Tag Archives: Elizabeth Sylvia

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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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?

 

 

 

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!