Audiobook Review: Progeny by Ray Jay Perreault

Their society was efficient and controlled by the Conformity Council who enforced the Four Laws. All was well until Helen followed the laws and discovered how her kind were created.

Helen followed the third law, to Expand Their Knowledge, and studied a lessor creator on their planet. Within that creature’s DNA she found a second DNA string which described another creature. That information along with artifacts of the lower creatures provided important clues.

Who created them, and why?
Should she use the second set of DNA, to clone their creators?

Amazon

Audible

My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

This is an interesting short story. It’s a quick listen and intrigued me enough that I want to listen to the next book to see what happens.

I thought that I wasn’t going to like the narrator until I realized that the characters were all robots. He used a monotone voice because of that, and it didn’t take me long to get used to it.

It’s a whole new world in the future after humans have depleted the resources that support life and only robots remain. It’s been a long time because the robots don’t remember that they were created by humans.

Helen, one of the robots, finds evidence that humans created them, and although robots don’t have emotions, they are curious. She wants to create whatever the DNA string is that was left behind so long ago. Will she be allowed to do just that? I think the answer is in the next book (full-length), and I’m going to start listening to it right away!

About the Author

Ray is a prolific author that enjoys science fiction. He feels that genre is fertile ground to understand ourselves and where we’re going. He has written a mix of Sci-Fi stories, but tends to focus on stories with computers, post-apocalyptic themes and stories with strong morals, loyalties, and drama.

Ray was a Senior Pilot in the US Air Force and traveled to 27 countries around the world. His C-130 assignments ranged from landing in a farm field in Paraguay to entering East Berlin and experiencing Russian controllers giving him false headings.

Ray’s other assignment was as a T-38 instructor pilot. “The T-38 is the best plane in the word; two pilots, two engines, and two afterburners.” Two of his remarkable experiences included training the first class of female pilots and receiving an Air Commendation medal for saving a T-38 that blew an engine during a touch and go, saving himself and the student pilot on board.

After his Air Force career, Ray enjoyed a long and exciting career with Northrop Grumman. During the 28 years at Northrop, some of the highlights included work as the Lead Wind Tunnel test engineer on the F-20, F-23, F-18, and B-2. His career progressed to be the Deputy Manager of Engineering for the Tri-Service Stand-Off Attack Missile (TSSM). Later he was responsible for all the computers at Ryan Aeronautical, then all of the computers on the B-2 Bomber program.

Ray hopes you enjoy his work, and he looks forward to sharing many new and exciting stories.

Book and Audio Story Review: Billy Joins the Circus by Anna Christina

Title: Billy Joins the Circus
Author: Music Audio Stories
Genre: Children’s Stories

Publication Date: June 6, 2022

Story Synopsis

Billy Joins the Circus is a wonderfully uplifting story about a monkey who wants to join the circus. Through Billy, little ones are inspired to believe in themselves and follow their dreams! One day, Billy the monkey meets the Ringmaster and Polly, the circus flying dolly. They are not sure if Billy has the talent for their circus and they ask him what he can do! Billy cheerfully sings a song that impresses them.

Encourage your child to read, write, listen, sing and dance by combining this fun colourful picture book with the unique music audiobook and interactive activity booklet that go with this picture book.

Available:

  • The Billy Joins the Circus Music Audiobook CD – 5:16 with original music, catchy sing-along song and sound effects throughout the narrative
  • The MP3 download – so you can play the story on any device
  • The Illustrated Activity Booklet – with an interactive question tree page, circus game and a fun colouring in picture to enjoy

Get items here: musicaudiostories.com/billy-joins-the-circus-audio-book

Together, you and your child will love to:

Read and learn about Billy the monkey in the picture book
Write the answers on the interactive question tree page in the activity booklet
Colour in Billy’s picture and join our creative world (see how inside the activity booklet)
Listen to the music audiobook as you follow the words in the picture book
Sing and Dance along with Billy the monkey.

BILLY JOINS THE CIRCUS
➡️ https://www.musicaudiostories.com/billy-joins-the-circus

GET PICTURE BOOK
➡️ https://etsy.me/34wgYRL

EBOOK & PAPERBACK
➡️ https://amzn.to/3y8eUvr

Get items here: https://www.musicaudiostories.com/billy-joins-the-circus

My Review

I listened and reviewed this story several years ago as an audio story only. The author has since added an actual book to go along with the audio story. I enjoyed it back then, but now it’s even better!

This is a story about Billy the monkey who wants to join the circus. Before he joins, they ask him (with a catchy song) if he can do different things such as touching his toes and clapping his hands. I have a 3-year-old grandson who was visiting today. We listened to this a couple of times. The first couple of times he just read along as usual. We took a break, and a little while later he clapped his hands, and I knew he wanted to read the book again. This time we had fun doing all of the movements!

I’m sure we’ll be reading it again tomorrow. It’s nice to be able to listen as Anna Christina reads the book. Her voice is great, and we can put the book down so that we both can do the movements.

About the Author

Anna Christina is the award-winning author, narrator, musician, storyteller and owner of Music Audio Stories. She has entertained and taught thousands of children at nurseries, schools, libraries and workshops with her Music Audio Stories during her musical Storytime, Storytime with Anna Christina. She regularly volunteers at libraries and is a brilliant advocate for the power of stories and music.

The success of her Storytime led her to launch a new product line called ‘Storytime with Anna Christina’. This product line is a delightful new innovative collection of music audiobooks, picture books and interactive activity booklets, that teach, uplift and inspire little ones.

Anna Christina is qualified in Sound Engineering, Music and Sound Technology and Music Production and has been a professional touring and recording artist, musician, songwriter, composer and singer for many years. Her natural flair for strong-themed storytelling, both in writing and in music, is prominent in her unique brand of music audiobooks.

Music Audio Stories are entertaining music audiobooks with brilliant soundtracks, catchy sing-along songs and fun stories in an animal kingdom. The 5-star-rated music audiobooks not only encourage children to be part of the story through drawing, song and dance, but they also inspire them to act out the scenes and be part of the magical journey.

Find out more at: musicaudiostories.com.

Audiobook Review: Daisy McDare and the Deadly Judicial Affair by K.M. Morgan

With a murder trial taking place in Cozy Creek, Daisy McDare is having trouble focusing on her interior decorating work.

The last thing she wants is for the defendant, Corey Kincaid, to get acquitted.

In Daisy’s mind, Corey is guilty. In fact, Daisy’s amateur sleuthing played a huge role in Corey’s arrest.

As Daisy nervously waits for the jury to reach a verdict, another big mystery begins to unfold in town.

And this new mystery comes with a twist that Daisy isn’t prepared for.

Things are really heating up in Cozy Creek. But will it soon get too hot under Daisy’s collar?

My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Daisy McDare & the Deadly Judicial Affair is a novella in the Daisy McDare cozy mystery series. I’m listening to them in order which isn’t necessary, but it does make the stories flow well. It’s been a while since I listened to one of these (I get sidetracked easily), and I had forgotten how short they are. I know, novella, duh, but I was just getting into it when it was over!

When court is over, Daisy’s husband, Gavin, sees the husband of her best friend in a compromising position. What should they do? Daisy knows she can’t keep this a secret, but she decides to investigate this mystery before going to her friend. Good choice! And what a twist!

I recommend Daisy McDare & the Deadly Judicial Affair to anyone who likes cozy mysteries and super quick reads.

About the Author

K.M. Morgan loves baking, crafts, cute cat videos, and reading mysteries.

Sign up for the K.M. Morgan new release mailing list here: http://eepurl.com/7Wt8L


You can contact K.M. with questions and/or comments here: kmmorgancozy@gmail.com

Audiobook Review: The Cabin Below by N.L. Hinkens

What happens on the water, stays on the water.

Or so they thought. Allison and her handsome, charismatic husband, Doug, are on a Caribbean cruise to celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary. But the steady stream of idyllic photos and happy hashtags they post online is hiding a dangerous rift in their relationship. Allison has long suspected that Doug is having an affair. Despite his impassioned denials and smooth-talking alibis, she’s unconvinced of his innocence and determined to dig for the truth, no matter the cost. And she’s not the only one delving into their secrets. The couple they’ve befriended on the cruise has been watching them. And they’ve come to a disturbing conclusion of their own. When Allison disappears the night before the ship docks back in Florida, they bring their terrifying suspicions to the police.

My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I didn’t care for these relationships. Doug and Allison have a troubled marriage and although they are supposed to be on the cruise to celebrate their anniversary and to move on, it doesn’t seem that either of them truly believes that the cruise will help. Their new friends are also celebrating their anniversary. They profess to have a good marriage but all he does is drink. And then there was the head of security and his girlfriend…there’s not one good relationship!

It took me a little while to get into this book, but I’m glad I stuck with it. The second half was suspenseful with some twists.

The narrator did a good job with timing and pace. I was able to differentiate between men and women but not the specific person, but it worked out fine.

This is the second book I’ve read by this author, and I look forward to reading more.

About the Author

NYT and USA Today bestselling author Norma Hinkens writes psychological suspense thrillers in domestic settings, as well as fast-paced science fiction and fantasy about spunky heroines and epic adventures in dangerous worlds. She’s also a travel junkie, legend lover, and idea wrangler, in no particular order. She grew up in Ireland, land of make-believe and the original little green man. In her spare time she retreats to rural Idaho to hike, bike and boat, but mostly to eavesdrop on mountain men and prepare for the apocalypse. If you like heart-stopping sagas, gritty heroines, and twists you won’t see coming, then you’ll love her turbo-paced thrill-rides! Join her VIP Reader Club for hot new releases, stellar giveaways, exclusive content, behind the scenes and more!

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Audiobook Review: The Lies She Told by N.L. Hinkens

Not all bad deeds can be undone….

Brilliant and beautiful Haley Burrows has just landed her dream job at a prestigious law firm, but someone is stalking her. When she finds her tires slashed, and a menacing message scrawled across her windscreen, she quickly realizes the situation has become a deadly game for her anonymous stalker. But she can’t involve the police because she’s hiding a guilty secret from her past that would instantly unravel her charmed life if it ever came to light. Ensnared by the lies she has built her life on, she is forced to rely on her own wits and intuition to track down her stalker before he makes good on his threat to kill her. 

But will the awful truth of her past prove her undoing?

A riveting thriller with spine-tingling chills, twists, and turns to the very last moment!

Amazon

My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Haley is being stalked, and she’s pretty sure it has to do with something she and her friends did in high school. She’s scared and determined to find out who the stalker is. Unfortunately, I had it figured out from the beginning, and I was a little disappointed in the ending.

The narrator is pretty good. She doesn’t have a voice for each person, but she changes it when men are talking, which is helpful. Her timing and pacing are good.

The Lies She Told is a suspenseful thriller that you’ll enjoy if you don’t mind predictable.

About the Author

NYT and USA Today bestselling author Norma Hinkens writes psychological suspense thrillers in domestic settings, as well as fast-paced science fiction and fantasy about spunky heroines and epic adventures in dangerous worlds. She’s also a travel junkie, legend lover, and idea wrangler, in no particular order. She grew up in Ireland, land of make-believe and the original little green man. In her spare time she retreats to rural Idaho to hike, bike and boat, but mostly to eavesdrop on mountain men and prepare for the apocalypse. If you like heart-stopping sagas, gritty heroines, and twists you won’t see coming, then you’ll love her turbo-paced thrill-rides! Join her VIP Reader Club for hot new releases, stellar giveaways, exclusive content, behind the scenes and more!

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Audiobook Review: Donn’s Legacy by Caryn Larrinaga

Author: Caryn Larrinaga
Narrator: Jessica McEvoy
Series: The Soul Searchers Mysteries, Book 3
Length: 9 hours 58 minutes
Publisher: Twisted Tree Press
Genre: Supernatural Cozy Mystery
Release date: September 27, 2021

Synopsis: How do you catch a killer who moves like a ghost?

Mackenzie Clair is sure she’ll find answers in New Mexico. The mysteries around her mother’s past have haunted her for 20 years, and every sign points toward the truth lurking in her childhood home. But the Donn’s Hill Body Magnet should have known better than to expect a quiet trip. Everywhere Mac goes, ghosts follow.

All her life, Mac thought her mother’s death was just a tragic accident. But when a tourist dies under suspiciously similar circumstances, connections between Evelyn Clair and more recent victims start stacking up. There’s a serial killer on the prowl, and they’ve set their sights on Donn’s Hill.

Hard as she tries, Mac can’t convince the police the deaths are related. The murderer is like a ghost, moving through the living world in ways only a psychic can follow. It’s up to Mac to solve the case, but if she can’t sift through the clues from her past, she won’t live to see her future.

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My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy from Audiobookworm Promotions. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. I listened to the first two books, Donn’s Hill and Donn’s Shadow recently and liked them so I was looking forward to listening to Donn’s Legacy.

This is my favorite of the three Soul Searchers books I’ve listened to. Mac has only lived in Donn’s Hill for a few months, but she’s growing as a psychic and is determined to use her abilities to find out who is murdering psychics, but is she strong enough? She seems to doubt herself more than others do.

Mac is brave and cares a lot for others. She does seem a little whiny at times, though. Her boyfriend is very supportive and although he doesn’t like her putting herself in danger, he is there for her when she needs him. Some of the other characters from the first two books left for one reason or another, and I missed them.

Jessica McEvoy does a great job with the different voices in the story. She’s the perfect narrator for Donn’s Legacy. She performs the story and brings it alive.

I enjoyed the twists and turns in this book, and I really liked the conclusion to the trilogy. I’m going to have to read more of Caryn Larrinaga’s books when I can.

About the Author

Caryn Larrinaga is a Basque-American mystery and horror writer. She has been a Dragon Award finalist and won multiple awards for her work, including the League of Utah Writers Silver Quill (Donn’s Hill, 2017) and the Cat Writers Association Certificate of Excellence (Donn’s Legacy, 2020). In 2021, she was named Writer of the Year by the League of Utah Writers.

Watching scary movies through split fingers terrified Caryn as a child, and those nightmares inspire her to write now. Her 90-year-old house has a colorful history, and the creaking walls and narrow hallways send her running (never walking) up the stairs. Exploring her fears through writing makes Caryn feel a little less foolish for wanting a buddy to accompany her into the tool shed.

Caryn lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and their clowder of cats.

Caryn is an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Cat Writers Association, the League of Utah Writers, and the Utah Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.

Website

About the Narrator

Jessica McEvoy is a desert-dwelling Arizonian transplanted to the snowy hills of South Dakota. Though she is best known for her work on The NoSleep Podcast, Jessica can also be heard on The Wicked Library, Creepy, Sirenicide, Victoria’s Lift, and others, as well as a variety of audiobooks. Her days are spent being inordinately proud of her three cats for merely existing and praying for winter to end. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @jnmcevoy for pictures of aforementioned cats, books, and copious amounts of food, or on Twitch at twitch.tv/jessicamcevoy where she fails to solve basic puzzles in children’s games.

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Audiobook Review: A Cure for Deceit by Margie Miklas

Author: Margie Miklas
Narrator: Blair Seibert
Length: 7 hours 16 minutes
Publisher: Margie Miklas⎮2021
Genre: Medical Thriller
Release date: Apr. 28, 2021

What happens when a top surgeon begins to crack under the strain of his personal life and patients start to die? A sudden spike in patient deaths drives an impassioned ICU nurse to launch a clandestine investigation, targeting a powerful cardiac surgeon whose corrupt connections could destroy her career.

Allison Jamison, an experienced intensive care nurse, becomes suspicious when a recent wave of major surgical complications results in unnecessary patient deaths. She enlists the professional expertise of her friend, Detective Mark Derning, whose interests include more than an investigative role. When her probe targets Dr. Gary Tamarino, the powerful, narcissistic chief of cardiothoracic surgery at San Francisco Bay Hospital, she encounters a staggering level of deceit and revenge while delving deep into his far-reaching web of corruption.

Abuse of power, manipulation, callousness, and desperation drive the dark side of a man who also saves lives on a daily basis. Will he destroy her career before she can do anything to stop him?

Buy Links

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My Review

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

A Cure for Deceit is a medical thriller about Allison, an ICU nurse, works with a great heart surgeon who suddenly has patients with complications who have return to the OR for a second surgery. Critical Cover Up, a medical malpractice investigative agency that Allison started, is contacted to investigate the surgeon. Suddenly, it seems that the surgeon’s life is falling apart, and he blames Allison. I was afraid he was desperate enough to come after her!

Although the thriller part of this book is minimal, it’s an interesting story. There’s so much going on, it’s difficult to stop listening once you start. There’s even a sweet romance between Allison and the detective helping her investigate.

The narrator has a good voice for this story and does well with the different voices as well as the pacing. She helped the story to come alive, although it was well-written. I may have to go back and read the previous book!

About the Author: Margie Miklas

An award-winning author, Margie Miklas writes medical thrillers and travel memoirs about Italy. Creator and owner of the travel blog, Margie in Italy, and a contributing writer for an Italian-American newspaper, she is a member of the Florida Writers Association and makes her home in Florida.

In her medical thrillers, Margie’s years of experience as a critical care nurse provide the foundation for the realistic storylines inside a hospital. Her characteristic conversational, storytelling approach in her travel memoirs makes readers feel as if they are traveling beside her.

Margie has won numerous awards, including two from the Florida Writers Association, Readers Favorite, and Book Excellence awards. A Cure for Deceit won the Silver Award in the thriller genre in the 2020 Royal Palm Literary Competition from the Florida Writers Association, along with the Bronze Award in the 2020 Reader’s Favorite Competition in the thriller category.

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About the Narrator: Blair Seibert

Blair is a full-time voice actor living in Los Angeles, CA with 20+ previous years’ experience as a green building architect. That experience draws her to books that offer the listener new knowledge about things of interest to her: relationships, women’s issues, medicine, psychology, and environmental issues, while also being entertained. 

Blair recently completed a ten-hour non-fiction book for Penguin Random House called “New Women In The Old West”. Genres she narrates are: romance, Rom-Com, cozy mystery and non-fiction.

When Blair is not narrating, she’s gardening, cooking, recycling, biking or quilting (the skill she learned during the COVID shutdown). She’s passionate about books and is typically listening to one fiction and one non-fiction at a time while also reading a non-fiction book. 

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Audiobook Review: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Author: Lewis Carroll
Narrator: Lynn Norris
Length: 2 hours 42 minutes
Publisher: Blackberry Publishing Group
Released: Mar. 12, 2021
Genre: Classics; Fantasy

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel by English author Lewis Carroll (the pseudonym of Charles Dodgson). It tells of a young girl named Alice, who falls through a rabbit hole into a subterranean fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as with children.

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My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy through Audiobookworm Promotions. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I had read Alice in Wonderland many years ago as a child so I was happy to listen to this version. I was sure I’d probably forgotten some of the things in the book, and I was right. I didn’t remember the pool of tears at all!

This is a great version of the classic. The narrator, Lynn Norris, has a good voice and has an excellent pace and timing. She does the various voices very well. I definitely enjoyed listening to her!

About the Narrator

Lynn gets it.  She’s an audiobook fan as much as a narrator.  And she cannot wait to be transported by a fabulous story and taken to another realm, or taught a series of fascinating new facts by a talented chronicler.  Her own fandom has become a master class study and informed her narration and performance in the audiobook ring. Lynn doesn’t really have a favorite genre of narration, though she’s becoming a favorite for Romance and YA authors. She also loves Mystery/Thrillers and finds herself really connecting to Stephanie Plum-type heroines.

Lynn’s lifetime of acting, improv and singing training lends itself smoothly to a hassle-free audiobook narration from someone who takes the time to be engrossed in the story, absorb the direction and deliver the desired performance on the first go. And her easy facility with accents and dialects infuses extra life into elaborate worlds of characters.  A fair amount of her catalog of audiobooks are from authors who’ve come back for sequels and additional book series.

A Voice Arts Awards-winning narrator, Lynn’s a 2021 Finalist for Independent Audiobook Awards in the Fantasy and Best Female Narrator Categories.

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Audiobook Review: Magical Neighbors by Mary Ellen Spencer

Author: Mary Ellen Spencer
Narrator: Rosemary Benson
Length: 40 minutes
Publisher: One Night Stand Studios
Released: April 21, 2021
Genre: Children’s; Fantasy

The sudden appearance of a portly gnome on a humdrum, ordinary day definitely threw me for a loop. When this gnome began to speak to me about building him a home in our neighborhood, I know my eyes were as big as saucers, but I tried to appear casual. And I even managed to answer graciously, “Sure, I’d be glad to.” Then other gnomes who wanted to live in my neck of the woods showed up. Fairies, too! They all became part of my world. And their world became part of mine. Life’s been astonishing ever since.

Maybe you’ve never met anyone who lives beyond fairy doors. Well, I’d like you to meet my new neighbors. They’re really quite wonderful in their own magical way. Knock on their doors and have a chat. Make friends with fairies and garden gnomes. Come spend some time with us!

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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 One Night Stand Studios. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Magical Neighbors is a short audiobook but it’s sweet and would be a good beginner audiobook for children. The Storyteller lives a quiet and “normal” life until the gnomes and fairies come into her life. She describes several of her magical neighbors and how she helped them out by building homes or doors for them among other things.

A pdf is included with the audiobook which enhances the story even more. Each character is shown in the pdf. Here is Percival with his new home:

The narrator does a good job with pace and timing. Her voice is perfect for this book, and she does a good job.

If you’re looking for an audiobook for a child, this would be a good one to start with, especially since it has the pictures to go along with it.

Mary Ellen Spencer lives in a forested neighborhood near Harrods Creek in Kentucky with her cute husband Hank and her trusty dog Annie. She likes to make things—fairy doors and birdhouses from gourds, men of the forest carved from stone, and woodspirits carved into cedar. She enjoys growing things—like trees and hostas and oak leaf hydrangeas. And sometimes stories spill out.

Narrator Bio

Rosemary Benson is an award-winning Audible #1 best-selling narrator, singer, educator, and stage actress. She has appeared across the U.S., Canada, and Italy, and regularly performs with several ensembles and big bands. A passionate learner and audiobook fan, she is at home in many genres. Her musical ear allows her to produce myriad accents for storytelling, while her expertise in differentiating instruction guides her abilities in nonfiction. She lives across the river from Philadelphia with her husband in a house full of musical instruments and books.

Q&A with Author Mary Ellen Spencer

Q: Were there any real life experiences behind your writing?

A: Despite suggestions over the years that I had a book in me, I just never quite saw a path forward with that idea. Maybe it was a matter of timing or the absence of the right topic. Now I know why I couldn’t write a book before now. Magical Neighbors has required a lifetime to write, and a certain amount of serendipity. I have borrowed experiences and words and names from my growing-up time to my interactions with my neighbors during the last few years.

Q: How did Magical Neighbors come about?

A: Magical Neighbors has been an inspired work. As an avid gardener, I first created a fairy garden, then I built fairy doors and gnome homes. Stories about the fairies who live behind the doors rather magically appeared in my mind. A little girl teared up when I told her a fairy story. A young boy was empathetic to a fairy who was ridiculed and harassed. “I’ll be danged,” I thought to myself, “These stories have power!” My neighbor suggested that I should write those stories down. Write a book! “Hmmmm… Maybe I could… Maybe I should.. Maybe I will…” Then I did. Words and ideas flowed onto a blank computer screen. Of course, I had to do a bunch of rewrites. My editor at One Night Stand Studios was definitely a tough critic. But she made Magical Neighbors so much better!

Q: How did you select your narrator?

A: The first time I had Magical Neighbors read aloud to me, I liked the way it sounded, and I thought to myself, “This is good. These are good stories!” I was actually a bit surprised how alive the stories became! That’s when I knew that Magical Neighbors was best read aloud.

One Night Stand Studios stepped up to help me find a narrator. We chose Rosemary Benson from the 53 auditions that were submitted. We knew she was the right one to narrate Magical Neighbors. She was the right voice, and had just a touch of grit, which was perfect. We both smiled when we heard her interpretation of this book which included several accents.

Q: Do you believe certain kinds of writing translate better into audiobook format?

A: I think the dialogue in Magical Neighbors makes the audiobook much more vibrant, alive, and interesting. I encourage people to not only read the print book, but listen to it as well. Because the magical neighbors hail from different places, Japan, England, the Wild West and the Deep South in the USA, the narrator created voices to match the character which a casual reader may well not do. Rosemary Benson just kicks Magical Neighbors up a notch so that no nuance goes missing. “Rosemary sounds even better than the voice in my head!” I said. “Wonderful!” Because Meg Roby’s wonderful illustrations can be accessed with the audiobook as a downloadable PDF, the stories take on yet another dimension.

Q: Did you give the narrator any pronunciation tips?

A: Yes, I did. Certain names could have been troublesome.

Q: Could you envision Magical Neighbors as a made-for-TV movie series?

A: Yes, I could imagine that maybe Disney could take up the project of a 12-part series for The Disney Channel. The fairies and gnomes would require animation, with voiceover, of course. Each fairy and gnome character could be expanded for a time slot. The scenery is beautiful as well. The Storyteller could be someone 65 or so, maybe Angela Lansbury.

Q: Why do you think Magical Neighbors resonates in a listener?

A: Magical Neighbors taps a variety of emotions, emotions that are some of the noble elements of the human spirit. The tap on hearts is a soft one that hints of ways that we should treat each other.

I believe that in Magical Neighbors there are stories that need to be told. Our world does not seem as gentle or as kind as it needs to be. Too much discord. The magical neighbors suggest that doing the right thing is a good thing; that we, too, can stand in the breach for those who cannot defend themselves; that character is not determined from appearance; that we can take action to be helpful and encourage others toward their success.

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Audiobook Review & Giveaway: Caroline & Mordecai the Gand by Jeff Gunhus

Book Title: Caroline & Mordecai the Gand by Jeff Gunhus
Category:  Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12), 186 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Literary
Publisher:  Seven Guns Press
Release date:  March 31, 2021

Content Rating: PG: The language is G. There is one scene with the main character punches a bully resulting in a bloody nose. The emotional treatment of grief and the death of a loved one can be somewhat intense.

Description

This novella was written by USA Today bestselling author Jeff Gunhus after he received a devastating diagnosis of state 3 cancer. The story is a message to his five children on how to deal with grief and a plea for them to grasp onto joy and love even in the darkest of times.

Caroline loses her spark. It takes a great adventure for her to find it again.

Caroline loses her father in a car accident for which she feels responsible. Consumed by grief, she has a difficult time readjusting to a world that has changed so dramatically for her. On the anniversary of her father’s death, a strange window opens in the middle of the small lake behind her house. She climbs up an old oak to peer inside, but falls out of the tree and discovers that the window also serves as a door into a different world.

Enter Mordecai the Gand, a mysterious traveler who befriends Caroline and promises to help her find a way back home since the window she fell through has disappeared. The two set out on a series of adventures that include visiting a tree village populated by a tribe known for eating travelers, running into a witch under a spell of her own making, hiding in a cave with a dragon encased in a wall of ice (prone to melting by campfire), all the while being pursued by a mysterious entity call the Creach which promises to devour Caroline and trap her in an eternity of despair.

As they navigate these adventures and this new world, Caroline slowly discovers that she is meant to help each of the characters she meets. As she battles internally whether to stay or return home to the sadness and grief waiting for her there, she must regain perspective and open her heart to the act of caring and to the joy of love itself. In the end, she must demonstrate great courage, loyalty, and caring as the plot unfolds, becoming the active hero of her own story.

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My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I have read all of the Jack Templar books by Jeff Gunhus and have always enjoyed his writing so I was looking forward to listening to this book. Just like the Jack Templar books, it is written for middle grade and/or young adult readers, but it’s a story that readers of all ages will like.

Caroline lost her father when she was 13 years old. They were very close and it was devastating, especially since she blamed herself for his death. When she ends up in another world and meets Mordecai the Gand, she goes on an emotional journey with him and learns some important lessons about loss, grief, and hope.

Caroline meets some quirky characters along the way. Mordecai is quirky enough but then there is the tribe that lives in the trees whose people like to eat travelers, the terrifying Creach, and a dragon that started out being frozen in ice…

The narrator, Sarah L. Colton, has a great voice for telling a story. Her timing and pace are also excellent. I hope to listen to more stories that she narrates.

If you’ve experience a recent loss, or even if you haven’t, Caroline and Mordecai the Gand is a book that is full of sadness and grief but is still an adventure that is fun at times and is full of hope. I am thankful that Jeff Gunhus decided to share this book that was originally meant as a private story for his children when he was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer.

“Readers of all ages who look for ethereal, haunting stories of recovery and courage will find Caroline & Mordecai the Gand may hold the trappings of a fantasy adventure; but inside there is so much more. Make the right decision, to read this!” – D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“Caroline’s story is profoundly sad, and yet hopeful, magical, and yet rooted in reality. There is magic, mystery, and daring adventure.”– BooksCoffee

About the Author

Jeff Gunhus is the USA TODAY bestselling author of thriller and horror novels for adults and the middle grade fantasy series, The Jack Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year-old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His books for adults have reached the Top 30 on Amazon, have been recognized as Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalists and reached the USA TODAY bestseller list.

Jeff wrote Caroline & Mordecai the Gand after receiving a devastating diagnosis of stage 3 cancer. The novella was meant as a private story for his five children on how to face grief by holding onto joy and love. He leads an active life in Maryland with his wife Nicole by trying to constantly keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of Old Fox Books in Annapolis working on his next novel or on JeffGunhus.com.

connect with the author:  website  ~  twitter  ~  facebook instagram goodreads bookbub

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