All posts by tantormedia

Hidden Gems of Indie Audiobooks Cont.

Hidden Gems of Indie Audiobooks

Happy fall, everyone! ‘Tis the season for falling leaves, warm sweaters, and… pumpkin spice EVERYTHING. I myself just had my first pumpkin-flavored beverage of the year yesterday. Delicious! Or overdone, depending on your worldview, I suppose. This month I’m featuring an author writing cozy mysteries, perfect for listening while snuggled up with your favorite warm beverage, pumpkin or otherwise. I’m also introducing a wonderful LGBTQ romance author, as well as the memoir of a former drug addict turned successful entrepreneur. Without further ado, let’s jump right in!

 

Bella Falls – Moonshine & Magic (Cozy Mystery)

Bella Falls has lived all over the world, but her paranormal cozy mysteries take place in North Carolina, right where she grew up. As a result, the down-home Southern setting of her books feel entirely natural, from the sweet tea and delicious comfort food to the main character’s extremely insincere “Bless your heart.” In the first audiobook of the series, Moonshine & Magic, Charli is a witch returning home to Honeysuckle Hollow after leaving her fiancé and family without a goodbye. She’s hoping to lie low for a while, but when she stumbles on a dead body her first night back, she’s drawn into the middle of a magical mystery that threatens not only her but her entire community. Can she use her unique magic to solve the case and save her town?

This series is narrated to perfection by Johanna Parker, who you may recognize from the wildly popular Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries, the basis of the HBO tv series True Blood. This experience puts this new paranormal Southern story is very much in Parker’s wheelhouse. If you enjoy Moonshine & Magic, you’ll love the sequels, Fried Chicken & Fangs and Sweet Tea & Spells!

 

Eden Finley – Fake Out (LGBTQ Romance)

Eden Finley is an up-and-coming contemporary romance author who writes MM (male-male), MMF (male-male-female), and MF (male-female) romances. Her MM romances have been particularly well-received, tearing up the Amazon and Audible charts. Her first audiobook, Fake Out, follows Maddox, a man who pretends to be gay to get away from the pressure to marry his female childhood sweetheart. When he agrees to attend her wedding, he needs to find a man willing to pretend to be his boyfriend to keep up the charade. Damon reluctantly agrees to act as Maddox’s plus-one in exchange for an important business introduction. Amid wedding-weekend shenanigans and ridiculous misunderstandings, unexpected sparks fly!

This is the first in Finley’s popular Fake Boyfriend series and has been described as light, hilarious, and sexy. Narrators Alexander Cendese and Iggy Toma are perfectly on point in this listen, bringing to life the sparkling dialogue and crackling heat between the two main characters. If you love Fake Out, be sure to check out the sequel, Trick Play!

 

Khalil Rafati – I Forgot To Die (Memoir)

If you’re looking for a rags-to-riches story, look no further. Khalil Rafati’s I Forgot to Die is a memoir of addiction and recovery, following his descent into drug addiction and hard-fought rise to becoming an extremely successful business owner. It begins with his abusive childhood, and his subsequent escape to Los Angeles, where he slips from a good job cleaning the cars of Hollywood stars to a life of heroin and cocaine addiction and homelessness. After nine overdoses, Khalil entered a rehab center, got clean, and began to work hard to turn his life around. His particular interest in vegetable and fruit juices eventually led to the launch of his popular juice bar business, Sunlife Organics. Today, he employs several hundred people through six Sunlife Organics locations, a recovery center, and a yoga studio.

I Forgot to Die has been acclaimed in the New York Times, the BBC, and numerous tv spots. The author narrates his work, a fact which reviewers have loved, and does an excellent job of bringing an unflinching, real voice to his life story.

 

By Elizabeth Sylvia

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October Audiobook Giveaway—Gothic Tales

Read by Gary Furlong

Arthur Conan Doyle was the greatest genre writer Britain has ever produced. Throughout a long writing career, he drew on his own medical background, his travels, and his increasing interest in spiritualism and the occult to produce a spectacular array of Gothic tales. Many of Doyle’s writings are recognized as the very greatest tales of terror. They range from hauntings in the polar wasteland to evil surgeons and malevolent jungle landscapes.

This collection brings together over 30 of Conan Doyle’s best Gothic tales. Darryl Jones’s introduction discusses the contradictions in Conan Doyle’s very public life – as a medical doctor who became obsessed with the spirit world, or a British imperialist drawn to support Irish Home Rule – and shows the ways in which these found articulation in that most anxious of all literary forms, the Gothic.

How to Win This MP3-CD Audiobook

  1. Send an email to contests@tantor.com
  2. Put the word “Gothic” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by  October 31, 2018. Open to US only.

________________________

Congratulations to Thomas Curtis, Tantor winner of last month’s giveaway of
Salvation. Thank you to all that entered!

Hidden Gems of Indie Audiobooks

By Elizabeth Sylvia

There are tons of great new audiobooks coming out every day. With all these titles to choose from, it can be hard to decide where to start when you’re searching for something new to listen to. Audiobooks published through big companies often get most of the attention, but there are plenty of amazing independent authors creating wonderful books who fly under the radar. To help you find the best of these hidden gems, every month I’ll be writing about two or three awesome indie authors, and I’ll make some suggestions about their best audiobooks to try.

Ruby Dixon is probably best known for her Fireblood Dragon romance series (the first book is Fire in His Blood). The series begins with an earth that has been decimated by invading shape-shifting dragons. Set in this dystopian world, the main female character of each book must find a way to survive through “taming” a dragon. But even as men, these shape-shifting dragons have no interest in being tamed! The series comprises five books, each of which can be listened to as a standalone, but which take place in the same world with returning characters.

 

Chris Sorensen – The Nightmare Room (Horror /Thriller)

You might recognize this name if you’ve listened to audiobooks such as Waking the Tiger or Empires of Light. In addition to working as an actor, playwright, and screenwriter, Chris is the vocal talent behind over 200 audiobooks to date, and has received four AudioFile Earphones Awards for his work. As impressive as that is, today I’m writing about his narration of his own book, The Nightmare Room. Though he’s written fourteen plays for the stage, this is Chris’ first novel, telling a story of an audiobook narrator, Peter, and his wife, Hannah, who move from bustling New York to small-town Midwest. (Talk about writing what you know!) However, strange things start to happen in their new home – a house purchased by Peter’s father years before. Strange voices mar his audio tracks, mysterious shadows darken the house, and a malevolent presence appears. Can Peter face these threats and save his family?

It’s an extra delight to hear Chris voice his own novel as a professional narrator, bringing fine and detailed characterizations to this creepy tale.

 

Ruby Dixon – Fireblood Dragon and Ice Planet Barbarians series (Paranormal Romance)

Ruby Dixon is an extremely prolific New York Times and USA Today bestselling author (35 books and counting!), best known for her paranormal romance. For any of you who might be new to this fast-growing subgenre, paranormal romances frequently take place in a sci-fi or fantasy setting and often involve relationships between humans and shapeshifters, vampires, ghosts, or aliens. Despite the unfamiliar environment, these books remain relatable, with the focus on heroines and heroes who face challenging and sometimes desperate situations, while fighting attraction to each other in the face of clashing cultural expectations or norms. What makes these romances fun and escapist are the exotic settings and imaginative characters.

If you’re looking for something cool and alien, rather than fiery dragon romance, try Ice Planet Barbarians, the first book in Dixon’s alien romance series of the same name.

 

Jevan Pradas – The Awakened Ape (Self-Help)

Ever wondered if you are living your life to its fullest? Author and researcher Jevan Pradas attempts to answer this question in The Awakened Ape: A Biohacker’s Guide to Evolutionary Fitness, Natural Ecstasy, and Stress-Free Living. Much like the intriguing title of his book, Jevan is not your average self-help guru. He lived for a time with hunter-gatherer tribes in the Amazon and studied the evolutionary foundations of health and mental well-being. He currently works as a Brain Trainer, which he describes as similar to being a physical therapist for those with cognitive disabilities.

Jevan advocates for a lifestyle similar to those of the nomadic hunter-gatherers he met in South America, with splashes of Buddhist meditation thrown in. Some examples of topics in his book include:

  • how to meditate
  • how to train your attention span
  • how to live like a caveman in the modern world
  • even how to properly use the restroom!

The Awakened Ape was a finalist for the Health and Wellness category of the 2018 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

 

Who are your favorite indie authors?

 

 

 

September Audiobook Giveaway—Salvation

Read by John Lee

In 2204, humanity is expanding into the wider galaxy in leaps and bounds. Cutting-edge technology of linked jump gates has rendered most forms of transportation—including starships—virtually obsolete. Every place on Earth, every distant planet humankind has settled, is now merely a step away from any other. And all seems wonderful—until a crashed alien spaceship of unknown origin is found on a newly located world eighty-nine light-years from Earth, carrying a cargo as strange as it is horrifying. To assess the potential of the threat a high-powered team is dispatched to investigate. But one of them may not be all they seem . . .

Bursting with tension and big ideas, Salvation is the first book of an all-new series that highlights the inventiveness of an author at the top of his game

 

How to Win This MP3-CD Audiobook

  1. Send an email to contests@tantor.com
  2. Put the word “Galaxy” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by September 30, 2018. Open to US only.

________________________

Congratulations to Thomas Babb, Tantor winner of last month’s giveaway of
Another Good Dog. Thank you to all that entered!

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner, Akata Witch

 

Read by Yetide Badaki

“‘Then you’re from here and there,’” says the Junkman in Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch. The first book in the eponymous series stunningly narrated by Yetide Badaki, tells the tale of Sunny, a girl who sees disaster in the flames of a candle and lives her life constantly straddling borderlines.

Sunny is an albino Nigerian girl who lived in America for most of her life before recently returning to her parents’ home country. And if that wasn’t enough of a contradictory jumble of life events already, Sunny soon finds out she is a Free Agent, a Leopard person with magical powers born to parents with no powers at all.  “‘One who walks between,’” says her friend Orlu, perfectly explaining the tension Sunny experiences as she tries to walk between her life’s many contradictions with balance.

The narration is also something that, “walks between.” With the many different cultures and identities to portray amongst a diverse cast of characters, Badaki has no small task before her. Yet she is able to evoke each so precisely it is as if hearing the individual characters speak. She slips in and out of speech and narration without a hitch, keeping you listening with interest so that even the narrative outside of dialogue takes on a character of its own. Badaki has an impressive résumé including a role as the goddess Bilquis on American Gods, extensive stage roles including at the Victory Gardens Theater, and an MFA in theater from Illinois State University. Though she takes care to make her narration part of the scenery, one could never say her voice disappears into the background.

After some startling events that reveal Sunny is more than just your average girl, she quickly picks up her companions in the form of Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha. She goes through a terrifying initiation ceremony and learns of the hidden magical city, Leopard Knocks, within her own city that requires the crossing of a dangerous bridge to enter.  The magic in Akata Witch is melded into the surrounding world, unnoticed by the Lambs—non-magical people—who surround Sunny.

Okorafor’s juju is a step beyond the wands and dragons of recent popular fantasy. In one scene Sunny cracks open the skull of a sheep on her kitchen countertop while trying to work a spell that will help her sneak out. Teenage angst combined with the power to do strange and unusual things is a heady rush for these characters, one they must learn to handle responsibly, particularly as the world they thought they knew steadily becomes darker. Okorafor has created uniquely terrifying ghouls in the shape of masquerades who rise out of termite mounds.

Compared to the imagination and style of the Harry Potter series, Akata Witch goes a step further. Where Harry Potter was the answer to a long line of traditional English tales, Akata Witch brings to popular consumption the mythologies of Nigeria and her people.

By the final showdown with a child-killer who has a dark connection to Sunny’s family’s past, Sunny and her companions prove that they have what it takes to fight and are willing, but there are so many questions left to be answered still in the darkness…and in the sequels.

By Emily Cahill

August Audiobook Giveaway-Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs

Read by Cara Sue Achterberg

Another Good Dog is a warm and entertaining memoir about what happens when you foster fifty dogs in less than two years—and how the dogs save you as much as you save them.

“As expected, the narrative revolves around tales of dogs and puppies. What’s unexpected are Achterberg’s personal reveals. The stories and photos will delight those who have a soft spot for dogs and the dog rescue mission.” – Publishers Weekly

How to Win This MP3-CD Audiobook

  1. Send an email to contests@tantor.com
  2. Put the word “Dog” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by August 31, 2018. Open to US only.

________________________

Congratulations to Stanley A. Galloway, Tantor winner of last month’s giveaway of
Copycat. Thank you to all that entered!

Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez  

Narrated by Jonathan Davis

Languages are a series of sounds that we are introduced to as children. Like so many things the language we speak colors our home life along with all the other elements that surround us, each bringing with it memories of happiness, joy, sadness, etc.

Suppose one day someone came into that home and suggested that the sounds be changed, the language is changed, for the sake of the children in his household. In the Hunger of Memory, Richard Rodriguez discusses the change in language that took place in home, where it went from the happy, “private” language of Spanish to the more public language of English for the sake of the education of himself, his brother and his sisters.

The subtle and simple change that was made willingly by his parents for the sake of the education of their children, changed the family dynamic. This book discusses that change from Richard’s point of view. Richard had to find his way in two worlds, the private world of his Spanish family and the public world in which he spoke English. During his journey, he found himself forever trying to close the perceived distance he feels from his family and never quite getting there.

Rodriguez tries to figure out a way to reconnect with his slowly distancing family, wondering, if it is even possible. Through Richard’s struggle and self-reflection, we see that he tried to make sense of all the changes that took place around him. This story shows the timeless struggle of every immigrant that has come to America. It also touches upon the changing world of the 1960’s and 70’s, during which the Hispanic population of the United States finds their voice.

The narration is brought to life through the smooth, and cultured voice of Jonathan Davis. Davis breathes life into the heart and soul to the story, is culture bringing the words off the pages and transporting us into Richard Rodriguez’s life.  Davis was perfectly cast in his narration of this book.  It is a please and a joy to listen to the subtle and heartfelt nuances throughout the book. You will laugh, cry and smile due to Davis narration, finding elements of your own family and friends throughout the tale.

By Maria Ferrucci

 

Listen today: http://bit.ly/2ApL1Ll

A Q&A with Steve Matchett

Many of you know Steve Matchett the Grand Prix mechanic, T.V. Broadcaster and writer. With the release of his new audiobook, The Mechanic’s Tale, we wanted to take a closer look at Matchett the narrator.

Tantor: Can you tell us the challenges of transitioning from being an F1 mechanic to being a writer, and later, a broadcaster?

Matchett: In both broadcasting and nonfiction writing, the biggest challenge is finding a way to explain a complex issue in a way that will appeal to a wide audience. Not all motor racing enthusiasts are engineers – but all are interested in learning more of the technology, learning more of race strategy et al. Orwell’s lesson is invaluable with this: share your knowledge with your audience, never preach to your audience.

Tantor: Did you always know that you wanted to put your books on audio? What was it like listening to it for the first time?

Matchett: The publishing landscape is changing by the day. Audiobooks are the future of publishing. No question about that. Personally, I’m keen to narrate my own works because my readership is already familiar with my voice from my twenty years of television broadcasting. It seems only natural for that same audience to hear my books narrated in that same voice.

Tantor: Tell us about narrating your own books. Has it been the experience you thought it would be?

Matchett: A very pleasant experience. The main difference twixt television announcing and book narration is one of pacing – audiobook narration allows me to tell the story without any time constraints. Typically, a television feature lasts no more than four minutes. The Mechanic’s Tale audiobook runs for thirteen hours. The pacing of the delivery, the cadence, the rhythms of audiobook narration are entirely different.

Tantor: How did you prep for a day in the booth?

Matchett: I removed my shoes.

Tantor: What would you say is the best part of narrating your own book?

Matchett: No one knows an author’s intent like the author. The memories of the episodes are all firsthand; the emotions revealed in the voice are, therefore, all perfectly genuine. An audience senses this; will always sense this.

Tantor: What do you love about audiobooks?

Matchett: A good audiobook narration envelopes the listener, the whole story, every nuance takes on an intimacy. The voice of the narrator, the inflection and cadence of the voice carries the story along – there is no need to reread a line of printed text to understand the author’s intent – the narration does that automatically, and so the story effortlessly carries itself along from chapter to chapter.

Tantor: What can we expect to see or hear from you in the future?

Matchett: I’ve just published my latest work, These Desired Things, a collection of short stories. The book has been very well received, and this title will be my next audiobook project.

Tantor: When you are not writing or recording your own books, what are your go-to genres and favorite authors?

Matchett: I’m a fan or Orwell, and a Hemingway enthusiast.

Tantor: What book could you read over and over and why?

Matchett:  Nineteen Eight-Four – Orwell. This book introduced me to literature, enthralled by it from the first time I read it in high school. Forty years later I still find time to read it once, twice a year. Entirely gripping. Especially the sections on Newspeak, where Orwell describes a dystopian world where information is constantly being stripped from the English language, making the populace less able to express themselves. Lamentably, I see and hear examples of just this every single day. Over and over, the tragic themes of this unendingly pessimistic novel have proved truly prophetic.

 

Listen to the audiobook today: http://bit.ly/2zpMq3R 

July Audiobook Giveaway-Copycat

Read by Stephanie Bentley

Everyone is dying to read the latest book in the popular Gap Lake mystery series, and Addison is no exception. As the novel’s biggest fan, she’s thrilled when the infamously reclusive author, R.J. Rosen, contacts her, giving her inside information others would kill for.

“Addie and Maya feel authentic; their charming interpersonal dynamic and the escalating pace of the plot result in a quick read. ” – Kirkus

 

How to Win This MP3-CD Audiobook

  1. Send an email to contests@tantor.com
  2. Put the word “Jayne” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by July 31, 2018. Open to US only.

________________________

Congratulations to Janie McGaugh, Tantor winner of last month’s giveaway of
She Caused a Riot. Thank you to all that entered!

Teacher Misery: Helicopter Parents, Special Snowflakes, and Other Bullshit

By Elizabeth Sylvia

Teacher Misery: Helicopter Parents, Special Snowflakes, and Other Bullshit

Written by Jane Morris

It’s that time of year again. Trees are green with leaves, flowers are springing from the ground, and winter coats and boots have been banished to the back of the closet. In schools across the country, teachers and students alike are counting down the days (hours? seconds?) until the end of the school year. After a long ten months, summer vacation is almost here! What better way to celebrate than by kicking back and listening to Teacher Misery: Helicopter Parents, Special Snowflakes, and Other Bullshit by Jane Morris?

This book is a frank, funny, and at times frightening account of the day-to-day life of a teacher working at a school located just outside a major American city. Be forewarned: this book will raise your blood pressure and make you fear for our future! But don’t let that scare you away, this is a highly entertaining book, and impossible to put down. Everything the author writes about seems so ridiculous, I had to keep listening to find out what else the students, parents, and administrators at this school could possibly do to top what she’s already described. And top it they will – every story is crazier than the last!

The occurrences she records range from the hilarious (classroom exchanges about highly inappropriate student questions), to the infuriating (helicopter parents haggling endlessly over grades), to the downright horrifying (cyberbullying and threats). In one memorable instance, Morris writes about a student who sells drugs in her class, and who tries to convince Morris that this would be a good way to supplement her teacher’s salary. On top of this, the student admits to plagiarizing a research paper. The student received no consequences for either infraction!

Narrator Amy McFadden provides wonderful wit, sarcasm, and sincerity in her delivery, bringing life to the unbelievable experiences of the author. This book was written by a teacher, but you don’t need to work in a school to appreciate (and commiserate with) the crazy, heartbreaking, and infuriating happenings that come with education in the 21st century. Download your copy today!