Audiobook Review: A Human Element

Author: Donna Galanti

Narrator: Chase Bradley

Length: 10h 8m

Publisher:Auspicious Apparatus Press⎮2017

Genre: Science Fiction/Thriller

Release date: Jan. 10, 2017

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Evil comes in many forms…

One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next.

Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite in her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a madman, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together.

But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his, and she has two choices—redeem him or kill him.

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Donna Galanti is the author of the paranormal suspense Element Trilogy (Imajin Books) and the children’s fantasy adventure Joshua and The Lightning Road series (Month9Books). Donna is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and blogs with other middle grade authors at Project Middle Grade Mayhem. She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. Donna enjoys teaching at conferences on the writing craft and marketing and also presenting as a guest author at elementary and middle schools. Visit her at www.elementtrilogy.com and www.donnagalanti.com.

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Chase was born and raised in a quiet town in upstate New York. He concentrated on musical pursuits through most of his younger years, excelling in anything that had to do with using his voice. He attended college in Potsdam, NY, where he studied Wilderness Leadership, Sociology and Vocal training at the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam. Chase’s dream since he was a kid was to be a voice over artist and professional musician, but after college he decided to spread his wings and explore the world a bit first. He worked as a mountain guide in Alaska, leading Ice Climbing, Mountaineering, and Backpacking trips. He traveled all over North and South America for work and and pleasure, climbing and skiing everything that stood in his way. After meeting a beautiful woman (in Alaska of all places!) and falling in love, he settled down in Lake Tahoe California, where he currently resides with his wife and two children. Chase has finally returned to his roots and works as a full time voice over artist, and plays weekly shows with his band. Things have come full circle, and the dream has been fulfilled. Chase does commercial voice over work, but has found that his true passion is narrating audiobooks. He has narrated 14 audiobooks to date, with more to come! Chase is constantly looking for ways to improve his narration, and deliver the best possible performance for the authors and listeners.

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A Human Element is a story beyond its actual topic.  It covers a lot more issues than the alien – human contact. I loved every chapter, as the action and the characters are very complex and well developed. The structure is as well very interesting – presenting how the lives of our main characters change in a parallel way. Ben, Laura and X-10 have a common source: the meteorite that fell when Ben was only a child, the incident in which his parents were killed, but same incident that gave life to X-10 and Laura. Their paths will intersect at one point, for sure.

Ben has had to live a life in foster care, being abused even. He has had to learn to be strong the hard way. Even later, he has had to endure abuse and violence. He has always feared coming back to the place where it all started, though he still feels this attraction.

X-10 is the unlucky alien half that has to suffer the consequences of being different. After his birth, he was raised by a man whose only intentions are purely experimental: to harvest his DNA, maybe even create super humans. His life is one full of hate for mankind, deprived of freedom and happiness. His only comfort is killing and the idea of revenge. Revenge on his better half.

Laura, as opposed to X-10, has been luckier. With a family that loved and cared for her, she has learned the beauty of life and what means to offer kindness. She discovers her unique abilities at a young age and since that moment she has only used them for good. She will soon discover she is not alone and that will have to face X-10.

As I mentioned in the beginning, we follow the life of each of the characters. The reader can understand the tension, the struggle each of them has. And this is very well captured in the book. Except that, we have several themes like accepting the ones that may be different, offering a smile before judging or even homosexuality, as part of our society.

Regarding the narration, I must admit I did not quite enjoy it as much as I would have expected. The voice was more or less flat and the emotions were not very well transmitted with a proper intonation. It felt… read. On the bright side, the words are spoken clearly and I had no understanding issues.

All in all, I give the story a 5 out of 5 stars, but the narration will not receive so many from me – my apologies. This was a great audiobook, with a strong well-structured plot and also well-developed characters. Congratulations to both the author and the narrator and thank you for bringing us this lovely audiobook.

 

A Human Element Giveaway #1
A Human Element Giveaway #2

 

 

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Audiobook Review: The Secret Life of Anna Blanc

The Secret Life of Anna Blanc Audiobook Blog TourThe Secret Life of Anna Blanc Audiobook Blog Tour

Author: Jennifer Kincheloe
Narrator: Moira Quirk
Length: 12h 44m
Publisher: Jennifer R. Kincheloe, Ltd⎮2016
Genre: Historical Mystery/Thriller
Release date: Nov. 14, 2016

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It’s 1907 Los Angeles. Mischievous socialite Anna Blanc is the kind of young woman who devours purloined crime novels, but must disguise them behind covers of more domestically-appropriate reading. She could match wits with Sherlock Holmes, but in her world women are not allowed to hunt criminals. Determined to break free of the era’s rigid social roles, Anna buys off the chaperone assigned by her domineering father and, using an alias, takes a job as a police matron with the Los Angeles Police Department. There she discovers a string of brothel murders, which the cops are unwilling to investigate. Seizing her one chance to solve a crime, she takes on the investigation herself. If the police find out, she’ll get fired; if her father finds out, he’ll disown her; and if her fiancé finds out, he’ll cancel the wedding. Midway into her investigation, the police chief’s son, Joe Singer, learns her true identity, and shortly thereafter she learns about blackmail. Anna must choose – either hunt the villain and risk losing her father, fiancé, and wealth, or abandon her dream and leave the killer on the loose.

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'Anna Blanc' Author Jennifer Kincheloe

Jennifer has been a block layer, a nurse’s aid, a fragrance model, and on the research faculty at UCLA, where she spent 11 years conducting studies to inform health policy. A native of Southern California, she now lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and two teenagers. She’s currently writing book three in the Anna Blanc Mystery series. Book two, THE WOMAN IN THE CAMPHOR TRUNK, is coming out in Fall of 2017 from Seventh Street Books.


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Audiobook Narrator Moira Quirk

Moira grew up in teeny-tiny Rutland, England’s smallest county, which is fitting as she never managed to make it past five feet herself. Moira’s work spans the pantheon of the voiceover world: plays for BBC radio, plays for NPR, video games, commercials, television promos, podcasts, cartoons, movies and award winning audiobooks. She’s won Multiple Audie Awards, Earphone Awards, as well as Audible’s prestigious Book-of-the-Year Award. She has lately set foot in front of the camera again, appearing in “Pretty: the Series” and the Emmy-winning “Dirty Work.”

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Songs selected by Author Jennifer Kincheloe

All Tomorrow’s Parties by Nico (for the Pink Ball)

Sucker by Tori Amos (for the sting operation in Boyle Heights)

Doll Parts by Hole (for when Anna’s getting ready in the brothel)

Everybody Hurts by Patti Smith (for the scene when Joe bails Anna out of jail)

Kamikazi by PJ Harvey (for the showdown with the villain)

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I was provided the audiobook for this story in exchange for an honest review and as part of this lovely blog tour.

The story captivated me from the very beginning. The first few chapters can offer an idea of what type of character Anna really is and the narrator definitely did an amazing job to give voice to these traits. What is absolutely fabulous about the book is that not only the story is great and keeps you focused from start to end, but also the setting, the character and the writing style (+ in my case, the narrator).

The action is quite present throughout the pages, since Miss Blanc has a tendency to always start trouble, or better to look for it. She plans to elope, she gets mixed with women that can only ruin her reputation, she wants a man’s job at a police station and, as if these weren’t enough, she starts her own investigation. I just love this woman! There are twists all over the pages and there just isn’t one moment of boredom! So from plot point of view, it has all my points J

What really made me give 5 stars to this book was actually the character. The author did an amazing job at creating Anna Blanc – a strong woman, one that knows her values and believes she can do anything she sets her mind to. All these while trying to maintain a reputation of a decent lady. In a time where women were regarded as inferior to men, in time where they started challenging for voting rights, Anna is a great symbol of what means to be determined, what means to fight for your dreams and not feel beneath the people around (be those men or women).

As for the narrator, I was mentioning in the beginning that she is absolutely great! Her voice is intelligible and she does a great job at making the difference between characters. But to top that, I believe she is fit for Anna’s character. I don’t know, but Moira has that voice I imagined for a person like Anna (not sure if this has much sense). Oh, and the emotions are also very nicely captured!

All in all, I loved this audiobook and I am lucky to be part of this tour. This is one of those books that can be an inspiration. For me at least it was. I’ve been having some tough days lately and Anna reminded me that we can me strong, we can still follow our dreams. Although I am not a convinced feminist (as I do believe men are better at some things), the story has more to it. I recommend it and I hope you like it at least as much as I did!

 

Mar. 1: Chapter Break (Review, Spotlight, Dream Cast, & Interview)

Mar. 2: Candid Ceillie (Review & Author Interview)

Mar. 3: The Bookworm Central (Review)
Rolo Polo Book Blog (Spotlight & Music Playlist)

Mar. 4: Lilly’s Book World (Review)

Mar. 5: The Desert Bibliophile (Review & Spotlight)

Mar. 6: A Bookaholic Swede (Review)
terriluvsbooks (Review & Dream Cast)

Mar. 7: Working Mommy Journal (Review)
Jorie Loves A Story (Narrator Interview)

Mar. 8: The Maiden’s Court (Review)
The Bookworm Lodge (Spotlight)
A Literary Vacation (Review)

Mar. 9: Babs Book Bistro (Review & Spotlight)

Mar. 10: Dab of Darkness (Review)
Desert Rose Reviews (Review, Music Playlist, & Dream Cast)

Mar. 11: Literature Approved (Review)
Spunky ‘n Sassy (Review & Spotlight)

Mar. 12: History From A Woman’s Perspective (Review)

Mar. 13: Jorie Loves A Story (Review)
Bound4Escape (Review)

Mar. 14: A Page To Turn (Review & Dream Cast)
XOXO Book Blog (Music Playlist)
Ronelle Antoinette (Narrator Interview)

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Audiobook Review: Halfway Hunted

Author: Terry Maggert

Narrator: Erin Spencer

Length: 6h 56m

Publisher: Terry Maggert⎮2016

Genre: Paranormal

Release date: November 10, 2016

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synopsis

Welcome to Halfway; where the waffles are golden, the moon is silver, and magic is just around every corner.
A century old curse is broken, releasing Exit Wainwright, an innocent man trapped alone in time.
Lost and in danger, he enlists Carlie, Gran, and their magic to find the warlock who sentenced him to a hundred years of darkness. The hunter becomes the hunted when Carlie’s spells awaken a cold-blooded killer intent on adding another pelt to their gruesome collection: hers.
But the killer has never been to Halfway before, where there are three unbreakable rules:
1. Don’t complain about the diner’s waffles.
2. Don’t break the laws of magic.
3. Never threaten a witch on her home turf.
Can Carlie solve an ancient crime, defeat a ruthless killer and save the love of her life from a vampire’s curse without burning the waffles?
Come hunt with Carlie, and answer the call of the wild.

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Left-handed. Father of an apparent nudist. Husband to a half-Norwegian. Herder of cats and dogs. Lover of pie. I write books. I’ve had an unhealthy fascination with dragons since the age of– well, for a while. Native Floridian. Current Tennessean. Location subject to change based on insurrection, upheaval, or availability of coffee. Nine books and counting, with no end in sight. You’ve been warned.

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narrator-bio

Erin loves audiobooks! As an actress, they have allowed her to creatively stretch by playing all kinds of characters, all kinds of ages and all kinds of accents! She voiced roles in the Audie award winning title, Illuminae and was also nominated for a Voice Arts Award in the romance category. She has narrated over 100 titles and as an audiobook director has worked on at least 100 more. She has worked for most of the major publishers and also enjoys working with indie writers who are some of the most talented writers out there! Follow her on Twitter @ErinSpencerLA or find her on Facebook, Erin Spencer Actress.

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review

I liked this book more than the previous two. To be honest, I finished the entire series in 4 days. I’ve read book number one and books number two and three were in audio format. All courtesy of Jess from the Audiobookworm. I can say that this last one was the best, mostly because the action did not feel as dragged as in the previous two and also the maturity of the characters is quite visible.

To get a little bit more into the details, the action happens in the same town of Halfway, having Carlie in the center of attention but this time trying to help Exit Wainwright who appears to be a time traveler. This time the action is far more complex and threats raised against her and her loved ones.

Also presented from Carly’s point of view, the plot evolves nicely, in a steady pace, with an increasing amount of suspense. The writing is very natural, the dialogue as well. The author has managed to keep the natural feel of the characters, even if we are in the world of vampires, witches and many other unworldly beings. The atmosphere at the diner is welcoming, all the descriptions and mentioning of it makes it a sanctuary to all the people in Halfway, locals or visitors. I loved how the warmth of this place manages to capture the reader or listener.

The characters have matured enough to show strength and Carly takes some decisions of her own. She can tap into some great magic. She will be faced with many difficult situations in this last book. The complexity of it all will make her a great character.

As for the narrator, I did enjoy her voice; I enjoyed the easy way in which she made everything feel natural. She could really connect with the main character but what I would have wanted is maybe a better way of changing her voice when interpreting some of the other characters.

So without adding too many unnecessary words, I’ll give my 4 stars to book number 3 in the Halfway Witchy series. It is the best of the three in my opinion. I’ll be posting my review for the other two books these days so stay around!

 

 

giveaway

Halfway Bitten Giveaway #1
Halfway Bitten Giveaway #2
Halfway Bitten Giveaway #3

tour-schedule

Jan. 30: terrilovesbooks (Review)
The Book Junkie (Spotlight)

Jan. 31: Chapter Break (Review & Author Interview)

Feb. 1: Dab of Darkness (Review)

Feb. 2: The Book Junkie (Review & Audio Excerpt)

Feb. 3: Collector of Book Boyfriends (Audio Excerpt)

Feb. 4: The Desert Bibliophile (Review, Spotlight, Audio Excerpt)

Feb. 5: Totally Addicted to Reading (Spotlight & Audio Excerpt)

Feb. 6: Guilty Indulgence Book Club (Review & Audio Excerpt)

Feb. 7: Que Sera Sara (Review & Audio Excerpt)

Feb. 8: Rolo Polo Book Blog (Spotlight)

Feb. 9: Jorie Loves A Story (Review & Author Interview)

Feb. 10: Mama Reads (Review)

Feb. 11: Lilly’s Book World (Review)
Up Til Dawn Book Blog (Spotlight & Audio Excerpt)

Feb. 12: Book Lover’s Life (Review)

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Audiobook Review: Anomalies

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AnomaliesAnomalies_dust jacket_FNL.indd
by Sadie Turner & Colette Freedman
Release Date: February 9th 2016
Genre: YA Sci fi
Select Books in NY

Summary from Goodreads:

In the future there is no disease. There is no war. There is no discontent. All citizens are complacent members of the Global Governance. But one summer is about to change everything.

Keeva Tee just turned fifteen. All of her dreams are about to come true. She s about to make the trip to Monarch Camp to be imprinted with her intended life partner. One day they ll have perfect kids and a perfect life. But in her happy, carefree life in the Ocean Community, something weighs on her mind. She hears whispers about anomalies citizens who can t be imprinted. No one knows what happens to them, but they never seem to come back.


When Keeva arrives at Monarch Camp, her worst nightmare becomes a reality she is an anomaly. After imprinting, the people she loves change, and she starts to doubt everything she s ever believed. What if freedom and individuality have been sacrificed for security? And what if the man who solves all the problems is the very man who s created them and what if he isn’t a man at all?


When Keeva finds a warning carved under a bunk bed she begins to understand: nonconformity will be punished, dissent is not an option, insurgents will be destroyed.

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My Review:

This is my first review for an audiobook and I am so lucky it is a great start! I loved the story and the narrator!

I am one of (probably) the few people who have not read “The Hunger Games”, nor have I seen the movies. Not because I don’t like the story, but it was so much publicity around it, so many people saying how great the story is, how amazing the main character is that I feel I already know what to expect. So, based on that, I started listening to “Anomalies”, with an open mind, trying not to let my idea of other similar books cloud my judgment.

So all is nice in the world, everything has its place. Everybody knows what will come next, until Keeva discovers she’s an anomaly. She’s now someone whose destiny has been altered, someone who doesn’t fit in anymore. When she realizes she will not be imprinted with her intended partner at Monarch camp, she will be faced with a new future, one she has to decide on.

The authors have created an ideal world, with no diseases, no worries about the next day. Everyone lives in owe of their savior Sobek, who brought peace after a war that nearly caused the extinction of humanity. Society is divided into communities, with specific purposes, being ruled by the Global Governance. An interesting thought. Nowadays people have forgotten to help each other without expecting anything in return.

The main character, Keeva, is part of the Ocean community. She loves the ocean, she loves swimming and can’t wait to be reunited with her intended partner and come together to her beloved community to follow in her father’s footsteps. Still, in all her thoughts, she has never forgotten about her little sister, who was taken away at birth. The words of the strange man that took her have been kept hidden in her soul. Her carefully planned life has been turned upside down when she realizes she’s an anomalie. Though something strange is happening to the ones that do get imprinted.

A person who plans her whole life has to learn to live in the moment. She will have to overcome her fear of the unknown, to follow her instincts.

The action is told mostly from her perspective, but there are also some small passages where we are presented with Calex’s point of view. He is Sobek‘s son and the future ruler of Earth. I appreciated this insight, as it brought a clear understanding of how the Global Governance works and all the plans they have for humanity. Calex also has to face a new life, but as opposed to Keeva, he knows exactly what he has to do, though he’s not entirely sure on how to achieve it.

What I also liked about these two characters was that they never meet in this first book. Calex sees her for just some seconds and there is no super attraction. He sees her as interesting due to her strange red hair but nothing else. And here is the point where all my ideas regarding how this book will end are turned to dust.  So for me the action was not that predictable. Sure, there were hints on what to expect, but only on some small level.

As for the reader, Lucinda Clare does a great job! Taking into account I am not a native English user, I had no trouble understanding the words. I only noticed that for one character she used a certain accent, but later on it disappeared (Anelia). No other complains from my side.

So, to close this long review, a total of (wait for it, wait for it) 5 stars go to this amazing collaboration between Sadie turner and Colette Freedman. I loved the story and the main character was great as well. The quality of the audiobook was great as well so I hope you read it or listen to it and come back with an opinion J

About the Authors

SADIE TURNER is a Los Angeles-based producer and writer originally from Brighton, England, who works in business development with several Hollywood entrepreneurs. She has various projects in development, and also teaches yoga.

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COLETTE FREEDMAN– An internationally produced playwright with over 25 produced plays, Colette was voted “One of 50 to Watch” by The Dramatist’s Guild. Her hit musicalSerial Killer Barbie can be heard here.

Her play Sister Cities was the hit of the 2008 Edinburgh Fringe and earned five star reviews:  It has been produced around the country and internationally, fifteen times including Paris (Une Ville, Une Soeur), Rome (Le Quattro Sorelle) and Australia.  It is next up in  Chicago August 2016. She wrote the film which is currently in post-production and stars Jacki Weaver, Alfred Molina, Jess Weixler, Stana Katic, Michelle Trachtenberg, Amy Smart, Troian Bellisario, Tom Everett Scott and Kathy Baker. She  has co-written, with International bestselling novelist Jackie Collins, the play Jackie Collins Hollywood Lies, which is gearing up for a National Tour.

In collaboration with The New York Times best selling author Michael Scott,  she wrote the thriller The Thirteen Hallows  (Tor/Macmillan). Her novel The Affair (Kensington) came out January 29, 2013. The play of the novel earned both critical and commercial success as it toured Italy February through May 2013. Her sequel novel The Consequences(Kensington) came out January 28, 2014. Her YA novel Anomalies (Select Books) came out February 9, 2016. She also co-wrote the film And Then There Was Eve  which is currently in pre-production and begins principal photography May 2016.

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