Tag Archives: Brilliance Audio

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- July 5th, 2012

Hope everyone enjoyed their 4th of July and managed to stay cool.  It’s hotter than Hades here and “cooler near the lake” doesn’t seem to apply lately.  Here’s some books to enjoy while sitting by the pool or relaxing in an air conditioned coffee shop.

 

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joysann

Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook

Read by joysann

While The Adventures of Archimedes Fox are a highly popular fictional series in the post-Horde years, the real Archimedes Fox finds himself enthralled, not by technological enslavement, but by the swashbuckling charms of the airship captain known as Lady Corsair. They join forces to seek the lost treasures of Leonardo DaVinci’s inventions through devastated, zombie-infested Europe to dangerous Horde-occupied Morocco, all the while their hearts are challenging each to surrender to the other.

The second Novel of the Iron Seas continues exploring the exciting steam-punk world Meljean introduced in The Iron Duke. Creatively conceived, the pseudo-technically advanced world is entertaining to explore, as is the romance between the two colorful rogue protagonists. It was easy to like the strong, adventurous Yasmeen, and Archimedes is as charming a hero as one could want.

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Tammy

Dyad Love by Ann Hinnenkamp

Read by Tammy

Emma has fallen in love with Damien, a Dyad, a species of beings hidden among the human population. There are only 1,000 Dyads alive on Earth at any one time, and they are not only beautiful, but possess special powers. Because of these powers, there are humans who are hunting the Dyads. Emma is torn between her love for Damien and her desire to keep him and his race safe from the hunters.

This 3rd book in the Dyad Chronicles contains romance, mystery, and action. I couldn’t turn the page fast enough to see what course of action one of the character’s would choose next. My favorite line the author used to describe Damien was “sin on a stick.” It was enjoyable to visualize him. This was a fantastic book to read.

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Joan

Joan

Cat in a Sapphire Slipper by Carole Nelson Douglas

Read by Joan

Midnight Louie lives in Las Vegas with his purrfect roommate Miss Temple Barr, a public relations freelancer with a nose for trouble. Temple’s maternal aunt is marrying one of Vegas’ famous, if not mafia, Fontana brothers, and his brothers and friends are throwing a bachelor party, ending up at the Chicken Ranch, a brothel just outside Vegas. Included in the excursion are Temple’s current interest, ex-priest Matt Devine, and, somehow, Midnight Louie. Throw in a dead body and Midnight Louie’s investigation, and it’s a fun read.

Midnight Louie is one of my favorite Animal detectives, after all, being a black cat with a white chest he has a built-in tux. As the head cat of Midnight, Inc., Midnight Louie inserts himself and his friends into the thick of a murder again and again, with newer adventures in the series on the shelves, and a new one coming out soon. I liked how Ms Douglas included the Chicken Ranch as the scene of the bachelor party and was able to get Midnight Louie involved all the way from Vegas.

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Heidi

Heidi

Cherry on Top by Susan Donovan

Read by Heidi

Cherise Newberry and her BFF Candy left North Carolina for Tampa, in hopes of making it big. And they did. Now they have lost it all, and not sure what to do next. Cheri gets a call from her grandfather to come home and run the family newspaper. With her tail between her legs, and her secret not known, she returns out of obligation. What she didn’t realize was that JJ DeCourcy was going to be the “go-to” man of the newspaper. JJ may still be gorgeous, but he broke Cheri’s heart with her sister. Trying to keep her distance, she works on the biggest story her small town has ever seen, she can’t avoid being so close to JJ and coming to terms with her past.

I loved this story and the many layers to the characters. I probably related to Cheri and her friend Candy the best… especially when you make huge mistakes and have to return home. But I adored the mystery twist to this romantic story, including JJ’s never ending love. The whole story brought a satisfying sigh of happiness at the end of the book.

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joysann

The Witness by Nora Roberts

Listened to by joysann

Abigail Lowery is a mystery to the locals in the small Ozark community to which she recently moved, polite but unsociable, keeping to herself on her highly-secured rural property with her huge guard dog, and carrying a gun. Amiable, handsome Police Chief Brooks Gleason charms his way through the boundaries of her isolation, and finds an unusual, brilliant but lonely woman hiding big, frightening secrets. When it’s time for Abigail to confront the monsters of her past, Brooks is there to help her face the very real dangers of betrayal and a vicious criminal element.

Through her last few books, I’m finding that the already incredible Nora Roberts just keeps getting better and better. I was enthralled with The Witness, listening to its 16-some hours in less than a day and half. The story mixed brutal and chilling with romantic and charming in such a satisfying way that, with a fine reading by narrator Julia Whelan, I found listening a true pleasure.

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Bottom Line:  “What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance”~ Jane Austen

BEA: Welcome to New York

Barbara Vey -- May 26th, 2011

It’s always a whirlwind when I come to New York and BEA is no exception.  While it’s mostly for buyers and sellers to get together, I found myself immediately absorbed into the frenzy.

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The first day, Dan Blank of We Grow Media, (and my buddy) acted as tour guide.  He showed me around and explained so much I didn’t understand.  I’m so visual that I’m easily attracted to all the sparklies and sometimes miss the plain but important stuff.  It was really fun to walk around the huge convention center and run into so many people I knew. We lunched with aspiring authors who are taking Dan’s class and I was thrilled to know that we follow each other on Twitter (another perk of social media).  You can find them here, @Porter_Anderson, @friendgrief, @virtualDavis . Can’t wait till they’re published so I can say I knew them when.

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While waiting in line to get a book signed by actress Julianne Moore, I found author Michelle Willingham waiting in front of me.  We took each other’s picture with Julianne.  She’s teeney, tiny and lovely in person.  Then I was off to catch Tyra Banks and managed to stick my head behind her because her line was way too long to stand in. 

Tyra Banks and Barbara Vey

Tyra Banks and Barbara Vey

Barbara Vey and Julianne Moore

Barbara Vey and Julianne Moore

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Harlequin author signing

Harlequin author signing

There were lines everywhere for book signings and I wandered in to the Harlequin set up where they had shifts of different authors signing at once.  Lots of happy readers came away with many free books.  While I didn’t take any books, I did manage to get a Dork t-shirt for my granddaughter and some Marvel stuff for my grandson.

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Since I love audiobooks, I stopped by the Brilliance Audio booth and they showed me a QR app you can put on your phone, then when you are at a book store or a library and notice an audio book you are interested in, if it has a QR icon on it you just put your phone in front of it and it down loads an excerpt of the book.  That way you can tell if you like the reader.  I know that the reader can make or break an audio book, so I can’t wait to use my app when I get home.

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Marie Bostwick Linda Winstead Jones at Kensington Party

Marie Bostwick Linda Winstead Jones at Kensington Party

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Kensington Publishing had a fun party with their authors and staff.  It’s always nice to get together in an informal relaxed atmosphere and find out the latest news.  Of course, the drinks and food is a nice perk.  It’s going to be hard to go back home to frozen dinners.

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Day two I had a 10 a.m. meeting with Leah Hultenschmidt at Sourcebooks.  It’s really more of a fun chat session, but if I would have know that Jimmy Fallon was signing at that same time, I may have changed it.  He’s so adorable.  Then I found out that I also just missed Michael Moore.  Boy, my timing was really off.

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Barbara Vey and Harlan Coben

Barbara Vey and Harlan Coben

But I did catch up with Harlan Coben who was signing his audio cds and ran into several authors while just walking around like Leanna Renee Hieber, Eloisa James, Julia Quinn, Nancy Naigle, KT Grant and I’m sure I’m forgetting some.  Just let me know and I’ll add your name here.

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I also checked out the Autography booth.  It’s a brand new company that offers an opportunity for authors to sign e-books.  The author can do it in person or be in another location.  It’s done on an iPad and gets transferred to your e-book.  If you are seeing the author in person, there is the option of getting your picture taken with the author and then attached to the signature page.  You really have to see it done to understand it.  I’m still not sure I do, but it does look pretty cool.  Right now you have to buy the book at the same time the author is signing, but they are working on a way to get the books signed that you may already own.  Stay tuned.

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Reader’s Digest was giving away Toy Story 3 books and I loved the movie so it was the only book I ended up taking, but I’ve got to tell you that a big selling point was the magnetic Woody.  It comes with a cloth Woody that you can attach to whatever page you are reading.  I can’t wait to try it out.  (Feel free to insert Woody joke here.)

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Kevin Sorbo and Barbara Vey

Kevin Sorbo and Barbara Vey

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Ok, here the part you’ve been waiting for, one of my adventures moments.  As I’m walking around I notice this good looking guy and find myself yelling, “Hey Kevin!”  Face to face with Hercules himself, Kevin Sorbo offered a hug and picture with me.  As I posted on Twitter, “Just call me Xena!”  A definite sigh moment.

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Dee Davis and Kathleen O'Reilly

Dee Davis and Kathleen O'Reilly

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Next it was off to High Tea at the St. Regis with authors Kathleen O’Reilly and Dee Davis.  We did this several years ago and I’m glad we had a chance to do it again.  It’s so fancy, but I went with coffee.  They serve a plate of finger sandwiches.  There was cucumber, salmon, duck, egg salad and more.  Almost too pretty to eat.  Then comes the dessert tower with the most decadent teasers like lemon tarts and a variety of chocolate concoctions.  A real treat.

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PW owner George Slowik Jr. and Margaret Atwood

PW owner George Slowik Jr. and Margaret Atwood

I caught up with Anne Elizabeth and helped her celebrate her 3 book deal with Sourcebooks by dining at The Harvard Club.  Really folks, I seriously need some new clothes.  This place was straight out of a movie.  A fish out of water, think Pretty Woman without thinking of me as a prostitute.  I knew better than to order shell fish because we all know what happens.  But being with fun people really makes all the difference.

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The Harlequin party was held on the roof top of the Kimberly Hotel and served as a prelude to their amazing RWA party.  There were sparkling lights hanging all over that made it all seem magical.  While it all was wonderful, the high point for me was meeting the amazing author, Margaret Atwood.  I got goosebumps.  I had to tell her that I read A Handmaid’s Tale years ago and it still haunts me.  If you haven’t read it, give it a try.  It’s so relevant, especially today.  I also caught up with Heather Graham, Carla Neggers, Rick Mofina, Sophie Littlefield, and Brenda Novak (don’t forget about her charity auction ending soon).

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Bottom Line: Yes, I’m pooped, but in a good way and I can’t believe I was too tired to go across the street to see Kiefer Sutherland…maybe tonight.

Audio Book Readers

Barbara Vey -- February 18th, 2011

I have been absolutely giddy the past couple of weeks because Brilliance Audio has been sending me a ton of audio books.  Now, I’ve always loved to read real paper books and will continue to do so, but there are times when it’s just not convenient.  While driving a car, walking, doing dishes, and late at night when my eyes seem to give out and start watering so I can’t read the print.  Today I want to talk about the readers on audio books.

I especially love listening to them with the lights out.  It seems to really put me in that time and place and clearly let’s me understand how important the right reader is to a book.  I started off with an older book, but new to audio, Jennifer Crusie’s Charlie All Night.  Not sure how I missed this book in print because I thought I read them all.  It was a contemporary love story about a young woman working as a producer at a radio station and the man who temporarily fills in as a DJ.  Since I was focusing on the reader, I’d have to say Aimee Jolson did a fine job.  It was clear what was going on and who was saying what.  No strange dialects that take me out of the story.

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Next up was the historical by Lisa Kleypas, Then Came You.  There’s something I find so lovely about a British accent and Lisa’s story was fun, fascinating and exciting to listen to.  She has a way with witty dialog and the reader,  Rosalyn Landor, nailed it.  I was completely enchanted and would definitely listen to it again.

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Unfortunately, not so much with the reader for Victoria Alexander’s The Perfect Mistress.  I have been reading Victoria for years and while the story was about everything I love in historicals, the reader, Jennifer Dixon, offered no change in her voice to alert me to which character was talking.  I couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman, so I spent a good part of the time thinking, “Wait…who said that??”  It was very distracting and a disservice to the book.  (Which has a gorgeous cover.)

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I’m currently listening to Treachery in Death by Nora Roberts in my car.  I already read the book, but I’m now listening to it because this reader, Susan Ericksen, is amazing in defining the characters and when she does Roarke’s Irish lilt, I swoon.  It seems I make more car trips just to listen to the book.

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At home I’m in the middle of How to Woo a Reluctant Lady by Sabrina Jeffries.  Another favorite author, but I find myself somewhat put off by the reader, Sarah Coomes.  I’ll admit that I’m no expert when it comes to the different British dialects, but while the story makes the characters out to be well to do, the reader’s voice sounds more Cockney to me.  Sort of Eliza Doolittle before her transformation.   I find the story fascinating, so I may also read the book later to see if it changes how I liked the book overall.

The best reader ever for me is Jim Dale who does the Harry Potter books.  I always know exactly who’s talking.  It amazes me how he can come up with a slightly different voice for each character.  I read once where he works many hours getting just the right sound for that person.  It works wonderfully.

Just like how different people like different books, others could love the audios that just didn’t do it for me or not care for the ones I loved.  Once again, while I enjoyed all the stories (so please, read them or listen to them yourselves), I was concentrating on what I thought the reader brought to the table. But I’d love to hear what you think?  Do you enjoy audio books?  Does the reader matter to you?  For authors:  Do you listen to your books in audio form?  Have you been pleased or disappointed about your books were interpreted (you don’t have to use your name)? Is it like when you have no control over the cover of your book?

A number of my readers are trying the audio books out, so you’ll be seeing their takes in the WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs.  Many thanks to Brilliance Audio for making these available.

Bottom Line: My personal preference is unabridged audio.  I want to hear every word the author wrote.

Celebrating National Audio Book Month

Barbara Vey -- June 1st, 2010
Joysann

Joysann

Because Joysann is an audio book aficionado, I bow to her expertise in celebrating National Audio Book Month.

An Audie Award is prized by Spoken Word artists

My passion is fiction on audio. I had started my library job back in the early ‘90s, and that’s when I learned about them. At that time the big thing for visually-impaired outreach patrons was the state-supplied Talking Book Program, which required a special machine. This was/is a truly essential service, and I‘m not knocking it, but I listened to one of those, and it was awful. Very literally someone simply read (read well, of course, but disinterestedly) into a microphone and recorded whatever, from books to newspapers and magazines, and just droned on and on. But a new medium was becoming more easily available then, and that was books recorded to cassette tapes that could be played on ordinary players in cars or at home. One time I heard one patron explaining to another that these were for “blind people, and should only be checked out for them”. Oh, was she wrong. These were for the pleasure of everyone!

Mind you, audio books had been around for a long while already, but I had just discovered them. I remember first falling in love with audio books when I was gardening in my yard, weeding not being a favorite thing, with a Walkman plugged to my ear, and Stephen King and Blair Brown reading Rose Madder to me. I was enthralled. I don’t know what the heck I did to my yard – it so didn’t matter. From there I went through every Stephen King book I could lay my hands on, whether I’d read it before or not, whether read by him or not. And, in between, I started on everything else. Stephen King reads his stuff very, very well, by the way.

Now, nearly twenty years later, I’ve become totally addicted, and I can’t live happily without an audio book close to hand. And that’s not a bad thing.

I have my particular readers/narrators whom I adore, and often simply having their names on a book cover will make me decide to “read” (listen to) something. George Guidall, Dick Hill, Davina Porter, Simon Prebble, Scott Brick, Kate Reading, Phil Gigante, and so many others, are names that can catch a listener’s eye (ear?). There are many talents one knows from stage and screen, like Derek Jacobi and James Marsters who also record books.

Barbara Rosenblat

My very favorite is marvelous Barbara Rosenblat. When she reads, every character becomes as large and as vivid as if on a movie screen, visually complete in the mind’s eye, with no relevance to sex, age, race, nationality, or locale; all the characters are simply real. Jim Dale, of course, brought audio books to a whole new level with Harry Potter, and daily there are more productions vying for that magical performance.

At first, long ago, I couldn’t have told you who a narrator was, barely able to put title to author consistently, but that’s no longer true. One of the first names I committed to memory came with the reading of The Green Mile when narrator Frank Muller took my breath away. He read many of Stephen King’s books, as well as other fascinating fiction and non-fiction, and the world lost a special talent to a motorcycle accident. Another tragic loss to accident was of Kate Fleming/Anna Fields, who will always be, to me, the voice of Susan Elizabeth Phillips, though she read many wonderful books by other talented authors. It’s bittersweet to play an audio book and hear them again, knowing they’re gone forever.

Stephen King is not the only author to read his own books. Many non-fiction authors do, and more and more frequently fiction authors. Garrison Keillor, of course, and Tom Bodett are fabulous by their very nature, being radio performers. The late Roger Zelazney did one of the most memorable readings I’ve ever heard with A Night in the Lonesome October. Neil Gaiman reads several of his stories, and I’m presently listening to the mystery The Inheritance read (quite well) by author Simon Tolkien, and I’m looking forward to hearing how Barry Eisler does with his new release, Inside Out, later this month.

There’s another thing, though; that other side. An audio book narrator can make or break a story for me, and I’ve had to learn not to dismiss either the reader or the author out hand. If a voice is annoying, or the narrator’s performances are not top rate, a book can be ruined. Conversely, a performer has to have something to work with. I’ve had to learn to find the book in print to see if it’s the story that reads poorly to me, or find another audio book read by that narrator to see if the performer is consistently annoying, whereupon, of course, I will avoid him/her, either one.

Blackstone Audio, Brilliance Audio, Harper Audio, MacMillan Audio, Penguin Audio, and on, and more names I don‘t know or am not recalling, publishing houses are producing audio books, often now released at the same time as the print, and bringing the magic of books even to those who can’t find the time to read. And, of course, audio books are now available in a variety of ways: cds, mp-3, downloads, self-contained pocket-sized gizmos, and who all knows what else.

My husband thinks my headset is permanently attached.

I’m no expert… this is only my opinion and experience. I’ve barely scratched the surface of the audio book world, but if I’ve enticed even one of Barbara’s readers to give an audio book a try, I’ve celebrated National Audio Book Month properly.

Bottom Line: I still have to figure out how to listen on the motorcycle without losing a single word to the wind.