passion of Dolssa, the Carnegie and Edgar shortlisted All the Truth That’s in Me (2013, Viking), the Odyssey Honor title The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place (2014, Roaring Brook), and six others. Her latest novel, The Emperor’s Ostrich, released June 13, 2017 from Roaring Brook. Her forthcoming novel, Lovely War, will release from Viking Children’s Books in Spring 2019. She holds a BS from Rensselaer in communication and an MFA from Vermont College. She lives in Southern California with her family.
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Narrator Bio
Jayne was born in the North of England and lived in a myriad of places (Vancouver, San Francisco, Tucson, Sequim, Seattle) before landing in Los Angeles. She is an avid improviser who hitched her space-work wagon to Patrick Bristow’s company, Improvatorium, where she studied, taught, directed and performed improv. She is an award-winning audiobook narrator best known for her narration of the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley. She also received the 2015 Odyssey Honour Award for The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry and the 2016 Odyssey Award for, The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. When not inhaling books for work or pleasure, Jayne works in film, television and commercials. The biggest star she has ever worked with is Shaquille O’Neal. He is quite literally THE biggest star she has ever worked with. Ever. He’s really big!
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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 Julie Berry. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

[Flora]

Not only is this story award winning it is great for the long car rides with the kids.  The story is full of lovable characters and a theme of good versus evil and friends need to stick together.  The main character, Maeve, finds herself in trouble, yet again, and the headmistress punishment is to sort the trash.  This is a teachable moment on how the people of post world world 1 and during world war 2 were asked to recycle all metal for the war effort.  In the most unlikely of places while wearing Wellington boots, Meave starts on a wonderful adventure.  The story also involves the boy next door to the school at the orphanage.  The girls in the school Maeve attends are asked to make scarves for the boys as a charitable act (yet another teachable moment).  The story is so easy to listen to and will have you laughing and routing for Maeve and the others.  The mark of a great story is that it can be read on many levels, like this terrific tale.  The  narrator did a great job of reading the story.  I enjoyed that the narrator had a British accent which was very clear and easy to understand and added to this story which is set in England.  I would recommend this story to everyone who needs a lift.  
Amazon/GoodReads Rating: 5/5
In Patti's Imagination Rating: 10/10



Author Julie Berry Interviews Protagonist Maeve Merritt
 
  1. So, Miss Maeve Merritt, why did your parents send you to Miss Salamanca’s School for Upright Young Ladies, instead of educating you at home?
  Mother said she can’t bear the nightmare of hiring and training another governess for me, nor persuading her to stay after I’d snuck out to play cricket with the village boys once too many times. She thinks my name is on a governess’s blacklist somewhere. Miss Salamanca’s reputation for taming unmanageable girls was music to Mother’s ears.
  1. And what exactly were you doing at Miss Salamanca’s School when you found your wish-granting djinni?
If you must know, I’d been sentenced to garbage duty for two days. I was sorting through the dustbins, separating tin from rubbish.
  1. I see … is this normal behavior for students at Miss Salamanca’s School?
No.
  1. Were you under some sort of punishment?
Only because I’d socked nasty Theresa Treazleton in the eye. And only because she deserved it, and worse. Really, I went easy on her.
  1. I suppose, if garbage duty led you to an all-powerful djinni, you made out handsomely in this transaction.
Then you don’t know much at all. A djinni’s proven harder to keep track of than a rabid mongoose.
  1. Why would anyone want to keep track of a rabid mongoose?
Wouldn’t you rather know where it is than wonder where it’s hiding?
  1. I suppose so. Are you sorry you found the djinni, then?
Who, Mermeros? No, I’m glad I found him. It’s been an education. More than I’d ever have gotten at school. I just wish I’d been able to keep him better hidden from so many rascals and villains. Beating them off at every turn was the hard part. The wishes themselves were pretty spectacular.
  1. Did you get your wishes granted, then?
That’s cheating. You’ll have to listen to my story to find out. Nov. 4th: Lilly's Book World The Book Junkie Reads . . . Nov. 5th: Turning Another Page Nov. 6th: T's Stuff Nov. 7th: Declarations of a Fangirl Nov. 8th: Jazzy Book Reviews Nov. 9th: The Book Addict's Reviews Nov. 10th: Sefina Hawke's Books In Pattis Imagination
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Friday, November 2, 2018

REVIEW Nathan Van Coops CHRONOTHON


Author: Nathan Van Coops

Narrator: Neil Hellegers

Series: In Times Like These, Book 2

Publisher: Skylighter Press

Released: Oct. 23, 2015

Length: 19 hours 43 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction; Time Travel


Run from the past. Run from the future. Run for your lives. He's a novice time traveler in a big universe. Ben just wants time with the scientist's daughter who got him into this, but when he's rooked into competing in a chronothon - an Amazing Race through time - getting the girl means he'll need to make the finish line. When he finds out this competition is more than just a sprint through history, winning takes a back seat to surviving. To save the people he loves, he'll have to conquer the real dangers hidden in the shadows of the chronothon. The world of time travelers expands in this next installment of the In Times Like These series. Fans of book one will find more to love, but new listeners can jump right in and enjoy this stand-alone story. Expect action, adventure, and romance on this journey through past and future. Fresh dangers will arise for Ben and company in a quest for the finish line, where failure to keep up will cost more than just a shot at glory - it could mean the end for them all.
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Nathan Van Coops lives in St. Petersburg Florida on a diet comprised mainly of tacos. He enjoys old planes, motorcycles, and Volkswagens; and contends that there is such a thing as “dressy” flip-flops. He is the author of three time travel adventure novels: In Times Like These, The Chronothon, and The Day After Never. You can also check out his sci-fi sky pirate adventure, Faster Than Falling.
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Narrator Bio
Neil hails from the green hills and not-so-busy streets of River Vale, NJ, where he divided his time between theatre, literature, percussion, and policy debate. He is happy to note that he has managed to maintain this balance for the entirety of his adult life. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, PA, with a B.A. in Theatre Arts and a Minor in Psychology, Neil acquired a M.F.A in Acting from the Trinity Rep Conservatory, in Providence, RI. He returned to NYC in 2003, and, since then, has made a career of theatrical performance, percussion, theatre education, and audiobook narration, and is currently living in Brooklyn, NY, with his wife, rambunctious son, and their mutt! Starting his professional acting career working at festivals and and international tours performing Shakespeare opened his mind to the sweeping potential of theatre in performance to inspire and delight, a sensibility he has carried into contemporary theatre, new play workshops, film, TV and commercial work, and audiobook narration. Neil also has sought and developed educational opportunities, considering teaching as a means of advancing the craft of both student and teacher, and also a vehicle for social and political change. Neil has played drums in a wide variety of bands and musical groups, from punk, to prog, to jazz, to folk, and in theatrical performance, most notably for the Philly-based-90s-progressive-instrumental-rock-band, Lexicon. As an audiobook narrator, Neil specializes in fiction, genre and non. A voracious reader of science fiction and fantasy, Neil strives to bring the same thrill of the possible to the actual, with non-fiction ranging from self-help both spiritual and practical, history, and cultural studies. Recording at home from a Studiobricks One Plus, he is an Audible Approved Producer, and has worked for numerous publishers, including Tantor Media, Penguin Random House Audio, Blackstone Audio, Audible Studios, Deyan Audio, Spoken Realms, and more. He is a proud member of SAG AFTRA.
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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 Nathan Van Coops. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

[Flora]

This is an awesome series.  It is action packed and filled with themes like good versus evil and teamwork and loyalty can keep you alive.  Will Ben survive this new situation he was strong handed into?  Can  teamwork and loyalty to friends help him with these cutthroat competitors? The race through time is amazing.  At every turn  Ben is thrown into a new  historic time with new artifacts to capture  as quickly as possible.  Every time could be his last and yet he stops to help others and change the rules as only Ben can.  He is a loyal brave character who is a complete novice in a race with seasoned time travelers and a killer who is picking off the contestants and their guides.  The story was hard to stop listening to as every moment was an edge of your seat ride.  I loved that Ben is very real and plausible not a flawless character but a in depth character that is wonderfully evolving  every moment.  I would love to be friends with him and can not wait to read more of his story.  I love this narrator he has captured Ben and the other characters essences so well they seem like old friends.  He is a clear speaker who uses voice changes and inflection and pauses to convey this amazing story.  I have already recommend this author and narrator to my friends. 
Amazon/Goodreads rating: 4/5
In Patti's Imagination rating: 9/10


Q&A with Narrator Neil Hellegers
  • When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
    • You know those puzzles where you first only see the very up-close details, and the image starts to zoom out, and you’re supposed to guess what it’s a picture of, and it's usually a picture of Abraham Lincoln? It’s something like that; I had all the small pieces in my life, with my love of books, my theatre training, and general geekiness, and it slowly came into focus that narrating is what I should be doing. Also, it’s Abraham Lincoln.
  • How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
    • In the process of starting a family, I came to see that my vagabond, stage-actor life was unsustainable. In focusing on other options with my skill-set, I managed some more local work, particularly a fair number of on-camera commercials, at a time where the ‘goofy dad’ archetype was very prevalent. And while I had some success there, it wasn’t scratching the deeper itches creatively, and was also, in many ways, just as transient.
    • I had been pushing into commercial VO a bit as well, with not as much success, but it occured to me that I maybe wasn’t matching the specific demands of Comm VO as well as I would have liked. Yet I had always listened to audiobooks, especially on lots of long drives between Providence, RI and the New York area in the summers I was working at Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. It slowly dawned on me that narration could be a much better fit. There wasn’t like a flash of inspiration, more like a slow dawning, then I was like, oh it’s sunny!
  • Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?
    • Ha, have I broken in? I’m like 40% joking; “imposter syndrome” seems to dwell heavily in more than a few narrators, including this one. But, procedurally: One thing to note is that the audiobook industry is considerably smaller than most other major entertainment industries. So after years of Film and TV meet-and-greets and Equity open-calls and the like, finding a far more intimate and immediate set-up was a pleasant surprise. There were also meet-and-greets and conventions, but the relationships were direct with the publishers and producers, so just by being present you could start meeting them, so when one was ready with the appropriate skills, it’s possible to move forward, bit by bit. As mentioned, I had thorough theater training, but there is narration-specific technique to learn, coaches to work with, and workshops to take. Not to mention, since I was starting by working at home, producing audiobooks independently, there were some technical hurdles to leap. Thank goodness everything is on the internet.
    • I should also note here that the narration community is tremendously generous, and from the first friend I asked to “pick your brain about narration” (which I now fully understand how kind and helpful she was by permitting this, as it is something narrators get asked quite a bit) to the FB members willing to answer any questions, we all really have each others’ backs. It’s a lovely aspect of this job, but also very helpful in getting started.
  • A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
    • I won’t say it’s 100% essential but certainly, as the basic tasks of emotional empathy, directed action, and developing character is the same as in any kind of theatre, it is very helpful training. But also the technical training, especially vocally, is of great benefit for maintaining one’s instrument during hours and hours and hours of talking.
  • What type of training have you undergone?
    • I have a BA in Theater Arts (acting, directing, and design) from The University of Pennsylvania, with some time spent abroad in a London conservatory, and an MFA in Acting from Trinity Rep Conservatory in Providence RI. Add to that various acting classes and coaching, both in acting and narration, and that’s my foundation. The work itself is the training built on top of that.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
    • Well, the books always change, so that helps. And, in a given day, I always try to find the thing about the book that excites me, or is a valuable social lesson to convey, or is fun. At this point, though the hours are long, I’m so grateful to be doing what I’m doing, that if I start to feel weary, I slap myself in the face and get the heck back in the game. Aside from that, I try to sleep well, get some exercise, and drinks lots and lots and lots and lots of water.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • I certainly am! I have to be? But I would be anyway. What I like about it is the pleasure of the narrator’s creativity in synthesis with the author. If the story is good, it can only get better. And if the narrator is good, then the story can be great.
  • What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
    • My favorite is playing all the parts. BY WHICH I MEAN: really being able to get inside these all these heads, find what makes them tick, or how the main characters revelations build the story, how he or she changes. I can learn so many things, in non-fiction in particular, but also generally. Any book is a rich opportunity for exploration. Least favorite is probably feeling the pressure of deadlines, which is of course necessary and often times a motivator, but still.
  • What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?
    • I like to think I have a good handle on emotional life, and investing into the emotional lives of the characters. I’m a fair hand at dialects, which does help a lot (and is also lots of fun, especially learning a new one). I also like to consider the big picture, the author’s overall objective, and actualize that in all sorts of moment-to-moment choices along the way.
  • 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?
    • Genre, hm, I dunno...I think it’s more about a certain book. After all, as is often said, the characters in each book don’t know what genre they are in, so why should I? I have only declined being considered for a project for...political reasons. I told them “you’re going to find a narrator better suited for this project than I am”.
  • What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
    • So, I’ve been narrating Nathan’s books, and this series in particular, for quite some time, basically tracking over my entire “career” as a narrator. At the time that I saw THE CHRONOTHON (Book 2 of the IN TIMES LIKE THESE series, but the first one we did), I was intrigued by a time travel series that had a legitimate explanation for multiverse time travel and yet also was rooted in the characters’ human relationships. This was evident just in the audition materials and what I could read about the book online. And it was also a *long* title, and I wanted to really see how I could build a story in long form. Then later, we went back to producing IN TIMES LIKE THESE (which I had already read as preparation for TC), which, really, is all about Ben’s foundation, his friends, and establishing the sci fi basis for everything else. Then came THE DAY AFTER NEVER, yet another evolution, this time reaching deeper into the past and future, expanding possibilities and deepening the characters and their relationships. (Is it clear yet that working on his series is a metaphor for my work as a narrator?) When Nathan let me know that THE WARP CLOCK was a thing, I was so grateful that I could reapply all that I had learned to these people I knew so well, whose plight with which I was so familiar.

Author Nathan Van Coops
  • Waffle fries or curly fries? Nope. Tacos.
  • GIF with a hard g or soft g? G is for graphics so I pronounce it that way. I’m not a barbarian.
  • Fantasy or science-fiction? I love both but tend to imagine things in terms of science fiction. Favorite books from childhood were fantasy though. The Neverending Story made my life.
  • Superman or Batman? Christopher Nolan’s Batman. Otherwise send me to the MCU.
  • Text message or call? Call. Let’s chat.
  • Pancakes or waffles? Waffles all the way. But you can hold the whipped cream.
  • Doctor Who or the Walking Dead? I already have a crossbow, I want a T.A.R.D.I.S.
  • TV Shows or movies? Movies. Opening credits make me happy knowing I’m about to be told a complete story. I can only commit to a TV show if it’s ten episodes or less and bingeable. Gotta get back to the writing!
  • Facebook or Twitter? Facebook Live!
  • Alice in Wonderland or Robinson Crusoe? Wonderland. Though I would relish a desert island experience too, assuming I don’t a Tom Hanks toothache.
  • Being too warm or too cold? I hate being cold. Bring on the heat!
  • Netflix or Hulu? Netflix originals have been outstanding lately.
  • Work Hard or Play Hard? My work is a lot like play, so both?
  • Passenger or Driver? Driver. Stick-shift. Preferably something from the ‘70s.
  • Amusement Park or Day at the Beach? Beach day!
  • Honesty or Other’s Feelings? Honesty, though if I were clever I would learn to empathize better too.
  • Movie at Home or Movie at the Theater? Theater! I love a good big-screen experience assuming the movie deserves that treatment. Better check Rotten Tomatoes first...

BOOK ONE
Oct. 25th: Dab of Darkness Book Reviews Oct. 26th: T's Stuff Oct. 27th: Lynn's Romance Enthusiasm Oct. 28th: Writers N Authors Oct. 29th: Jazzy Book Reviews In Pattis Imagination Oct. 30th: Lilly's Book World Oct. 31st: Lomeraniel The Book Addict's Reviews
BOOK TWO
Nov. 1st: Dab of Darkness Book Reviews Nov. 2nd: T's Stuff In Pattis Imagination Nov. 3rd: Lynn's Romance Enthusiasm Nov. 4th: Jazzy Book Reviews Nov. 5th: Writers N Authors Nov. 6th: Lilly's Book World The Book Addict's Reviews Nov. 7th: Lomeraniel
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