“STRAY MAGIC” AUDIOBOOK REVIEW – A fairy tale for all those of us who love dogs and who dream about happy endings.

Title: STRAY MAGIC

Author: JACKIE BOUCHARD

Narrator: AISLING GRAY

Genre: FICTION, WOMEN’S FICTION, CONTEMPORARY FANTASY

Length: 9 HOURS, 1 Minute

Publisher: JACKIE BOUCHARD

Type of Book: AUDIOBOOK

Received From: THE NARRATOR – AISLING GRAY

Release Date: MARCH 26, 2018

Price on Audible: $13.67 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Cara Snow is newly divorced, stuck working for a jerky boss at a pet boutique, and dreading her soon-to-be-empty nest with only her beloved corgi for company. Worse still, her ex just got engaged. Doesn’t she deserve some romance, too? Or, at least a date for the Fur Ball. She’s always enjoyed the annual pet rescue gala, but this year her ex will be there with his fiancée. Meanwhile, Cara hasn’t met anyone- other than the irresistible dogs at the boutique’s adoption events.

Cara is shocked when her wish to fall for a man as easily as she does for those mutts summons Vincent. His velour track suit, paunchy belly, and tough-guy accent don’t exactly fit her childhood image of a fairy godfather. Not exactly on top of his game, he admits to being twenty-five years late. (Her daughter Winnie is convinced he must be there for her!) Vincent does his best and casts a spell “guaranteed” to help Cara find the One. But when she actually starts meeting men, none of them are her type. If only they were as perfect for her as the dogs they adopt. Did her screw-up fairy godfather botch the spell? If so, what will it mean not only for Cara but Vincent as well?

MY REVIEW:

The description of this story states: it is loosely based on “Cinderella,” and I agree that it is VERY LOOSELY based on the classic fairytale. I enjoyed this book much more than I did the fairytale version.

Why? Well, let’s start with the main character, Cara. She is not a doe-eyed innocent. Cara is a grown woman, with a grown daughter who is about to go off to college. To top it off, she has also just gone through a divorce which hit her self-esteem pretty hard. But, like many women, she did not allow herself to wallow in despair, she just moved on with her life the best she could. Sometimes it takes an exceptional amount of courage just to put one foot in front of the other.

Cara may not think of herself as courageous, but that is how I saw her right from the beginning. As the story progresses, her actions, her attitudes and even her angst all solidified my belief in her courageous spirit.

The introduction of a magical fairy godfather was hilarious. The author nailed this character. From his physical appearance to the clothes he chooses to wear, Cara’s Fairy Godfather is a hoot. And of course, Cara, like any other sane person, reacts to his appearance and his pronouncement of his Fairy Godfather status by thinking he must be an escapee from an insane asylum.

Cara works in a pet store and has a beagle as well who plays a prominent role in the story. Then of course there’s the hunky guy from Cara’s past.

There are lots of laughs in this audiobook as well as lots of tender moments. In fact, this book will constantly put a smile on the listeners face. What more could you want?

I loved the characters, I loved the setting, I love dogs as much as the protagonist does, I am also around her age, and my kids have left home to go to college as well. So, suffice it to say that I very much relate to the book’s central character.

This book is a great read, but I have to say that I firmly believe that narrator Aisling Gray’s performance is so perfect that it makes listening to the audiobook preferable over reading the paperback or eBook version of “Stray Magic.” I rate the narration as 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I also rate the story as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I highly recommend this Audiobook to anyone who is in the mood for a light-hearted listening experience. I also recommend this audiobook to anyone and everyone who loves dogs.

*Thank you to Aisling Gray for providing me with a free copy of this audiobook. The fact that I received this audiobook free of charge has in no way impacted my review. I only review books and audiobooks 100% honestly and anyone sending me a book or audiobook agrees that my honest opinion will be posted – sometimes good, sometimes not so good.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jackie Bouchard, a USA Today bestselling author, writes what she calls Fido-friendly fiction – humorous and heart-warming stories about women and the dogs that profoundly impact their lives.

She spent a long time as a creative soul trapped in the body of a practical person. When she was bitten by the writing bug, she managed to leap free of the hamster wheel of corporate America, and now spends her days walking her dog, talking to her dog, and listening for the voices in her head that want their stories told. When the voices don’t talk to her, she can often be found staring into the refrigerator.

After growing up in Southern California, Jackie moved to Bermuda, where she met her husband. Now back in San Diego, American Jackie, her Canadian hubby, and her Mexican rescue mutt form their own happy little United Nations. Jackie’s novels include STRAY MAGIC, HOUSE TRAINED, the Readers’ Favorite gold-medal winning RESCUE ME, MAYBE, and WHAT THE DOG ATE.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

BLOG

AUDIBLE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

AISLING GRAY started doing voice work in 2005 with commercial narration and voice acting, but her love of reading lead her to branch into audiobook narration.

Aisling grew up moving all over the world and has lived in the U.K., Costa Rica, Ghana, Sudan, Jamaica, Peru, the U.S., India, Poland, Azerbaijan, and Mexico — all the while learning languages, so she have a knack for accents.

Listeners have praised her clear, engaging, and versatile narrating as well as her comedic delivery. She loves to bring great writing to life.

To learn more about this Narrator, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

AUDIBLE

ACX

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

LINKEDIN

A TEMPLE OF FORGOTTEN SPIRITS AUDIOBOOK BLOG TOUR

About the Audiobook:

Title: A TEMPLE OF FORGOTTEN SPIRITS

Author: William F. Wu

Narrator: Anthony Lee

Length: 7 hours 41 minutes

Publisher: Moira Nelligar

Genre: Fantasy

Release date: July 6, 2018

Synopsis:

A young guy named Jack Hong hitchhikes throughout America following the
keilin, a mystical unicorn outof Chinese mythology.

The keilin leads him to ten adventures with ghosts and other supernatural figures. These experiences reveal to him not only parts of American history he never knew, but also his own identity and the role he will
choose for his life.

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Buy on Audible

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MY REVIEW:

“The moonlight was still strong, and Lo Man Gong still sat up on the overhead window, where few people and no old men could ever get.

“Feel better, Chinaman?” he asked mildly.

The night before, my resistance had been low, and his presence had somehow seemed tolerable, if not rational. Now I was more clear-headed … yet he was still here. I didn’t like him as much.

I let my eyes drop closed again. Once I was cured of malaria, I’d be free of him. I had eaten twice today; now, if I slept well, I’d be in sound shape pretty soon.

“You know the keilin, Chinaman Jack?”

That was the Chinese unicorn, a mystical animal whose rare appearances were highly auspicious. In the Cantonese I normally heard, it was pronounced “keilun.” It wasn’t like European ones, though. This unicorn had the body of a deer, the hooves of a horse, the tail of an ox, and a fleshy horn. I knew that much.

“The unicorn?” I opened my eyes and looked at him. As before, the moonlight glowed through his shape.

“Ah, you know the keilin. He smiled and nodded thoughtfully. “The keilin means good things happen. It’s very powerful.”

I watched him silently.

After a while, he looked into my eyes again. “Nobody remember me, Jack. Some people remember, some of my frien’. A few of them. Most, nobody remember at all. No children, no relative. You, Jack. You like me. Unless you change.”

Yes, I knew that. I had already come to understand that. And I knew that he had come for me, here in the middle of the country, away from his home as longtime Californ’. But I didn’t know why.”

This is a collection of short stories that when put together as they are in this audiobook, make up an entire novel.

This was my first experience reading any of William F. Wu’s work and I found it both interesting and informative.

Prior to listening to this audiobook, I had never heard of the word “keilin.” What the heck is a keilin? Well, it is the Asian version of a unicorn, but it is miles away from what most people envision a unicorn to look like. Instead of looking like a horse with a single horn on its head, the keilin had the body of a deer, the hooves of a horse, the tail of an ox, and a fleshy horn.

Narrator Anthony Lee has done a good job of keeping the pacing just right and is able to provide just the right accent for this collection.

I rate both the audiobook and the narration as 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

William F. Wu may be best known for his contemporary fantasy short stories, such as
“Wong’s Lost and Found Emporium,” a multiple award nominee that was adapted into an episode of the Twilight Zone in 1985.

When he started his career, he decided that he would write some stories on universal issues and some about Chinese American ethnic matters. All of his novels and short stories have a character of East Asian descent, usually the protagonist.

When he was young, he did some long-distance hitchhiking throughout the nation, though he makes no claim to experiencing the supernatural.

He has had thirteen novels, one short story collection, one book of literary criticism, and over sixty short stories published by traditional publishers and is in the process of bringing
out much of his backlog through Boruma Publishing.

Wu has spoken for over thirty years on panels at science fiction conventions, and he has also been guest of honor and toastmaster.

He has participated in and hosted writers’ workshops frequently over the years and taught fiction at the college level.

A 5-time finalist (and a sixth time as part of the group of Wild Cards authors) for the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards, Wu is also a finalist for the Sidewise Award for alternate history and for Canada’s Aurora award.

He’s the author of the six-volume young adult science fiction series titled Isaac Asimov’s Robots in Time, the first series in Asimov’s universe licensed by his estate after his death.

His novel Hong on the Range was based on another Hugo and Nebula Award nominee, the short story “Hong’s Bluff.” Hong on the
Range was chosen for the Wilson Library Bulletin’s list of science fiction “Books Too Good to Miss, 1980 – 1989,” and was a 1990 selection for the American Library Association list of Best Books for Young People, for the New York Public Library’s recommended Books for the Teen Age, and was a Young Adult Editor’s Choice by Booklist Magazine.

Wu adapted the novel for a three-issue comic book series brought out by Image Comics and Flypaper Press in 1996.

He has upcoming stories in Texas Hold’em: A Wild Cards Novel, edited by George R.R.
Martin, due out in the fall, and in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine.

Wu was born and raised in the Kansas City area, and educated at the University of
Michigan, where as a student he represented the third generation in his family. He has an A.B. in East Asian Studies and an A.M. and Ph.D. in American Culture; his dissertation was
published as The Yellow Peril: Chinese Americans in American Fiction, 1850 – 1940.

He and his wife live in Southern California.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

AMAZON

AUDIBLE

IMDB

CHAPTERS

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ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

Anthony Lee has been told that his voice is deep, resonant, smooth, and clear. Yet, it would be years before he would finally embrace that gift and start using it artistically.

A native of California, Anthony grew up with an equal fascination for knowledge and leisure. He would enjoy studying various subjects in school as well as doing fun things in his spare time. His motivation for success and happiness helped him achieve a solid education, a successful job, and a new life to live as his reward for years of hard work.

His decision to try voice acting came after receiving plenty of compliments about his vocal quality over a short amount of time. Whether those words came from friends or strangers, he could no longer deny the possibility that there may be something special about his voice. Hence, from October 2015 to June 2016, Anthony enrolled in night and weekend classes at Elaine Clark’s Voice One Academyin San Francisco, where he trained in the art of voiceover for narrations, commercials, and characters. He thoroughly enjoyed honing his voice for things like audiobooks, technical materials, corporate narrations, e-learning modules, documentaries, commercials, promos, animations, video games, and talking products. Overall, he considers his journey into voiceover to be very rewarding, not just for what he learned but also for the great instructors and classmates he met along the way.

Now with professional voice training, Anthony is stepping out into the world to lend his voice. He loves to take virtually any kind of script and work to deliver the message in a suitable way. His enthusiasm for voiceover makes him strive to be a versatile actor in the craft. Every time he is given an opportunity to provide a voice, he hopes to leave a lasting positive impact.

When he is not doing voice work, Anthony enjoys playing chess, ice hockey, pool, Sudoku, and video games, as well as watching movies, reading about random topics on the Internet, and traveling. He lives in Northern California.

To learn more about this Narrator, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

ACX -Listen to his voice samplesHERE

TWITTER

AUDIBLE

*** To read my review of another Audiobook narrated by Anthony Lee, click HERE.

*** A Special Thank You goes to AudioBookWorm Promotions for providing me with a free copy of this Audiobook.***

To learn more about AudioBookWorm Promotions visit the following links:

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MOURNING DOVE AUDIOBOOK BLOG TOUR, REVIEW, GIVEAWAY and MORE

Title: MOURNING DOVE

Author: Claire Fullerton

Narrator: Claire Fullerton

Length: 9 hours and 13 minutes

Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

Released: June 25, 2018

Genre: Southern Fiction

“An accurate and heart-wrenching picture of the sensibilities of the American South.” (Kirkus Book Reviews)

The heart has a home when it has an ally. If Millie Crossan doesn’t know anything else, she knows this one truth simply because her brother Finley grew up beside her. Charismatic Finley, 18 months her senior, becomes Millie’s guide when their mother Posey leaves their father and moves her children from Minnesota to Memphis shortly after Millie’s 10th birthday.

Memphis is a world foreign to Millie and Finley. This is the 1970s Memphis, the genteel world of their mother’s upbringing and vastly different from anything they’ve ever known. Here they are the outsiders. Here, they only have each other. And here, as the years fold over themselves, they mature in a manicured Southern culture where they learn firsthand that much of what glitters isn’t gold.

Nuance, tradition, and Southern eccentrics flavor Millie and Finley’s world, as they find their way to belonging. But what hidden variables take their shared history to leave both brother and sister at such disparate ends?

Claire Fullerton grew up in Memphis, TN and now lives in Malibu, CA.

She is the author of contemporary fiction, “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” set in Connemara, Ireland, where she once lived.

Dancing to an Irish Reel is a finalist in the 2016 Kindle Book Review Awards, and a 2016 Readers’ Favorite.

Claire is the author of “A Portal in Time,” a paranormal mystery that unfolds in two time periods, set on California’s hauntingly beautiful Monterey Peninsula, in a village called Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Both of Claire’s novels are published by Vinspire Publishing.

Her third novel, Mourning Dove, is a Southern family saga, published in June, 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction.

She is one of four contributors to the book, Southern Seasons, with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, to be published in November 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction.

Claire is represented by Julie Gwinn, of The Seymour Literary Agency.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagram | Goodreads | Pinterest | Audible | WordPress | LinkedIn

Readers’ Favorite awarded Mourning Dove the 2018 bronze medal in the Southern Fiction category.

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MOURNING DOVE is a work of Historical Fiction set in the American South. The version I read was an Audiobook narrated by the author.

Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton is a family saga. The book starts in the 1960s and follows the lives of Posey and her two children, Millie and Finley.

Posey grew up in Memphis, but left the South and lived in Minnesota. Returning to her childhood home is easy for Posey. She grew up immersed in the strange (at least it is strange if you did not grow up there) customs and lingo of Memphis. For her, it is like putting on a favorite dress that is pure comfort.

However, Millie and Finley do not fit in immediately. They find all the obscure social customs and rules bewildering at first. The children learn by watching their mother, but never really feel at home.

MOURNING DOVE draws the reader (or listener in my case) into a world of old, moneyed families during a time in American history when those things were considered of upmost importance to the elite of Memphis society.

The descriptions are exceedingly well written and readers are able to picture the time and place easily in their minds.

The author shows that no matter how much money or social status a family has, it will not insulate them completely from tragedy and misfortune.

I particularly liked the fact that the author did not shy away from the truth of the racism that was so abundant during the timeframe of this story.

This book is a coming-of-age story not only for the characters, but also for the nation. Anyone interested in Historic and/or Southern Fiction will enjoy this audiobook.

The narrator has the perfect accent for this audiobook and I give her full credit for increasing my enjoyment of this novel.

I rate MOURNING DOVE as 4 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

Q&A with Author & Narrator:

Claire Fullerton

  • Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
    • I am the author and narrator of coming of age, Southern family saga, Mourning Dove. As I wrote Mourning Dove, I could literally hear the narration in my mind’s ears! I am attuned to sound, in that I enjoyed a nine year career in music radio. And growing up in Memphis will make anyone an aficionado of music. After I gained permission from my publisher to narrate Mourning Dove, I spent four weeks narrating in a recording studio, acting out the characters in the book. The Southern accent wasn’t as important as the inflections. Southerns have a specific way of turning a phrase, especially those in the Delta, so I aimed for accuracy. Mourning Dove’s audiobook is nine hours, and I loved every minute of the recording process.
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    • No. As I wrote the book, I paid attention to the arc of the story. I had faith that if I wrote the book as best I could then an audiobook would be an off-shoot.
  • How did you wind up narrating this audiobook?
    • In the case of how I came to narrate the coming of age, Southern family saga, Mourning Dove, I had to audition with my publisher, who was not in the practice of having their authors narrate their own books. But Mourning Dove is written in the first person, and it takes place in the South, so I wanted to give it the authentic, Memphis accent.
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    • Yes, but the characters in Mourning Dove came from impressions I had of Southerners as a whole, while growing up in Memphis. Some mannerisms I included were specific to certain people I knew in my youth. This isn’t to say I put people I knew in the books as characters, but I did steal from some engaging mannerisms.
  • How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
    • After I knew the frame of mind of the characters, as well as their personalities, I let the characteristics be my guide. I asked myself if they were each confident or self-conscious, if they were fearful, anxious, or easy going. I let the scene’s urgency or lack thereof dictate the voice.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
    • I discovered long ago to let the story breathe. I write in scenes, and when I get to the end of a scene, sometimes it takes a day to arrive at where the story goes next. All along, I know the point I want to make in writing a novel. The task is to illuminate the path to my point, in scenes that illustrate the way to the point, if you will, and for this to happen, sometimes it’s good to pause while the next scene comes into focus.
  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
    • I would head straight to 1797 and visit George Washington. I worked for several years as a historical interpreter on his estate and would love to pop in and see it in its prime. Not to mention catch some time alone with the General to talk to him.
  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
    • I think the gift in Mourning Dove’s audiobook is that the listener will literally hear how the characters sound to me, as the author. Again, the nuances are all in the Southern inflections.
  • What’s next for you?
    • I have a novella coming out titled Through an Autumn Window, to be published as one of four novellas in a book called A Southern Season, by Firefly Southern Fiction. I also have a full manuscript in the hands of my literary agent, Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary Agency.

Sep. 16th:
Patriotic Bookaholic
Jorie Loves A Story

Sep. 17th:
T’s Stuff
The Book Junkie Reads . . .

Sep. 18th:
Amie’s Book Reviews

Sep. 19th:
Buried Under Books

Sep. 20th:
Jazzy Book Reviews

Sep. 21st:
Book Addict

Sep. 22nd:
Lomeraniel
The Book Addict’s Reviews

GIVEAWAY:

Enter the Giveaway: Win a Signed copy of Mourning Dove

Runs Sep. 16th-23rd
Open to US only! Click on the following link to enter:

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THE HIDDEN VILLAGE BLOG TOUR, REVIEW, INTERVIEWS AND MORE 4.5 Stars for this HISTORICAL FICTION EPIC.

Author: Imogen Matthews

Narrator: Liam Gerrard

Length: 9 hours and 48 minutes

Publisher: I M Associates

Released: May 31, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction

Wartime Holland.

Whom can you trust?

Deep in the Veluwe woods lies Berkenhout, a purpose-built village of huts sheltering dozens of
persecuted people. But the Germans can find no proof of its existence. The whole community
pulls together to help the Berkenhout inhabitants adjust to a difficult new life and, above all, stay
safe.

Sofie, a Jewish Dutch girl, struggles to adapt to living in Berkenhout, away from her family and
friends. As weeks turn to months, she’s worried they’ll abandon her altogether. Young tearaway
Jan likes to help, but he also enjoys roaming the woods looking for adventure and fallen pilots.

His dream comes true, until he is found out. Henk is in charge of building the underground huts
and organizing provisions to Berkenhout, but his contact with the Germans arouses suspicions.

Whom can you trust? All it takes is one small fatal slip to change the course of all their lives forever.


Imogen Matthews is English and lives in the beautiful University town of Oxford.

Before she wrote The Hidden Village, she published two romantic fiction e-novels under her pen name, Alex Johnson.

The Hidden Village is published by Amsterdam
Publishers, based in the Netherlands.
Imogen has strong connections with the Netherlands.

Born in Rijswijk to a Dutch mother and English father, the family moved to England when Imogen was very young.
Every year since 1990, Imogen has been on family
holidays to Nunspeet on the edge of the Veluwe woods.

It was here that she discovered the story of the hidden village, and together with her mother’s vivid stories of life in WW2 Holland, she was inspired to
write her next novel.

Narrator Bio


Liam is an Irish born voice-artist with over 10 years experience
working in every field of the voice industry. His recent varied audiobook work includes the
‘Deception of a Highlander’ series of 3 books, Little Caesar for Audible, A Christmas Carol, The
Tempest and Aviation Training. His regular corporate voice-clients include: Shell, BP, HMRC,
HSBC, Hilton, Mondelez, Cadburys, Green & Blacks and many more. He has performed
many radio-plays, narrations, animations and documentaries; from the Keith Moon biography to
most Shakespeare radio-plays.

He is also an Associate Lecturer in Broadcast Voice
and ‘Acting for Radio’ at Sheffield Hallam University.

He is a communication skills specialist and examiner
for the Royal College of Psychiatry, Royal College of Surgeons, Royal Scottish College of
Surgery and as such is highly fluent in complicated medical reads with Latin
pronunciations.

He is also a highly acclaimed stage and screen actor.
He studied at Lancaster University and then as a classically trained actor at Mountview. He
spent his formative years in the Middle-East which has given him an understanding of different
accents and cultures and is able to perform many accents to a native standard; including most
UK regions, most Irish regions, most of Europe, Australia and North America, (hillbilly, New
York, mid-Atlantic, San Francisco, Chicago, etc.) and is also able to create wildly inventive
characters. He has lent his voice to some of the zaniest cartoons and animations written, from
grumpy old wizards, to heroes, to South-American monkeys and even a sea-horse with a
Scottish accent!

He is currently the youngest actor to play the lead role
of Prospero in Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ in London’s West–End. His recent production of
Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle at the Royal Lyceum Edinburgh won 4 prestigious Critics Choice Awards. He has worked for the most renowned theatre companies; from The Royal
Exchange Theatre (2 Manchester theatre award nominations) to most regional theatres
throughout the UK, including Alan Aykbourn’s SJT, New Vic, Oldham Coliseum, Donmar,
Dukes, Nottingham Playhouse, Theatre by the Lake and many more. He also played Jerry in
‘Hollyoaks’ and appeared alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones in the Hollywood feature film ‘Death
Defying Acts’. His wide-ranging experience has also seen him perform Opera in ‘Rigoletto’.

In his spare time Liam is also a musician, playing violin,
drums, piano and percussion, and spends time with Peg, his Springer Spaniel, out in the Peak
District whenever he can get away from the studio!

Set in Holland during Hitler’s reign of terror, this book is unlike any I have read before. I expected it to be similar to “The Diary of Anne Frank” in that the entire tale would take place indoors, however, I was thankfully wrong. Don’t misunderstand me, I loved reading Anne Frank’s diary, it’s just that since then I have read numerous accounts of people in similar situations and I am ready for something different, something I have never heard about, or something completely new.

I had never heard of anything so daring as trying to hide an entire village full of people in a forest. It shocked me that THE HIDDEN VILLAGE was based on a true story.

The author has done a great job of crafting a tale that centers on the people’s lives, rather than on the war itself. Any violence portrayed in this story is there with a purpose – that of moving the story forward.

I was greatly impressed by the narrator and his ability to create and maintain distinct voices for such a large number of characters. His pacing was perfect and he used inflection to create mood. I rate his performance as 5 out of 5 Stars.

I highly recommend this story to anyone who loves not only historical fiction, but a great drama. I think that buying this book in audio book format is the best way to experience this tale.

I rate THE HIDDEN VILLAGE audio book as 4.5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

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

    • Absolutely not! I didn’t even know it would be possible. In
      some ways I’m pleased I wasn’t thinking about how The Hidden Village would sound as it might
      have inhibited my writing. I had a clear idea of how the characters sounded in my head and they
      shaped my writing. However, having turned The Hidden Village into an audiobook, I’m more mindful of how the words will be spoken as I’m writing my next novel (also set in Holland in
      WW2).
  • How did you select your narrator?
    • I was introduced to my narrator, Liam Gerrard, through
      Catherine O’Brien, CEO of Essential Audiobooks. After reading and becoming very enthusiastic
      about my novel, she suggested that Liam would be the perfect narrator for the job as he had
      experience in narrating World War 2 novels, has a fantastic CV as an actor and voiceover artist
      and has his own recording studio. It gave me the confidence that he would do an excellent job. I
      asked him to do me an audition of the first chapter which we then discussed in detail, so that he
      could understand what I was looking for in terms of characterisation, pace and style.
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before
    and during the recording process?

    • Most of my involvement took place at the beginning of the
      project. Once he began recording for real, he didn’t get in touch with me at all until he’d
      completed the job. I was slightly nervous that I might need to ask him to rerecord sections, but it
      wasn’t necessary. Listening to his narration the first time through, I was amazed at how he’d
      interpreted my writing and really brought the story to life.
  • Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special
    insight into the characters?

    • I made some voice files for Liam which describe the
      characters as well as the pronunciation of Dutch and German words and phrases, names and
      place names. We went through these meticulously and Liam even noticed a couple I’d missed!
      His attention to detail was extraordinary. He had really read and understood the story which
      comes out strongly in his narration.
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your
    writing?

    • The Hidden Village is based on a real place in Holland
      which I discovered on one of my many cycling holidays in the area. Deep in the Veluwe woods
      is a memorial to the local people who had risked their lives to help Jews hide from the Germans
      by building a village of underground huts. Not only that, they brought in food, clothing,
      medicines and all other necessities all the time that the German soldiers were patrolling the
      woods looking for Jews in hiding. It was an extraordinary feat and the Dutch community almost
      got away with it. I came across a Dutch book with interviews of people who had lived in the area
      at the time, including those who had helped with the building of the village and others who’d
      gone to live there. It is the determination and courage of these people in the face of evil that
      interested me most.
    • My mother was Dutch and I grew up hearing about her
      experiences and stories of survival during the Hunger Winter in 1944-45. Food ran out, people
      starved to death but my mother and family survived because she cycled into the bulbfields and
      dug up tulip bulbs which they boiled as their only source of nutrition. Her stories were both
      horrifying and uplifting – she was a young woman at the time and often said that she’d found the
      war to be an exciting time. This is what made me want to have young people as my main
      character.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do
    you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?

    • I so wanted to get this story down as it’s about my own
      personal history and the place I love to visit most. I visit Nunspeet in Holland with my husband
      and other family members at least once a year and when I’m back in the woods the words really
      flow again.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the
    audiobook format appeals to you?

    • I have to confess I’d never listened to an audiobook before
      my own! (I know, shame on me!). Now, I’ve been through the process, I appreciate just how
      brilliant an audiobook can be. I’ve started listening in the car, grabbing a chapter or two on short
      journeys and more on longer ones and have a feeling that I’m getting my reading in without having to pick up a book. I still love reading books as well and think the two are very
      complementary.

Sep. 6th:
Dab of Darkness
Audiobook Reviews

Amie’s
Book Reviews

Sep. 7th:
T’s Stuff
The Book Junkie Reads . . .
Sep. 8th:
Inspiration
Clothesline

Sep. 9th:
Jazzy
Book Reviews

Sep. 10th:
What Is That
Book About

Sep. 11th:
Lomeraniel
Sep. 12th:
Working
Mommy Journal

The
Book Addict’s Reviews

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REVOLVER by Michael Patrick Hicks AUDIOBOOK REVIEW – This is one of the most terrifyingly eerily plausible future scenarios I Have EVER Read. 5 Massive Stars!

Title: REVOLVER

Author: MICHAEL PATRICK HICKS

Narrator: PATRICIA SANTOMASSO

Genre: FICTION, SPECULATIVE FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION

Length: 1 HOUR, 14 MINUTES

Type of Book: AUDIOBOOK

Release Date: 2016

Price: $1.99 on AUDIBLE.COM

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Cara Stone is a broken woman: penniless, homeless, and hopeless. When given the chance to appear on television, she jumps at the opportunity to win a minimum of $5,000 for her family.

The state-run, crowdfunded series, Revolver, has been established by the nation’s moneyed elite to combat the increasing plight of class warfare.

There’s never been a Revolver contestant quite like Cara before. The corporate states of America are hungry for blood, and she promises to deliver.

MY REVIEW:

Although this Audiobook is not long in the length of time it will take a reader to listen to, it’s storyline and content will remain on a person’s mind for a very long time.

The thing that struck me most about this story was it’s terrifying plausibility.

The story is set in the future United States where it is law to carry a gun openly. It is illegal to not carry a gun. Some people may scoff at this notion, but you only have to turn on the news to realize that this type of thing may come about all too soon.

Although this story was written in 2016, it seems like it was written this past month. Within the last few weeks there have been TWO school shootings and when discussing solutions, President Trump actually offered up the idea that maybe teachers should carry guns.

It is a short step from this to the dissolution of the United States, as happened in the book. They become instead, the Corporate States of America. Scary!

In the audiobook, Cara, who has struggled with depression is labeled “lower class.” These citizens have no rights and horrible things can be done to them without fear of retribution.

The television show REVOLVER offered desperate people a way to help their families and would earn each participant a minimum of $5000. What do they have to do on the show? You need to listen to this audiobook to find out. I will say that it is Reality TV taken to the extreme.

From the very first minute, listeners will be drawn into the story. This book is so enthralling that you will find yourself tuning out the rest of the world and becoming completely immersed in this terrifying tale.

In an audiobook whose length is just over one hour, I did not expect much in the way of world-building. I was WRONG. The world-building in REVOLVER is top-notch. In fact, I am hoping that author Michael Patrick Hicks has since written a full length novel, or at least more short stories about this same dystopian future.

I am rating this audiobook as highly as possible. The narration was quite simply PERFECTION. Narrator PATRICIA SANTOMASSO’s voice and the emotion she is somehow able to instill in that voice, make the story seem even more realistic. Listeners will feel as if they are living in the story itself. I admit to being extremely impressed by both the author and the narrator.

I rate REVOLVER as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

MICHAEL PATRICK HICKS is the author of a number of speculative fiction titles. His debut novel, Convergence, was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist. His most recent work is the horror novel, Mass Hysteria.

He has written for the Audiobook Reviewer and Graphic Novel Reporter websites, in addition to working as a freelance journalist and news photographer.

In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

PATREON

PINTEREST

TUMBLR

AMAZON

AUDIBLE

YOUTUBE

GOOGLE+

ABOUT THE NARRATOR
(COPIED FROM HER WEBSITE):

I grew up in CT, a child obsessed with scary stories. I was so horrified by Camilla by Sheridan Le Fanu that I slept with garlic on my windowsills for a year when I was 10. I’m mostly over it now, but I order a New Haven clam pie light on the garlic. You may think that incident would have stopped me from reading every Stephen King novel I could get my hands on. Spoiler: it didn’t.

I got my BA in English Lit because I love reading, and then moved to NY because I love the MTA. Who doesn’t? After graduating from acting conservatory, I spent a number of years traveling across the country doing plays, until I realized I could make a living talking to myself in a padded room – and here we are!
When I’m not reading, I’m baking, organizing things (I’m sick, I know), riding around on my razor scooter, and finding any excuse at all not to go to the gym.

To learn more about this Narrator, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AUDIBLE

LINKEDIN

AMAZON

ACX