book review, nonfiction

Review: Hamilton: The Revolution

History is entirely created by the person who tells the story

Hamilton: The Revolution, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter

hamilton-the-revolution_jeremy-mccarter

AUTHOR: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter

GENRE: Non-Fiction

FORMAT: audiobook

RATING: 5/5 stars

BACKGROUND: In hindsight, it seems that most revolutions are inevitable. This applies to both the American Revolution and the revolution that Hamilton, the musical, has made in both musical theatre and rap. However, when you are in the midst of completing a revolution, nothing seems inevitable. This book tells of the process that shaped Hamilton from a mixtape, a concept album, to one of the best musicals of our generation- from the first performance that Lin did at the White House to the opening night on Broadway. It also includes the annotations to the libretto of the musical.

THOUGHTS: Okay if you have not listened to Hamilton or seen the show, this is maybe not the book for you. It will be so much more meaningful if you are familiar with the show in any capacity. So, if you have not but are intending to listen to this show, maybe consider not finishing this review.

Another disclaimer: I have been a fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda for the longest time so I enjoyed this book more than the casual fan of Hamilton would.

I absolutely adored every moment of listening to Hamilton: The Revolution. Being as big of a fan of the show as I am, there were plenty little tidbits included in the book that were news to me, which was quite enjoyable. Getting to know exactly what it takes to pull off such a phenomenon, and exactly how risky it was, is much more enjoyable to know now that the musical is indescribably popular.

The emotional moments of creating the musical, especially since there are so many elements of overcoming racial disadvantages and marrying modern music with musical theatre, are a joy to read. There are quite a few times during the audiobook in which I shamelessly teared up, or straight up cried. The fact that the cast of Hamilton tends to come from immigrant parents and very diverse backgrounds make the story of how this family came together very touching. The story of Anthony Ramos in particular broke and mended my heart in a turn of a sentence.

The inevitable intermingling of this story with the story of American history AND contemporary American politics also adds to the complexity of the story. The story of the American revolution and in particular, Alexander Hamilton, embodies so much of what we would now call the American spirit. Any patriot, any person who is proud of the multiracial, diverse, and yet united America will feel immense pride in how perfectly Hamilton seems to usher us into a new cultural, political, and social age– even though it is set in our deep past. You need to see it (or read it) to believe it.

If you are a fan of the musical, or a hip hop geek, or a musical theatre geek, or a history buff, you will definitely enjoy the annotations that Lin have provided on the libretto. I pinky promise.

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book review, book tour, young adult

Book Tour: Transcend Time

Author: Michelle Madow

Narrator: Andrea Emmes

Series: The Transcend Time Saga, Book 1

Length: 7 hours 5 minutes

Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing

Released: Jul. 31, 2017

Genre: Clean Romance

They’re reincarnated soulmates. So why is he pushing her away?

Lizzie Davenport has been reincarnated from 1815, England … but she doesn’t know it until she meets her soul mate from the past and he triggers her memories to gradually return.

When Drew Carmichael moves to Lizzie’s town, Lizzie feels a connection to him, like she knows him. But he wants nothing to do with her. She knows she should let go of her fascination with Drew, but that gets harder and harder as memories of her past life return. And the more Lizzie remembers, the more she’s determined to unravel the mysteries of the past … no matter how deadly those secrets might be.

A romance with a fantasy twist that listeners of all ages will love!

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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Narrator Bio

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

RATING: 3.5/5 stars

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy and young adult! It has your classic tropes: the love triangle, the dark and handsome love interest, the conflicted girl, etc. It is a feel-good, kind of book that I’m sure many people would enjoy.

I liked listening to this book rather than reading it ( and not just because the narrator, Andrea Emmes, did a terrific job) because it was a lot easier to imagine the details of setting while listening to the book.

The book did a great job in sticking to the historical accuracies of the other time era it was describing other than present day, though I was left wishing that more of the book was spent in the “past” because that era is truly one of my favorites to study and know more about.

Lizzie, the protagonist, navigates through the classic high school issues: whether she really likes her current boyfriend (he’s a class-A jerk, which was nicely done), whether she should be taking AP classes when she is struggling in the subject, and whether she should be loyal to her best friend or loyal to her love interest. These struggles took up most of the book and that is why I would recommend this book to readers who like young adult. Many of Lizzie’s issues are valid ones that many a teenager deals with, and her immaturity in dealing with some of these issues only goes to show that she is the age she is supposed to be in this book. I believe anyone who remembers being a confused teenager will have no issue in relating to the protagonist.

There are also many, many references to Pride and Prejudice, which I enjoyed because it is truly one of my favorite books. If these elements sound appealing to you, then I would definitely recommend this series to you!

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Q&A with Narrator Andrea Emmes
  • When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
    • Well, I kind of fell into audiobooks in 2014 and haven’t looked back since. I’ve been a professional performer (actor/singer/dancer/VO) for over 20 years but in 2006 I got hurt in a stunt show and had to retire due to a disabling pain disorder called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy aka CRPS. I’ve always been an avid reader and during my recovery I read about 8-12 books a week. I went back to college and got a degree in Game Art and Design and was a game designer for Disney Interactive for a couple of years After the layoffs, I had to figure out what I should do next as I can no longer dance, etc. anymore and my husband suggested I look into audiobooks. He’s brilliant and I researched it, set up my equipment, studied with coaches and have enjoyed every minute of it!!
  • Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?
    • That’s a great question. Yes and No. When looking into how to get into audiobooks, I found ACX. Audiobook Exchange which is owned by Amazon/Audible. It’s a really great marketplace for self-published indie authors/small publishers to put their books up for auditions and for narrators to find work. This is where I got my start. It was great cutting my teeth on the amazing books that were listed but since this is a full time thing for me, I’m always looking how to grow my business and extend my reach as a narrator. So, I started looking into how I could work with the big publishers. This takes some time as there are a ton of amazing talent out there that are vying to be noticed and cast. So, I immediately starting coaching with Sean Allen Pratt, who is an incredible coach and began learning techniques for Non Fiction and narration in general which really gave me a solid foundation moving forward. I still hear Sean’s advice in my head while in the booth 3 years later!! I’ve also studied with Paul Alan Ruben, Patrick Fraley, PJ Ochlan, Joel Froomkin, Andi Arndt. Each one offered such nuggets of wisdom that has made me a better narrator and I look forward to learning from other coaches as you should always be honing your craft. Each book I do, I learn so much and finally this year, after networking, working on my technique and studio sound, I’ve started working with some publishers and am so excited to see what lies ahead!
  • A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
    • I, too, have a background in theatre and though I think that it was 100% helpful for me in bringing those acting techniques to my narration, it’s not a MUST. But it does help. Audiobook Narration is an acting job. You are cast to not only bring the book to life audibly, but you must vocally and emotionally embody each character, the tone of the book and entertain at the same time. It’s no easy feat. So for those who don’t have any acting background and want to be a narrator, it can be learned with really great coaching. I know many successful narrators who didn’t come from the acting world but put in so much work to be the best at what they do.
  • What type of training have you undergone?
    • I’ve been studied the art of acting and performing for more than half my life. I’ve taken singing lessons to not only bring a higher quality to my singing voice, but to help with breath control, mic techinques and vocal upkeep. I’ve studied with the best of the best for voice over work for commercials, animation, video games and of course audiobooks. What’s interesting is that the technique for voice over (commercial/animation/videogames) is different for audiobooks. There is a different approach you need to take with NonFiction (which is still acting) and with Fiction. How you approach different character voices but not be over the top cartoony, keeping the narration genuine and engaging to keep the listener immersed. Sometimes, I enjoy the training just as much as the actual narration.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
    • That is a great question, but narration can be tedious. Especially because you have to learn a ton of tech and engineering besides just speaking into the mic. It’s important to take lots of small breaks. Especially because it’s not good to be sitting or standing for too long. Because of my disability, I have to narrate sitting down, so it’s important for me to stretch or lay down every once in a while. Also, it can be hard to maintain your enthusiasm because, yes, I have a wicked cool job that I LOVE, but sometimes it’s hard to get into the emotions of the book. But I remind myself that I’m so blessed to do what I do; to have authors and publishers who believe and trust in me to bring their book to life and I don’t take that honor lightly. If I’m struggling or just not feeling it, I’ll step away, play some video games or watch TV or go for a walk and then come back fresh and get back to work!! As long as I hit my deadline, my daily schedule is flexible.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • I AM! I love them. I’ve always loved story time as a child and in a way, it brings me back to when my parents would read to me. Audiobooks allow you to dive into the world of a good book and amazing characters, hear them come to life with the different voices, etc. and just let your imagination soar. When I’m listening, I can see the world that the narrator is describing. Also, it’s great to keep me entertained while I’m driving, cleaning or going for a walk. I’m a book addict and a total audiophile!
  • What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
    • Hmm. I think my favorite parts of narrating is when I first read the book, make all of my notes and really work on the characters. I also really love emotional stories, where the characters are going through a hard time, some kind of trauma, or whatever and I can dive into what they are feeling. It can be hard emotionally on me as sometimes I’ve had to stop recording because I have to ugly cry for a moment, but it’s so fulfilling to actualize these moments in a hopefully genuine manner that will touch the listener. The best feeling is when the book is complete and gets approved ☺. My least favorite part of narration would be if I have to edit/master my own book. That is a very tedious process and whenever I can afford to high a professional engineer I jump at the chance. (plus, they do a way better job than I do so they are worth every penny!)
  • What would you say are your strongest narration abilities?
    • Wow. That’s a hard question. I think for me, really getting into the mindset of a character, especially an angst-y young adult character and bringing them to life in a believable way is something I feel confident with.
  • 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 honestly am happy to narrate any genre, but because I have a youthful voice, Young Adult and Children’s books are a strength for me and what I do mostly. And I love it. I read young adult books for pleasure so it’s pretty awesome to be able to narrate them! I have declined a few projects because I didn’t feel I was right for it. And often times, I’d submit other narrators that I thought would be better suited for the book.

The Transcend Time Saga Giveaway: $20 Amazon Gift Card

Remembrance, Book 1

Oct. 22nd:
The Audiobookworm

Loves Great Reads
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Timeless, Book 2

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book tour

Book Tour: Air and Ash

 

Author: Alex Lidell

Narrator: Kaitlin Bellamy

Length: 6 hours and 57 minutes

Publisher: Danger Bearing Press

Released: Sep. 8, 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy

Master and Commander meets Sarah J Maas in a seafaring adventure of duty, love, magic, and a princess’s quest to protect her kingdom on her own terms.

After a lifetime of training, 17-year-old Princess Nile Greysik, a lieutenant on the prestigious Ashing navy flagship, sails into battle with one vital mission – and fails.

Barred from the sea and facing a political marriage, Nile masquerades as a common sailor on the first ship she can find. With a cowardly captain, incompetent crew, and a cruel, too-handsome first officer intent on making her life a living hell, Nile must hide her identity while trying to turn the sorry frigate battle worthy. Worse, a terrifying and forbidden magic now tingles in Nile’s blood. If anyone catches wind of who Nile is or what she can do, her life is over.

But when disaster threatens the ship, Nile may have no choice but to unleash the truth that will curse her future.

Air and Ash is the thrilling first installment of the TIDES series. Recommended for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Tamora Pierce, and David Weber.

 

Alex Lidell is the author of Amazon best sellers AIR AND ASH and WAR AND WIND (Danger Bearing Press, 2017) and an Amazon Breakout Novel Awards finalist author of THE CADET OF TILDOR (Penguin, 2013). She is an avid horseback rider, a (bad) hockey player, and an ice-cream addict. Born in Russia, Alex learned English in elementary school, where a thoughtful librarian placed a copy of Tamora Pierce’s ALANNA in Alex’s hands. In addition to becoming the first English book Alex read for fun, ALANNA started Alex’s life long love for YA fantasy books.

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Kaitlin Bellamy is a freelance performer and acting coach residing in Central Florida, with a theatrical history spanning more than twenty-five years.

Since relocating to Orlando in 2012, she has worked at multiple theme parks and various theatrical venues, in a career style she calls “Buffet Performing:” or, the idea of keeping several jobs active at any given time, so she may pick and choose where to work, and life never gets boring. Her specialties include Shakespeare, Voice Acting, and Puppetry. But above all, she is passionate about the performing arts, and all they stand for.

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Q&A with Author Alex Lidell
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    • At the time I was writing AIR AND ASH, no. But now that I am on the third book in the series, having heard Kaitlin narrate AIR AND ASH, I do hear the characters speaking in her voice as I write.
  • How did you select your narrator?
    • I listed to sample reels of many narrators and then invited Kaitlin to audition. I really like the range of emotions and undertones she has within each character’s voice.
  • 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?
    • Very closely! I was really shy about sending her an audio file of my voice pronouncing some words, but it worked 🙂 We also have a shared google doc with character descriptions and we spent some time on the phone “auditioning” character voices. It was one of my favorite parts of the process and the reason I SO love working with Kaitlin.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
    • Often by listening to audiobooks or watching some TV shows with the right atmosphere, and then analyzing the story/plot. What did I like about it? Why did I keep watching and listening? How can I apply that fun thing that got me excited to my own writing?
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • I’m a HUGE listener. I fell in love with audiobooks listening to Master and Commander, where the narrator helped me understand some of the technical seamanship. My favorite narrator (aside from Kaitlin of course!) is Jennifer Ikeda
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • I say Safety First! When I get into a book, I can’t pull away from it – so I end up walking down the street, reading my phone (yeah, i’m one of those horrible people). With audiobooks I can walk and listen!
  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
    • I have a habit of traveling to meet people who I’ve e-met during the writing process. After finishing WAR AND WIND (TIDES book 2), I went to see Rachel E Carter in CA. And in October I’m going to go see Kaitlin to celebrate AIR AND ASH audio.
  • In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
    • I think YA fantasy fans are often comfortable with a series – I know I am – and expect it. Other genres have different fan bases. From an author perspective, a series lets me tell more complex overall stories, but makes logistics difficult. IE in book one, the distance between A and B might not matter so I say “umm, half a day by horse, sure, why not”. And then in book 3 it becomes vitally important that it take a WEEK to get from A to B,… and I have to somehow deal 🙂
  • Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
    • Talk to your narrator and make sure you click as professionals. I really lucked out with Kaitlin because of her excitement level and flexibility – but some people prefer to have more “distance”. It was a match with Kaitlin herself, not just her voice, that finally closed the deal for me
  • What’s next for you?
    • WAR AND WIND (Tides 2) comes out in audio in December. SEA AND SAND (Tides 3) comes out in print/ebook in January!

Oct. 18th:
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Adventures thru Wonderland

History from a Woman’s Perspective

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Notes from ‘Round the Bend

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What Is That Book About

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book tour

Book Tour: Keys to the Coven

 

Author: Vicky Loebel

Narrators: Nick Podehl & Emily Beresford

Length: 12 hours 49 minutes

Publisher: Pentachronistic Press

Released: Jun. 17, 2013

Genre: Paranormal

The Road to Hell is Paved with Bad Intentions. Get ready for Keys to the Coven, a witty, tightly plotted, (adult) urban-fantasy/romance set in an original universe where karma is power, sex is karma, and it’s not who you know but whose soul you own that matters.*

To become a demon, you must die in complete and utter despair. Three hundred years ago, Max passed that test with flying colors and joined the afterlife resolving never again to have innocent blood on his hands. Now Max has been given the job of breaking a young witch’s family curse. But what she doesn’t know, what Max can’t bring himself to tell her, is that completing his mission almost certainly means her death.

When Felicity Woodsen inherits her mother’s coven, she learns each firstborn Woodsen daughter must become the consort of an evil-arch demon. Felicity’s only hope is to ally with the mysteriously charming Max. But is saving her body from one demon worth risking her soul with another?

Roxashael became a demon when his Roman captors sent his family, one by one to be devoured by lions. The lesson was clear: power is good; lots of power is better. Two-thousand years later, Rocky has power. He’s purchased hundreds of souls, and he’s created the Minsk Homunculus, a magic artifact that, by binding a human witch as his consort, turns him into an arch-demon and places him above the goody-two-shoes laws of karma.

Unfortunately, Rocky made a mistake. He fell in love with Felicity’s mother and in a moment of weakness promised to give up his demon-consort charm. Now Felicity’s mother is dead, the Minsk Homunculus is slated for destruction, and Rocky’s power as an arch-demon is about to end.

No demon can break a promise. If Rocky refuses to give up the Minsk Homunculus, he’ll become the lowest, most abject slave in Hell. But then, why break promises when they’re so easy to corrupt?

**Caution: This book contains violence, strong sexual themes, moderately explicit sex between consenting adults, (unfulfilled) threats against children, and one completely gratuitous reference to unicorns.

 

Vicky Loebel began her professional life as a systems programmer for NASA and moved through successively more challenging careers before settling in as a writer of tightly-plotted, romantic fiction. She lives on the slopes of Mt. Lemmon, AZ with her sister, three dogs, a rotating assortment of children, and a husband who has the patience of a saint.

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Narrator Bio

Nick Podehl is a professional Voice Actor. He has narrated over 200 audio books, many of which have won various awards.

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Emily Beresford is a professional audiobook narrator who is a nerd for books, no matter the genre. In 2013 she was nominated for an Audie Award and received an Earphones Award from AudioFile magazine, for her work on the Multi-Voice title October Mourning. She lives in Michigan with her wonderful husband, and two amazing children.

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Q&A with Author Vicky Loebel
  • Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
    Turning “Keys to the Coven” into an audiobook was a dream come true. As a long-time listener (my Audible library is HUGE), I was already a fan of narrator Nick Podehl, so when I spotted his name on the ACX website, I sprang. Mike Naramore of Terrestrial Media recommended Emily Beresford as the female narrator and handled everything, so I got to walk the red-carpet of audiobook production – all without changing out of my pajamas!
  • Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?
    Humor is a challenge because it’s taste specific – different people are going to see different things as funny, a fact that was brought home to me when I listened to “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” – a book I thought was only so-so when I read it myself – brilliantly narrated by author Douglas Adams. (If you’ve never heard this version, track it down!)
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    Nope. If it were, I’d have taken pity on the narrators and made my sentences a little less convoluted. 🙂
  • How did you select your narrators?
    Comic timing is everything when reading a book that is equal parts serious adventure and humor. Since I was lucky enough to know Nick’s work, I simply found his address and threw myself across his driveway blocking his car…. Just kidding. He turned out to be available. Although I kept the driveway thing in reserve….
  • What influenced your decision to have dual narration?
    “Keys to the Coven” alternates point of view between the male and female leads on a chapter-by-chapter basis, so dual narration was a natural choice, but I was worried about finding two readers who worked well together. Fortunately my production house was able to recommend Emily Beresford.
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    My first stories were fanfiction based on an old 1960s television show called “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” about a pair of optimistic spies who save the world and always do the right thing. My demon, Max, is a distillation of the nobility, pragmatism, and dry wit I adore those characters. And sexiness – did I forget to mention sexiness?
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    I love audiobooks! I started checking them out from the library (remember CDs?) years ago to listen to while commuting, and they quickly expanded to brighten chores, exercise, and rocking babies at two in the morning. Along the way, I saw the added dimension a great narrator brings to a story and discovered many new authors while sampling books by beloved narrators. In my opinion, it’s perfect symbiosis!
  • In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
    I love to fall in love with characters (especially well-crafted secondary characters), so I really understand the appeal of a series. But I also enjoy all sorts of styles and genres and love to try out different worlds and plots. So both are great! Had I but world enough and time….
  • Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
    Often, particularly toward the end of a project. Those smart-alecs always have something cleverer to say or more inventive to do than whatever I wrote in the first place, so then it’s revisions, revisions, revisions until my dream-masters are satisfied.

 

 

Oct. 8th:

abookandalattee

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Blogger Nicole Reviews

Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

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Lomeraniel

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Shh, I am Reading

Turning Another Page

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Jazzy Book Reviews

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Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog

Tango With Text

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2 Girls & A Book

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book tour

Book Tour: The Punch Escrow

Author: Tal M. Klein

Narrator:Matthew Mercer

Length: 8 hours 42 minutes

Publisher: Audible Studios

Released: Jul. 25, 2017

Genre: Tecnothriller

It’s the year 2147. Advancements in nanotechnology have enabled us to control aging. We’ve genetically engineered mosquitoes to feast on carbon fumes instead of blood, ending air pollution. And teleportation has become the ideal mode of transportation, offered exclusively by International Transport—a secretive firm headquartered in New York City. Their slogan: Departure… Arrival… Delight!

 

Joel Byram, our smartass protagonist, is an everyday twenty-second century guy. He spends his days training artificial intelligence engines to act more human, jamming out to 1980’s new wave—an extremely obscure genre, and trying to salvage his deteriorating marriage. Joel is pretty much an everyday guy with everyday problems—until he’s accidentally duplicated while teleporting.

 

Now Joel must outsmart the shadowy organization that controls teleportation, outrun the religious sect out to destroy it, and find a way to get back to the woman he loves in a world that now has two of him.

 

 

Tal M. Klein was born in Israel, grew up in New York, and currently lives in Detroit with his wife and two daughters. When she was five years old, his daughter Iris wrote a book called I’m a Bunch of Dinosaurs that went on to become one of the most successful children’s book projects on Kickstarter ―something that Tal explained to Iris by telling her, “your book made lots of kids happy.” Iris then asked Tal, “Daddy, why don’t you write a book that makes lots of grownups happy?” Tal mulled this over for a few years, and eventually wrote his first book, The Punch Escrow. It won the Inkshares Geek & Sundry Hard Science Fiction publishing contest, and is the first book published on the Geek & Sundry imprint.

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Narrator Bio

Matthew Christopher Miller, known professionally as Matthew Mercer or Matt Mercer, is an American voice actor involved in English dubs of Japanese anime as well as cartoons, films and video games. In anime shows, he voiced Levi in Attack on Titan, Kiritsugu Emiya in Fate/Zero, Kanji Tatsumi for episodes 13-26 in Persona 4: The Animation and Trafalgar Law in the Funimation dub of One Piece. In video games, he voices Leon S. Kennedy in the Resident Evil series, Jack Cooper in Titanfall 2, Chrom in Fire Emblem Awakening, McCree in Overwatch, MacCready in Fallout 4 and Yusuke Kitagawa in Persona 5. In addition to voice-over, Mercer has developed some live-action web series including a Nintendo character parody called “There Will Be Brawl” and the famous Geek & Sundry and Alpha Dungeons & Dragons gaming session show “Critical Role.” The Punch Escrow is his first audiobook.

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Q&A with Author Tal M. Klein
  • How did you select your narrator, Matthew Mercer?

I always knew I wanted Matt Mercer to narrate my book, the hard part was getting him to agree to do it. Between Critical Role and his various Nerdist responsibilities, he’s also an incredibly prolific voice actor. Recording an audiobook is a serious time commitment! There was also the challenge of getting Audible to agree to having Matt do the book because he’d never done an audiobook before. Ultimately I got lucky in that Matt read my book, liked it, agreed to do the audiobook, and Audible was easily convinced to sign off once they heard his voice acting reel. The rest is history!

  • How closely did you work with Matthew before and during the recording process? Did you give him any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?

Matt is a consumate professional. We did one session on pronounciation, but everything else was entirely in his court. I wanted him to make my book is canvas. He did an outstanding job.

  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?

The Inkshares community is incredibly supportive, so they are owed a lot of credit, but my wife deserves the lion’s share. She was my rock throughout the writing process and the book would have never gotten finished without her support and enthusiasm.

  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?

I love audiobooks, though I tend to prefer listening to nonfiction. One of the reasons I was so particular about choosing Matt Mercer to do my book is because I knew he would give each chracter a unique voice. I feel like many fiction audiobooks lose me when they are narrated in monotone.

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

Nothing beats Matt Mercer singing Karma Chameleon. That alone is worth the price of admission in my humble opinion.

  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?

I think the two experiences are distinctly different. As I mentioned, I rarely listen to fiction audiobooks, but when I do it’s usually after I’ve already read the book.

  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?

A bottle of expensive bubbly with my family and friends!

 

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book tour

Book Tour: Ballad of the Beanstalk

Author: Amy McNulty

Narrator: Kaitlin Descutner

Length: 5 hours 50 minutes

Publisher: Patchwork Press

Released: Jul. 18, 2017

Genre: Fantasy

As her fingers move across the strings of her family’s heirloom harp, 16-year-old Clarion can forget. She doesn’t dwell on the recent passing of her beloved father or the fact that her mother has just sold everything they owned, including that very same instrument that gives Clarion life. She doesn’t think about how her friends treat her like a feeble, brittle thing to be protected. She doesn’t worry about how to tell the elegant Elena, her best friend and first love, that she doesn’t want to be her sweetheart anymore. She becomes the melody and loses herself in the song.

When Mack, a lord’s dashing young son, rides into town so his father and Elena’s can arrange a marriage between the two youth, Clarion finds herself falling in love with a boy for the first time. Drawn to Clarion’s music, Mack puts Clarion and Elena’s relationship to the test, but he soon vanishes by climbing up a giant beanstalk that only Clarion has seen. When even the town witch won’t help, Clarion is determined to rescue Mack herself and prove once and for all that she doesn’t need protecting. But while she fancied herself a savior, she couldn’t have imagined the enormous world of danger that awaits her in the kingdom of the clouds.

A prequel to the fairytale Jack and the Beanstalk that reveals the true story behind the magical singing harp.

 

Amy McNulty is a freelance writer and editor from Wisconsin with an honors degree in English. She was first published in a national scholarly journal (The Concord Review) while in high school and currently writes professionally about everything from business marketing to anime. In her down time, you can find her crafting stories with dastardly villains and antiheroes set in fantastical medieval settings.

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Narrator Bio

In 2010, I graduated from California University….of Pennsylvania (yes, you read that correctly) with a BA in Theatre and Dance. I have been a professional actress for 7 years in Columbus, OH working in both Musical Theatre shows and Dramatic plays ranging from Classic, Rock & Roll, Modern, British, American Southern, etc. I work as a Children’s Theatre teacher as well as a Commercial Actress where I specialize in voice acting, photo, commercial and tutorial video work. I am interested in new projects and pursuing new opportunities.

I am a big, avid reader, and listen to audio books more than the radio in my car. My favorite genres are historical fiction, fiction, nonfiction and biographies/ memoirs. This is a new endeavor for me, and I am thrilled to explore different characters through storytelling. Reading is a big passion of mine. Bring on the books!

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Q&A with Author Amy McNulty
  • Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
  • I work with a platform called ACX, which matches book rights holders with narrators/producers. I posted my book and Kaitlin Descutner was one of the narrators who auditioned. She’s a professional actress and she brought such life to the story! I loved working with her. She even sings! I sent her the book, we touched base on a few notes, and she produced the whole audiobook from start to finish. I checked it, we tweaked it together, and then it was ready to go!
  • Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?
  • Sometimes. Descriptive writing really helps bring a story to life. At the same time, though, I know some people who prefer listening to audiobooks to reading, and it would be a shame if they couldn’t read all sorts of books because some books lend themselves better to audiobooks than others.
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
  • I wasn’t thinking about it when writing (which I discovered was an issue during the recording/editing phase, as I didn’t make who was speaking in a scene or two clear to the narrator), but I always try to get my books made into audiobooks once they’re finished just to get them in front of another audience that might have otherwise passed by them.
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process?
  • Kaitlin did most of it on her own. After she finished the first recording, I got back to her with notes and we tweaked it together. But as far as recording and editing goes, it was all her.
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
  • I’ve always wanted to write a fairy tale YA book, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it in a way that’s never been done before. Strangely, when I was watching the Rifftrax Live performance of Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny (it had a Jack and the Beanstalk segment in there—don’t ask, ha), I was struck with the idea of doing a prequel explaining where the magic harp came from. (Since it seems to have a human figure/face in some versions.) Jack and the Beanstalk has never even been one of my favorite fairy tales, but I ran with my idea.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
  • I’m actually increasing my writing pace starting this year, so it’s odd that I’m getting less burnt out the more I work. It helped that I transition to editing more than business writing this year as a freelancer, so my creative energy doesn’t get zapped by my work before I can turn around and write. I discovered the joys of writing on a word processor this year, too. I get more words done by working on a non-glowing screen without internet access, so I’m not distracted. Still, it’s important to take breaks and not force myself to write too much every day.
  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
  • The songs! Music is essential to the story and Kaitlin made up a tune for the lyrics I wrote for a song.
  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
  • I love period dramas and classic romance books, and I’m a huge fan of fantasy and the medieval and Elizabethan eras. It’d be hard for me to choose, although I know actually living in those eras would be difficult. More likely than not, I’d be a servant or peasant, not the aristocracy that have such compelling romances in these stories!
  • If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
  • Hmm, I’m not sure! My favorite actors and actresses are probably too old to take on the roles. I think I pictured Ezra Miller for Mack, though.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
  • It’s absolutely not! Any way people can enjoy stories is legit. Audiobooks make books more accessible to both people with reading disabilities and busy people.
  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
  • I usually post a GIF of Kermit the frog waving his arms on social media. That’s how I feel when I finish a book.
  • In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
  • Standalones allow you to move on to the next project, but with series, you’ve already done some work establishing characters and the world. Series tend to sell more books because you may have hooked people with the first book, but on the other hand, if that first book didn’t hook many people, there’s almost no point in writing more books. Most of my books have sequel/series potential. Writing standalone is actually hard for me! Ballad of the Beanstalk is probably my first standalone where I really have no intention at all of writing a sequel to or series for.
  • What’s next for you?
  • I’m working on my romance series (written under Joy Penny) and then I have a paranormal YA series I want to publish next year.

Ballad of the Beanstalk Giveaway: $10 Amazon Gift Card

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book tour

Book Tour: Lost in the Clouds

Author: R.K. Gold

Narrator: Kyle Tait

Length: 4 hours 3 minutes

Publisher: Earl of Plaid

Released: Aug. 3, 2017

Genre: Paranormal

Neville Canton was about as average as any man can be. He had a mediocre job, a pleasant wife, an on-going feud with his sister, and an average case of cancer that took his life.

 

But death wasn’t the end of his problems and even average people have to learn to overcome.

 

Now trapped in a cloud between the living and the dead, he must find his way to the afterlife.

 

With the help of a spiritual guide he navigates through seven challenges; seven tasks to sever his final connections to the mortal world.

 

If he fails, he forfeits his eternity and the consequences may be worse than death.

 

R.K. Gold graduated from the University of Maryland in 2014 with a B.A. in English and is now pursuing a M.S. in Economics from the University at Buffalo.

He is a non-genre specific author who enjoys reading and writing about characters searching for their purpose in life.

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Narrator Bio

Kyle is a professionally trained voice actor and narrator based in Atlanta, GA. He got his start working in sports radio, spending six seasons as a broadcaster in the Atlanta Braves’ organization. He started doing audiobooks on a part-time basis in 2013, and he enjoyed telling stories so much that he transitioned into voice acting full-time three years later. He’s performed more than 20 titles on Audible across a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres. He also once had a video go viral after he took the pitch at a baseball-themed gender reveal party.

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