Audiobook Review: The King of Plagues by Jonathan Maberry



Saturday 09:11 Hours: A blast rocks a London hospital and thousands are dead or injured… 10:09 Hours: Joe Ledger arrives on scene to investigate. The horror is unlike anything he has ever seen. Compelled by grief and rage, Joe rejoins the DMS and within hours is attacked by a hit-team of assassins and sent on a suicide mission into a viral hot zone during an Ebola outbreak. Soon Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences begin tearing down the veils of deception to uncover a vast and powerful secret society using weaponized versions of the Ten Plagues of Egypt to destabilize world economies and profit from the resulting chaos. Millions will die unless Joe Ledger meets the this powerful new enemy on their own terms as he fights terror with terror. 

 

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One of the best and most entertaining books I’ve ever read…er, listened to. First, the dynamic duo of Jonathan Maberry and Ray Porter is match made in heaven. Second, the characters are AWESOME. Ray Porter do an amazing job of bringing each one to life. Of course, the point of view character and overall cool dude, is Joe ledger. But there’s so much more. The entire Echo team as part of the DMS (Dept. of Military Sciences) is pretty unique. Top, Bunny, Jon Smith, Rudy. Then there’s the ever-mysterious Mr. Church. I love his underlying mystique behind in each book. It keeps you guessing and wondering…Exactly…Who is he? Even Joe Ledger is scratching his head wondering who he is. 

 

I don’t know about you but I love a great antagonist, or group of them. Makes the story ten times better. One thing Maberry shines at is creating GREAT BAD GUYS. The plot for King of Plagues was amazing. Creepy, quirky, unique, and formidable. They’re all just great characters who believe in their motivations just as much as the good guys. Sebastian Gault, Toyz, the King of Fear, Raphael Santoro, Nicodemus, the goddess. Their plot for destruction was epic. 

 

Ray Porter is exceptional narrator to the third power on steroids. He is the true voice of Joe Ledger. I couldn’t imagine another. Not to mention Church and Rudy. These are my favorite three character voices. However, they were a number of impressive accents in this one. Scottish, Irish, British, etc. They were not only great accents, but they actually sounded like different people!!! That is insanely difficult, but the good narrators know how to do it well.  

 

 



Audiobook Blog Tour: Song at Dawn by Jean Gill

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About the Audiobook

Author: Jean Gill

Narrator: Jake Urry

Length: 12 hours 48 minutes

Publisher: Jean Gill⎮2018

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: The Troubadours Quartet, Volume 1

Release date: Apr. 24, 2018

 

 

 

Synopsis: Book 1 of the award-winning historical fiction series The Troubadours Quartet

Historical Novel Society Editor’s Choice

Winner of the Global Ebooks Award for Best Historical Fiction

Finalist in the Wishing Shelf Awards and the Chaucer Awards

“Believable, page-turning and memorable.” (Lela Michael, S.P. Review)


1150: Provence

On the run from abuse, Estela wakes in a ditch with only her lute, her amazing voice, and a dagger hidden in her underskirt. Her talent finds a patron in Aliénor of Aquitaine and more than a music tutor in the queen’s finest troubadour and commander of the Guard, Dragonetz los Pros.

Weary of war, Dragonetz uses Jewish money and Moorish expertise to build that most modern of inventions, a papermill, arousing the wrath of the church. Their enemies gather, ready to light the political and religious powder keg of medieval Narbonne.

Set in the period following the Second Crusade, Jean Gill’s spellbinding romantic thrillers evoke medieval France with breathtaking accuracy. The characters soar and include amazing women like Eleanor of Aquitaine and Ermengarda of Narbonne, who shaped history in battles and in bedchambers.

“Historical fiction at its best.” (Karen Charlton, author of the Detective Lavender Mysteries)

 

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The complex narrative of Song at Dawn is breathtaking. This, combined with the narration by Jake Urry make this a compelling read. I’m always in awe how Urry adds an eery, seductive quality to the characters. It brings the story into another dimension that’s hard to put into words. The sound quality and production of the audiobook was excellent. The background music added virtue and an authentic feel throughout the book.

 

 

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About the Author: Jean Gill

Jean Gill is a Welsh writer and photographer living in the south of France with two scruffy dogs, a beehive named ‘Endeavour’, a Nikon D750 and a man. For many years, she taught English and was the first woman to be a secondary headteacher in Wales. She is mother or stepmother to five children so life was hectic.


Publications are varied, including prize-winning poetry and novels, military history, translated books on dog training, and a cookery book on goat cheese. With Scottish parents, an English birthplace and French residence, she can usually support the winning team on most sporting occasions.


Sign up to Jean special readers’ group at http://www.jeangill.com for exclusive news, offers and a free book. If you review one of Jean’s books you can add a dog to Jean’s Readers Dogs Hall of Fame on her website. Contact Jean at jean.gill@wanadoo.fr with comments or questions. She loves to hear from readers.

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About the Narrator: Jake Urry

Jake Urry has been narrating and producing Audiobooks since February 2016, and in that time has released 28 titles, including The Cryptic Lines by Richard Storry, White is the Coldest Colour and A Mind to Kill by John Nicholl, the PI Harlan Ulrich series by Ambrose Ibsen, The Tesla Gate by John D. Mimms, and The Dragon Apocalypse Series by James Maxey. In 2018 Jake will be working on a wide range of Audiobooks across the genres of Mystery, Thriller, Fantasy, Horror and Sci-Fi.

 

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Audiobook Review: Conquest by R.M. Mulder

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An ancient continent is missing from Earth.
A primeval darkness threatens mankind.
A modern woman discovers her destiny.

When undercover agent Lily Thatcher is ordered to undergo a dangerous medical mind-wipe procedure prior to re-assignment, she avoids arrest and becomes a rogue agent. She quickly learns that there are much greater forces at work that are far beyond her comprehension.

Timur Demyan, formerly known as the feared Tamerlane of the ancient Tumurid Empire, has forged an alliance with a loathsome creature called the Leviathan. This beast’s insatiable hunger is currently being fed by another world’s few remaining souls.

For now.

Their paths meet at a showdown, but Lily knows that there’s far more at stake than just her mortality. A morbid question looms in the back of her mind:

Can she prevent Earth’s Apocalyptic Fate?

 

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NARRATOR PERFORMANCE: 9/10

 

 

  • Narrator-Story Connection: 10/10

Kudos to narrator Andrea Emmes who always does an excellent job embodying the scope of the story with all its characters. Believe me, the scope was pretty broad in this one!

 

  • Voice Creation/Switch Over:  9/10

The voices were spot on for the protagonists and antagonist. What helps make it more believable is the narrators ability to infuse emotion into their character. Andrea Emmes is very skilled in this area.

 

  • Pacing 9/10

Great pacing employed throughout the story. I’m sure this is a lot harder than it sounds. The story flowed well from beginning to end.

 

  • Emphasis 10/10

Excellent. The emotional quality of each main character is key, as well as emphasizing the quirks of each personality. No easy feat to accomplish!

 

  • Reader-Story Connection  8/10

Only the skill of the narrator kept in the story of this book. There’s a lot of different elements in the plot line that made it challenging for me.

 

  • Sound Quality: 10/10

Publisher:   R. M. Mulder

Perfect.

 

  • Overall Performance: 9/10 

The narration was a big reason why I choose this title. I can’t emphasize enough having a good narrator for an audiobook. If it were in any other format I wouldn’t have read this at all, but because of good narration I could appreciate the story.

 

 

 

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Audioboook Review: The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver

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In his most gripping thriller yet, Jeffery Deaver takes readers on a terrifying ride into two ingenious minds…that of a physically challenged detective and the scheming killer he must stop. The detective was the former head of forensics at the NYPD, but is now a quadriplegic who can only exercise his mind. The killer is a man whose obsession with old New York helps him choose his next victim. Now, with the help of a beautiful young cop, this diabolical killer must be stopped before he can kill again!

 

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NARRATOR PERFORMANCE: 7/10

 

  • Narrator-Story Connection:  10/10

I could tell narrator Connor O’Brien was fully enveloped in the story throughout this book. It makes it that much easier to enter into the story as a listener.

 

  • Voice Creation/Switch Over:  9/10

I have to give honor where honor is due. The voice creation, narrator voice and switching back and forth was stunning, professional and creative. The only thing I’d say here is some of the characters sound less intelligent. For instance some of the law enforcement officials sound like they’re “dumb” when they shouldn’t. It resembled some of the goons that the bad guys have at times.

The Voice of Lincoln Rhyme I thought was perfect. Somewhat stoical, nerdy,  with a nose for facts. Good fit. Emelia Sachs was also beautifully portrayed, especially for a male narrator. She was simple, innocent, yet firm and compassionate.

 

  • Pacing 8/10

It took me some time to get used to the narrator’s pace, but it was no problem after that.

 

  • Emphasis 10/10

Brilliant here. Each character was made more realistic by skilled emphasis.

 

  • Reader-Story Connection  10/10

I believe each narrator is a medium through which we see the story come alive–or not.  This narrator did a great job all said and done because I loved the story!

 

  • Sound Quality: 10/10

Publisher:  Penguin Audio

Excellent sound production.

 

  • Overall Performance: 8/10 

Connor O’Brien is a skilled narrator who knows how to bring a story to life. Admittedly, it took me some time to get used to his narrative voice, but this was no problem in the end. Great story and performance.

 

 

 

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Audiobook Blog Tour: I Serve by Roseanne E. Lortz

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A tale of arms, of death, of love, and of honor.

 

 

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About the Audiobook

Author: Rosanne E. Lortz

Narrator: James Young

Length: 10 hours 50 minutes

Publisher: Madison Street Publishing⎮20

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release date: Jul. 18, 2017

 

Synopsis: A tale of arms, of death, of love, and of honor.

Set against the turbulent backdrop of the Hundred Years’ War, I Serve chronicles the story of Sir John Potenhale. A young Englishman of lowly birth, Potenhale wins his way to knighthood on the fields of France. He enters the service of Edward, the Black Prince of Wales, and immerses himself in a stormy world of war, politics, and romantic intrigue.

While campaigning in France, Potenhale develops an interest in Margery, a spirited lady-in-waiting with a close-kept secret. He soon learns that Sir Thomas Holland, a crass and calculating baron, holds the key to unlock Margery’s mystery and possesses the power to overturn all of his hopes.

When the Black Death strikes Europe, however, Potenhale realizes that the fiercest enemy does not always appear in human form. Seeing the pestilence as a punishment for the sins of his generation, he questions his calling as a knight and considers entering the cloister. Margery or the monastery? Torn between losing his soul and losing the love of his life, he finds friendship with a French knight who might – just possibly – help him save both.

 

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I like the historic backdrop of this book and the story of Sir John Potenhale. It was eye-opening to see the effects of the Black plague upon London and its inhabitants. This book is very rich in its historical detail, settings and dialogue giving it an authentic feel. I only wish his point of view were deeper. That would’ve made the book a lot better in my opinion. The narrative was rich and informative, but tend to get lost at times. At any rate, it was fascinating and kept me listening to find out what happens.

 

 

 

NARRATOR PERFORMANCE: 7/10

 

  • Narrator-Story Connection:  8/10

Narrator James Young is fully enveloped within the story and characters. This is one of his strong points. Believe me, it makes a huge difference!

 

  • Voice Creation/Switch Over:  7/10

 

The only thing to note here is the difficulty switching from narrative voice to the voice of the french characters. French can be a difficult language to speak, let alone toggling back and forth English and French. Some of the guttural parts are hard on the ear, but not bad.

 

  • Pacing 7/10

The pace of the narrator is a bit fast for my taste which forced me to concentrate more than I normally would. A small but significant aspect of the performance. I could’ve slowed the pace in the app but I don’t normally like to adjust the original performance.

 

  • Emphasis 7/10

The narrator has good emphasis at certain spots, but somewhat monotone. This could be due to the heavy narrative, less dialogue and depth of character.

 

  • Reader-Story Connection  6/10

I did have some difficulty following the story due to the aforementioned aspects. This probably would’ve been remedied by slower pace, more emphasis and characterization.

 

  • Sound Quality: 10/10

Publisher:  Madison Street Publishing

Great sound quality.

 

  • Overall Performance: 7/10 

Narrator James Young actually had a good performance and is a worthy medium, but some aspects hindered me entering fully into the story. He has a rich British accent and fully grasps the breadth of the entire book. I would listen to him again.

 

 

 

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Audiobook Blog Tour: The Widow’s Redeemer by Philippa Jane Keyworth

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***The Widow’s Redeemer was a finalist in the 2012 RONE Awards (Reward of Novel Excellence) hosted by InD’Tale Magazine.***

 

 

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About the Audiobook

Author: Philippa Jane Keyworth

Narrator: Alex Lee

Length: 9 hours 35 minutes

Publisher: Madison Street Publishing⎮2018

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: April 19, 2018

 

 

 

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Synopsis: A penniless young widow with an indomitable spirit. A wealthy viscount with an unsavory reputation. London, 1815: After her husband’s untimely death, Letty Burton comes up from the country with her domineering mother-in-law. Hiding a past she wishes to forget and facing an uncertain future, all she wants is to navigate London Society as a silent companion. A chance meeting with London’s most eligible bachelor sets in motion a series of events that will bring her quiet life under the unfriendly scrutiny of the ton. With the net of scandal, debts, and rivals closing in, will she let her dark past dictate her life forever? Will she learn to trust again? And most importantly, will she allow herself to love? The Widow’s Redeemer was a finalist in the 2012 RONE Awards (Reward of Novel Excellence) hosted by InD’Tale Magazine.

 

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This book was so entertaining I spent a large amount of time smiling and grinning. Definitely worth an award. The characters were so lovable with their formal dialogue and personality quirks. Letty Burton is quite the lady trying to survive at a time where status and social status were so prominent. I’m glad I didn’t grow up in the  1800’s! The banter between her and the Viscount is highly amusing to say the least.

The narration was wonderful. Alex Lee made the story that much better with great character voices and accents. Too bad this isn’t a series!

 

 

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About the Author: Philippa Jane Keyworth

Philippa Jane Keyworth, known to her friends as Pip, has been writing since she was twelve in every notebook she could find.

Originally trained as a horse-riding instructor, Philippa went on to become a copywriter before beginning a degree in History and graduating with First Class Honours. She now works in Digital Marketing and part-time as an author.

Philippa has always written stories and believes that, since it is one of her loves and passions, she always will. She has dabbled in a variety of genres, and has settled for the time being in both fantasy and historical romance. An interesting combination of research and imagination Philippa believes it is important to escape into a world you want to be in. This is why she writes stories that will draw you into the characters’ joys and heartaches in a world apart from our own. Philippa has three historical romance novels out, each a standalone with indomitable heroines and lovable heroes.

 

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About the Narrator: Alex Lee

Alex Lee has been singing, acting and dancing since the age of two and whilst growing up on outskirts of London indulged her love of acting and performing in several ballet productions and plays at school, where she added to her skills by having her speaking and singing voice trained thereafter in productions of The Secretary Bird, Oh What a lovely War, The Norman Conquests, Ten Times Table, Chicago (playing Velma), playing Dick in Dick Whittington, and many others.

Narrating audiobooks is a relatively new venture for Alex and she has narrated 10 books in the last year in genres covering Regency romance, historical fiction, comedy adventure, romantic thriller, children’s fiction, biography and murder mystery.

Alex lives in a cottage in the beautiful village of East Coker in Somerset, where she lives with her husband Mark who is a skilful editor.

“I was thrilled to audition and be given the opportunity to narrate The Widow’s Redeemer and also Fool me Twice both written by Philippa Jane Keyworth for Madison Street Publishing. I loved the Georgette Heyer Regency romances which I read when younger and love the genre. Pip’s books transport you back to that wonderful era and I have loved narrating these stories.”

 

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Audiobook Blog Tour: Venetian Blood: Murder in a Sensuous City

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About the Audiobook

Author: Christine Evelyn Volker

Narrator: Gabrielle de Cuir

Length: 12 hours 6 minutes

Publisher: Christine Evelyn Volker⎮2018

Genre: Mystery

Release date: Mar. 27, 2018

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: Struggling to forget a crumbling marriage, 40-year-old Anna Lucia Lottol comes to Venice to visit an old friend – but instead of finding solace, she is dragged into the police station and accused of murdering a money-laundering count with whom she had a brief affair. A US Treasury officer with brains and athleticism, Anna fights to clear her name in a seductive city full of watery illusions. As she works to pry information from a cast of recalcitrant characters sometimes denying what she sees and hears, she succeeds in unleashing a powerful foe bent on destroying her. Will she save herself and vanquish her enemies, including her darkest fears?

A captivating tapestry of murder, betrayal, and family, Venetian Blood is a story of one woman’s brave quest for the truth – before it’s too late.

“A riveting whodunit that makes full use of its dramatic setting.” (Kirkus Reviews)

 

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This novel was quite an Italian treat. Taking place in the city of Venice, the flavor of this story is exquisitely Italian. The names, places, idioms all displayed an authenticity in the setting of this mystery. Anna Lucia Lottol is a memorable character trying to cope with a bad marriage, a murder mystery, Venetian romance,  while dealing with her own demons. This was more a like a literary murder mystery full of red herrings. Excellent.

 

 

 

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NARRATOR PERFORMANCE: 9/10

 

  • Narrator-Story Connection:  10/10

 

Gabriella de Cuir is completely enveloped in the story which make for a great book. Excellent.

 

  • Voice Creation/Switch Over:  10/10

Great character voices in this one! The Italian was off the charts and loved every bit of it.

  1. Anna Lucia Lottol is such a memorable character with an innocent personality. She reminds me of some of the old school actresses from the 60’s.
  2. Roberto’s voice and character were also memorable. A player and womanizer who has all the finesse to fully employ his lustful nature.
  3. Detective Niccolo Biondi. Not sure if I’m spelling his name correctly, but he also was a memorable character. You’ll see this often in detective mysteries, or even crime fiction. A law enforcement official hell-bent on uncovering the truth- one way or the other.

There were a slew of characters but these were some who stood out. The narrator does a flawless job of switching voices/characters throughout the book.

 

  • Pacing 9/10

The pacing throughout was spot on.

  • Emphasis 9/10

Knowing when and how much to emphasize with each character was great. I think this distinguishes an ordinary narrator and the better ones. It really brings out the personality of the character and makes them more believable. Anna was so adorable!

 

  • Reader-Story Connection  8/10

Initially I had a harder time locking into the story for some reason. By this I mean, focus. Some stories are easier than other for different reasons. But once I zeroed in on the form of storytelling and narrative voice, it was sensational.

 

  • Sound Quality: 10/10

Publisher: Christine Evelyn Volker – Excellent sound quality.

 

  • Overall Performance: 9/10 

Gabriella de Cuir is a pleasure to listen to. She has great skill in many areas and I’d definitely listen to her again! Highly recommended.

 

 

 

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A few questions with author Christine Evelyn Volker

 

 

  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?

 

Yes. But it didn’t enter the choices that I made. If you’re a writer doing your job, you’re already making decisions based on the cadence of words, their sounds, how realistic your dialog is and how it would be spoken. All of these factors are critical for a good audiobook. After the first few drafts, I read the book out loud to hear how the words sounded and made changes if they didn’t work well together.

 

 

  • How did you select your narrator?

 

Gabrielle de Cuir auditioned, and I loved her voice – its pitch and expressiveness. She brought out the characters’ emotions while also creating interest in paragraphs of pure description. Once I heard her Italian pronunciation (I also speak it), I knew she could handle the super-challenging text I had written: lots of Italian and Spanish words, plus six types of accents in English. I checked her background. She had won awards, and was highly experienced. She didn’t have to learn the craft via my book. I used Audiobook Creation Exchange (acx). Despite the audition and the first fifteen minutes where the author listens to the narrator’s recording and provides feedback, going forward there’s a lot riding on faith. Faith that the rest of the voice actor’s work holds up to the standard of the first part. Given the linguistic and emotional complexity of my book it would have been easy for someone with less talent and experience to go astray.

 

 

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  • 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?  

 

We worked together very smoothly. I spent a lot of time at the beginning by preparing six pages of written character descriptions, including minor ones. I boiled the key characters down, their attitudes, what made them tick, and where important, how I thought their voices could sound. This allowed her to reflect before she started, to figure out how she’d breathe life into their words. Since Gabrielle grew up in Rome, I didn’t need to give her Italian pronunciation tips. That was a huge boost. We did have a back and forth, surprisingly to me, about the first name of the main character, Anna. I didn’t have to consider this at all when writing the book. But Anna’s name would sound different when pronounced by Italians or Americans (“Ah-na” vs. “Anna.”) This could confuse listeners. Gabrielle needed to nail it down. We decided on the “Ah-na” pronunciation, no matter which character was saying it.

 

 

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  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?

 

Certainly there’s my visceral love for Venice which becomes a character in the novel. I tried to bring out the city’s rich and storied past, its faded glory and its contradictions. Venice still exists, against all odds. Then there are bits of my own life hidden away in the pages. In 1992, I went to Italy for work but also to seek space from a troubled first marriage, so I fused pain with my love of Venice and the desire to create. The time period for the book is the same. Also, wildlife is a sub-theme in the book; nature and the future of the earth are important to me.

 

 

  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?

 

Definitely when there are two characters engaged in a suspenseful or moving dialog, like Anna being grilled by Detective Biondi, Anna and Pablo confiding in her about Sergio – the dead man, Anna, Margo and Agatha together later in the book when Agatha reveals shocking secrets. I’ve listened to my audiobook three times now, and its emotional punch is greater throughout. Whether it’s the fact that language is meant to be spoken, or that in our history, the spoken word came before the written one, or that many of us had the pleasure of hearing our parents tell us stories before we learned to read, or that listening is a more elemental pleasure than following dots across a page, or that hearing is something we engaged in before we were even born, or that it’s all of the above—I can’t say. But a well-narrated story is more gripping than the written one.

 

 

  • “If this title were being turned into a movie or television series, who should be cast as its characters?”.

 

Anna Lucia Lottol: Rachel Weisz

Detective Niccolo Biondi: Daniel Craig

Margo Fruhling: Jennifer Connelly

Count Alessandro Favier: Giancarlo Giannini

Pablo Morales: Javier Bardem or Edward James Olmos

Dudley Filbert: Gary Oldham

Agatha Filbert: Helen Mirren

Roberto Cavallin: Raoul Bova

 

 

 

 

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About the Author: Christine Evelyn Volker

Christine Evelyn Volker became intrigued by foreign cultures at an early age, which propelled her to study Spanish, German, and Italian. After securing a BA in Spanish and an MLS at University at Albany – SUNY, followed by an MBA at UC Berkeley, she was drawn to international banking and became a senior vice president at a global financial institution. Her career brought her to Italy, where she immersed herself in the language and made frequent visits to Venice. Venetian Blood marks a return to her roots in the humanities, and just won the Sarton Women’s Book Award for contemporary fiction.

She is currently at work on her second international mystery, this one set in the rainforest of Peru.

 

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Gabrielle de Cuir

 

 

About the Narrator: Gabrielle de Cuir

Gabrielle has narrated over 400 hundred titles specializing in fantasy, humor, and titles requiring extensive foreign language and accent skills. Her “velvet touch” as an actors’ director has earned her a special place in the audiobook world as the foremost choice for best-selling authors and celebrities. Short list of those directed: Anne Hathaway, Emilio Estevez, Wil Wheaton, Dr. Daniel G. Amen, Elijah Wood, Deepak Chopra, Eric Idle, Nancy Cartwright, Michael York, Ed Herrmann, and Joe Mantegna. She is the writer and director of the Award winning short film THE DELIVERY, which deals with an Alice-in-Wonderland version of audio books. She spent her childhood in Rome growing up with her wildly artistic and cinematic father, John de Cuir, four-time Academy Award winning Production Designer, an upbringing that her to be fluent in Romance languages and to have an unusual appetite for visual delights.)

 

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Audiobook Blog Tour: Scared to Death

Detective Kay Hunter

 

 

“If you want to see your daughter alive again, listen carefully.”

 

 

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About Audiobook #1

Author: Rachel Amphlett

Narrator: Alison Campbell

Length: 8 hours 27 minutes

Publisher: Saxon Publishing⎮2017

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Series: Detective Kay Hunter, Book 1

Release date: Oct. 2, 2017

 

 

 

Synopsis: “If you want to see your daughter alive again, listen carefully.”

When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong.

But Detective Kay Hunter isn’t convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession.

When a second schoolgirl is taken, Kay’s worst fears are realized.

With her career in jeopardy – desperate to conceal a disturbing secret, Kay’s hunt for the killer becomes a race against time before he claims another life.


For the killer, the game has only just begun….

Scared to Death is the first book in a new crime thriller series featuring Kay Hunter – a detective with a hidden past and an uncertain future….

If you like the Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons, Peter Robinson’s DCI Banks series and the Erika Foster series by Robert Bryndza, discover Rachel Amphlett’s new detective novels today.

 

Buy Links for Audiobook #1

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Rachel Amphlett has found the secret to create a thriller crime series. When I listened to this audiobook I got the sense that everything gels well together.  I’d say the author excels at portraying realistic crime scenes, fascinating plotting, with a unique killer. Which, in this crowded field is easier said than done.  A very solid book and balanced writing.

Narrator Alison Campbell has intriguing style of narration. Her accent is great with the ability to create various character voices.  Pacing is slower, yet lures you more into the story. Great job! I’m definitely looking forward continuing this series!

 

 

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*Name at least 3 things you love about writing crime fiction.

  1. I’m always learning something new, whether it’s about police procedure, forensics, or locations

     2. The characters! I always wanted to make sure this series wasn’t just about Kay                   Hunter – there’s a great supporting cast, too

    3.  Trying to out-fox the reader so you can’t guess who the killer is 🙂

 

*How have authors like Michael Connelly, Lee Child,  and Robert Ludlum influenced you?

Enormously. When I set out to write the Detective Kay Hunter series, I read every interview I could find with Michael Connelly for instance. With a career spanning decades and nearly thirty books in his Harry Bosch world, he’s one of the writers I truly admire in this genre, along with Peter James, Ann Cleeves, Val McDermid, Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson. They all continue to write up to the minute and relevant stories and I’d like to think I could sustain a career with the same longevity.

Reading both Lee Child and Robert Ludlum’s books taught me how important doing your research and pacing in the story are – the two go hand-in-hand, because you musn’t bore the reader!

 

 

*What are the major writing difference between spy thrillers with Dan Taylor and crime fiction with Detective Kay Hunter?

The Dan Taylor series is more plot driven, although readers do love the characters, and the Kay Hunter series is more character driven. I think that’s because by the time I started to write the Kay Hunter books I was more confident as a writer and it shows.

 

*If you could compose a dream team of the top 5 spies who would you select?

Jason Bourne, Nikita, Leon, and Decker and Eva Delacourt from my English Spy Mysteries series!

 

 

*A dream team of the top 5 detectives?

That has to be Harry Bosch, Elvis Cole, Joe Pike, Alan Banks, and Vera.

 

*Is it harder to write a thriller or mystery?

I definitely find the spy series (both of them) harder to write, simply due to the amount of research that’s involved.

 

*Is Detective Kay Hunter based on a real personality?

No.

 

*What’s next for you?

I’m currently writing the sixth book in the Detective Kay Hunter series, and tapping away at the first in what will be a new crime series in my “spare” time.

 

 

 

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About the Author: Rachel Amphlett

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

 

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Audiobook Blog Tour: A Looming of Vultures by Richard Storry

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A Looming of Vultures

Ruritanian Rogues, Book 1

 

 

Looming of Vultures book image

 

 

About the Audiobook

Author: Richard Storry

Narrator: Jake Urry

Length: 4 hours 57 minutes

Publisher: Richard Alan Storry⎮2017

Genre: Suspense

Series: Ruritanian Rogues, Volume I

Release date: Oct. 5, 2017

 

Synopsis: While an ugly war with its neighbouring realm continues to rage, the insulated members of Ruritania’s upper class laugh and dance their way through their superficial lives. Some people, increasingly disillusioned by the pointless conflict, start to consider how the King might be persuaded – or forced – to end it.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of items of great value are going missing from those attending these high society gatherings.
At whom will the finger of suspicion point? Who can be trusted?
With so many competing, yet intertwined, agendas, what will be the outcome of this looming of vultures?

 

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Book Review

 

I loved the story idea and execution for this book.  Set in Ruritana, the upper class are full of jealously, suspicions, squabbles and conflict. The characters are very well developed adding depth and strength to the story. My favorites were Baron Rudolph and his loyal servant, Wilheim. They totally breathed life into the story!

Part of the beginning was a bit more narrative than I’d like, even a bit of an info-dump, but not too bad. In the overall scheme of things, very minute. Excellent book.

 

 

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NARRATOR PERFORMANCE

Narrated by: Jake Urry

 

  • Narrator-Story Connection: 10/10

I have no qualms here. When Jake Urry narrates he’s fully immersed in the story. His work always pays off. Excellent.

  • Voice Quality: 10/10

I love Jake’s voice. When matched with books like, A Looming of Vultures, the result is sensational. This always boggles me. How narrators create the voices for characters and portray them so effortlessly. The voices for Baron Rudolph and Wilheim were extremely fascinating.

  • Voice Switch Over:  10/10

Excellence. Jake is one of my favorite narrators for a reason. The way that he narrates a story, switching between characters is masterful. The dialogue between the Baron and his servant Wilheim is memorable.

  • Pacing 10/10

Right on the money. Skillful, even particularly methodical for this type of story.

  • Emphasis 10/10

Masterful. Can’t say enough about how Urry brings out the personality of the main characters. It’s like listening to a book in 3D.

  • Reader-Story Connection 10/10

I was fully absorbed into the story. That’s the affect of great storytelling and narration.

  • Sound Quality: 10/10

Publisher:  Richard Alan Storry

Completely professional. Very rich sound.

  • Overall Performance: 10/10

Absolutely masterful. This is the only second time I handed out a perfect performance. I’m looking forward to book 2 in the series!

 

 

 

 

 

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About the Author: Richard Storry

Richard studied at the Royal Academy of Music for five years, between 1984-89, graduating with high honours and a recital diploma – the only guitarist in eight years to be awarded such an honour – and winning the Julian Bream prize.
After recently being adapted for the stage, Richard’s first novel, “The Cryptic Lines” has now been published and is available for download from the kindle store at Amazon here; and his song “Until You’re Safely Home” is being performed frequently by various Military Wives Choirs in many different parts of the world.
Richard’s second novel, “Order of Merit” was published in September 2015. His third novel, “The Black Talisman” was published in January 2016, and his fourth – “The Virtual Lives Of Godfrey Plunkett”, was published in April 2016. You can find out more about Richard’s books at the Cryptic Publications website here.

 

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Jake Urry Narrator

 

About the Narrator: Jake Urry

Jake Urry has been narrating and producing Audiobooks since February 2016, and in that time has released 28 titles, including The Cryptic Lines by Richard Storry, White is the Coldest Colour and A Mind to Kill by John Nicholl, the PI Harlan Ulrich series by Ambrose Ibsen, The Tesla Gate by John D. Mimms, and The Dragon Apocalypse Series by James Maxey. In 2018 Jake will be working on a wide range of Audiobooks across the genres of Mystery, Thriller, Fantasy, Horror and Sci-Fi.

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

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Audioblog Tour: Timeless by Michelle Madow

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A WONDERFUL SERIES

 

Remembrance

Vengeance

Timeless

 

 

 

Get the boxset!

 

Transcend time saga

 

Audible

 

 

About the Audiobook

Author: Michelle Madow

Narrator: Andrea Emmes

Length: 12 hours 57 minutes (Box set)

Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing⎮2017

Genre: Clean Romance

Series: The Transcend Time Saga, Books 1-2

Release date: Aug. 25, 2017

Synopsis: Lizzie Davenport has been reincarnated from 1815, England… but she doesn’t realize it until she meets her soul mate from the past and he triggers her memories to gradually return.
The series began with Remembrance, was followed by the short story Vengeance, and concluded with Timeless. The series has sold a significant number of copies, and has received much praise from reviewers. Read all three parts together in this special box set!

 

*This post is a review for the last book, Timeless. So here’s the specs for the individual audiobook on Audible.com*

 

 

TIMELESS

The Transcend Time Saga, Book 2

 

Timeless

 

Timeless

 

 

 

My Review

Great writing combined with a great narrator make for a wonderful series. The idea for this book was so intriguing, the characters, plot and unraveling of a mystery made for a excellent read. Very engaging throughout. The level of tension and dilemma were delectable. Narrator Andrea Emmes is such a pro, I picked this series largely because of her. if there were an all star team for Narrators she’d be on it.

Hats off to author Michelle Madow. She does a great job delving into the character personalities, their intrinsic worldview, and weaving together an excellent plot.

 

Five golden stars isolated on white background

 

 

 

NARRATOR PERFORMANCE

ANDREA EMMES

 

  • Narrator-Story Connection: 10/10

Stellar performance again by Andrea. When it comes to narrating a story there needs to be a transparent medium for the listener. They also need to enveloped within the story themselves in order to convey it properly. A+.

 

  • Voice Quality: 10/10

This is purely a subjective matter as it should be for every listener. I love Andrea’s voice! They couldn’t have picked a better person for the role. Literally. Her enthusiastic, youthful, innocent, energetic voice was perfect.

 

  • Voice Switch Over:  10/10

This is one of my favorites skills of the narrator, and I still don’t know how they’re able to pull it off so flawlessly. During this particular audiobook they’re several things to note.

 

  1. The male voice of Drew Carmichael- Enjoyed his matter-of-fact personality throughout the book.
  2. Lizzie – Of course was awesome. Deep sea diving into her subjective worldview was very entertaining.
  3. British accents of Lizzie, Andrew, Misty, Lady Givens and Brooks were not only believable but excellent.
  4. I learned something new through this performance that’s worthy of note. In addition to having a believable accent, or rather more importantly, you need to embody the character properly. Now I know why having an acting background is critical. It separates a typical narration to properly stepping into the character’s shoes to portray them in the story. I finally get it, it’s acting! Superb.
  5. Having to keep all the voices in your head, speak with clarity, and then switch back to the narrative voice is hardest job of the narrator in my opinion. Andrea did it with flying colors.

 

  • Pacing 10/10

Every listener has their preference for the pace of the story. Now with modern technology you change switch the speed of the narration at will. But I never do that. I enjoy listening at the normal pace of things. Andrea Emmes brings a lot of passion to her work, especially in emotions. It also shows up in the pacing of the story which compels you to pay attention more.

 

  • Emphasis 9/10

The emphasis was great. One of my pet peeves are monotone narrators without much deviance. I’d never pick up an audiobook with that kind of narrator. I wouldn’t last five minutes let alone several hours. But Andrea has great variation in her voice for each character. It definitely helps to bring them alive.

 

  • Reader-Story Connection 10/10

This is how well the narrator brings me into the center of the story without becoming a distraction. This might even be a result of the aforementioned items. A summation of the skills of the narrator, if you will. A+.

 

  • Sound Quality: 10/10

Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing. Excellent.

 

  • Overall Performance: 10/10

Off the charts. Very professional job. I walk away with an impression of great characterization and the ability to bring a story to life.  Where the characters leap off the page and compel you to know them deeply. If the story has impacted the narrator, then through their skill, they in turn impact the reader.

 

 

 

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About the Author: Michelle Madow

Michelle Madow is a USA Today bestselling author of fast paced fantasy novels that will leave you turning the pages wanting more!
She grew up in Maryland and now lives in Florida. Some of her favorite things are: reading, traveling, pizza, time travel, Broadway musicals, and spending time with friends and family. Someday, she hopes to travel the world for a year on a cruise ship.

 

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ABOUT THE NARRATOR: ANDREA EMMES

Audible Best Selling Narrator, Andrea Emmes was born in Hollywood, FL and grew up in both Tennessee and Rhode Island, started her career in musical theater. Cutting her teeth at The Trinity Arts Center in Rhode Island, Andrea eventually made her way to Orlando and began her eclectic career singing/dancing in various shows at Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Pirates’ Dinner Adventure, performing as a magician’s assistant, headlining on the Las Vegas Strip and touring Los Angeles as an L.A. Award winning artist with her album,”I’m On My Way”. Having worked in tv, film and video games, Andrea, a total Book Nerd, now enjoys narrating audiobooks at her home studio in San Jose, California. Her wide range of character voices and dynamic/emotionally invested performances has reviewers and listeners alike commenting on how she effortlessly pulls listeners in, and has versatility and charisma.

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

www.thewritingtrain.com

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