Day Shift – Book Review

Day Shift – By Charlaine Harris

Narrated by Susan Bennett

I found the above Youtube video book review to be quite good.  This is of course book 2 in the Midnight TX series.  For our purposes, we will be reviewing the Narrator primarily, not the book itself.

This is my third Susan Bennett narration.  The first was a non-fiction work, then book 1 in the Midnight TX series as noted on my previous post.

I really enjoyed Susan’s narration.  Her cadence and rhythm are exceptional as always.  It’s great getting to know these characters in more depth in book 2, and I think that Susan does a wonderful job of bringing out the nuances that help to understand the true conflicts experienced by each person.

You feel Manfred’s frustration when he experiences the prejudices that surround his profession as a psychic.  And Olivia’s battle to contain the rage that threatens to overcome her time and again, especially while Lemuel is away and not around to drain the excess emotions and ease the tension.  I do hope that we get to explore Lemuel’s history more in book 3, but that gives us something to look forward to.

I keep reading in my research about the Sookie Stackhouse series, and how some of these characters have showed in that series, but I can’t really say anything about that.  I haven’t read/listened to that series or watched the T.V. series that is based on it.  Typically I am not much on the ‘vampire’ scene, so that is not a big surprise.

One of the things that I love about this book series however, is that although we have a vampire, witch, psychic, shape changers and more, they are not the typical representations most people have become accustomed to.  I find them more realistic I would say here.  If you can call any of these characters realistic that is.  Subtle but believable might be a better take on them in this series.

If you are not prejudice, and like good mysteries, then you should find this series (Midnight TX) a good fit, and Susan Bennett’s narration compelling and a comfortable read.  Some books are hard to listen to, (point in fact one that I am trying to make it through right now, ugh!) but you won’t have that problem here.  A great listening experience, so give it a try.

And as always, Happy Listening!

 

Bahni Turpin – Narrator

 

Born on June 4, 1962 in Pontiac, Michigan, she now lives in Los Angeles, California

Award winning Audio Book Narrator, TV and Movie Actor, and Yoga practitioner and teacher

The voice of Minny in the narrated version of  the tremendously popular ‘The Help’

Member of The Cornerstone Theater Company in Los Angeles

Bahni is a very talented individual.  She’s had roles in TV shows such as Cold Case, ER, Cossing Jordan, Judging Amy, Six Feet Under, and Without a Trace. She played Ensign Swinn in 2 episodes of Star Trek: Voyager.

She is a member of the Cornerstone Theatre Company in Los Angeles California, and performs regularly there when not on another project.  She has had numerous roles in movies such as Crossroads, Brokedown Palace, Rain Without Thunder, Girls in Prison, and Malcolm X to name a few.

While not born or raised in the South, she has a very nice take on Southern accents.  Her tastes run toward listening mostly to Women’s Literature.  While a late arrival on the Audio Book scene, she has quickly become an avid fan.  I’m sure that many of you can relate, as do I.

Solo Narration – Female 2015 Audie Award winner for the Yellow Crocus.

I found Bahni through a random audio book selection.  The story, ‘The Quaker Cafe’ by Brenda Bevan Remmes, I would classify as a Drama.  It’s about an original Quaker town gradually being overrun by modern times.  It’s also the story about an old secret being revealed, and how secrets affect all those around us.

It’s a compelling story, and Bahni gives a noteworthy performance.  If you haven’t heard a Bahni Turpin narration before, give her a try.  She has a wide variety to choose from.  See below for a sample list of other works by Bahin Turpin.

And as always, Happy Listening!

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Midnight Crossroad – Audio Book

Hello Listeners!  Ok, I just finished this book, Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris.  As usual I picked a book based on a Narrator, in this case Susan Bennett.  As I have said before, my favorite books to listen to are Fantasy Fiction, but I also try to give a good portion of my time to non-fiction works.  Especially anything in the Self-Help or Personal Growth areas.  And that was how I found Susan.

She narrated a book called, Excuse Me, But I Was Next…, by Peggy Post.  It’s all about practical tips on how to handle different situations with tact and good manners.  I am like most people these days, and I can skimp on my manners without really realizing it, and I get impatient at times.  It’s because I am aware of this, that I picked up this particular book.  And I was not disappointed.  It is a very informative and well written book with tons of valuable tips.

But one of the surprises for me from this audio book, was that I really liked the narrator as well as the book.  Reading non-fiction work in a compelling way can often times be more challenging than reading fiction, because it can be hard to break out of the monotony.  When I researched what other work was available by Susan, I found that she does a LOT of fiction work as well.  Yippee for me!

While there was a lot to choose from, this book (series) stood out to me.  And once again, I was not disappointed.  I want to move to Midnight Texas now.  I think I would fit in well, loaner and recluse that I tend to be.  Although I am not a vampire, or a witch, or a psychic, or have some criminal past that I am running away from, I still think they could find a place for me.  Besides, they already have those positions filled in this small western town with only one stop light.  There’s a gas station, nail salon, restaurant, and a pawn shop.  Seriously…what more do you need?

Of course it would help if people weren’t dying all over the place.  But, then again, I guess you can’t have everything now can you?  I’ve just gotten a taste of these outcasts, and the ties that bind them closer than most families.  But lucky for me, I have Book 2 – Day Shift, to look forward to now!

Happy listening!

Special Mention – Terry Pratchett

“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.” Sir Terry Pratchett

2015 a great loss to the Literary world.

Special Mention to the late Terry Pratchett, the author of the Disc World Series, and many other wonderful works.  One of the most amazing Fantasy worlds ever imagined.

The first audio book I heard of Terry Pratchett’s work was ‘Thud’.  Not the first one in the Disc World Series of course.  I rarely ever seem to go in order.  But I became so intrigued with his characters, and the subtle sarcasm that permeates every conversation.  I’ve never heard a writing style that was so subtle, and so obvious at the same time.  Maybe it’s because I tend to notice details in writing that I find the humor so prevalent and simply perfect, but I’ve never heard another like it.  Of course the fact that he had the most amazing narrators to bring his written words to life, only made the experience that much more astounding to me.  I believe that was the first book that I ever listened to where one narrator portrayed so many completely different characters in such a realistic and consistent way.  It truly opened my eyes to what I had been missing for so many years.

After I listened to the audio book, I found the physical book for sale at the library, and I read it.  What I found was now that I had heard the characters created in auditory form, when I read the physical book I could ‘hear’ the conversations in my imagination, just as they had been in the original audio book.  What a happy revelation!  It’s so much more than I could have imagined on my own.

For those out there who have never read or listened to a Terry Pratchett book, if you like Fantasy Fiction, you have to give these a try.  If you noticed from my previous posts, 2 of my very favorite Narrators noted here, Stephen Briggs and Nigel Planer, have many Terry Pratchett books to their credit.  And they are a credit to the books.  This is a perfect example of combining a great writer with a great narrator to create truly exceptional works.

I was terribly saddened to hear of Terry’s passing in 2015.  He was a one-of-a-kind special talent.  However, he left a fantastic library of his creations for us and future generations to enjoy.  When you think about it, that’s one heck of a legacy!

 

 

 

Jim Dale – Narrator

Born Aug 15, 1935 Rothwell, England

Narrator, actor, comedian

Listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most character voices in an audiobook (more than 200)

Winner of 9 Audie Awards

There’s something about Jim Dale.  Well actually there is a lot we could say about Jim Dale, but in relation to this website NarrationZone.com, Jim Dale is AWESOME!.

I have to say though, not for the reason that many people would probably say (because of his work on the Harry Potter books), but simply because of his talent, preparation, and drive to always give great performances.

Yes, the Harry Potter series was the medium that got his work into the Guinness Book of World Records, but the talent is all Jim Dale.

Specializing in children’s and young adult narration, according to Jim, because he never grew up himself.  Known for his extensive preparation however, it’s hard to believe that.  Most kids aren’t known for being prepared in advance, at least not mine anyway!

I, of course, found Jim through the Harry Potter series.

I had read the books (the old fashioned way) originally.  Then I watched the movies, and last came the audio books. I have no sense of timing when it comes to doing things in a ‘traditional’ order.

Whether you are interested in the Harry Potter series or similar works or not, you absolutely must try a Jim Dale narration piece to experience this tremendous talent.

Jim is a 4 out of 4 in my Narrator rating scale, and that puts him in my current top 10!

Check out the sample listings below.

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Heather O’Neill – Narrator

Heather O’Neill is an author and narrator who resides in Canada.

I’ve listened to 3 of her narrated works so far, and loved each one.  There is Blessed are the Cheesemakers by Sarah-Kate Lynch.  See the above audio excerpt. I just recently re-listened to this one.

The characters are full-bodied, even the no-so-nice characters, and  Heather does great Irish and Australian accents.  I just love listening to her voice.

I probably never would have picked up this book, although it’s become one of my favorite stories, except that I knew Heather was the Narrator.

The first story I heard from Heather was The Cry of the Icemark, by Stuart Hill.  More my style as fantasy fiction, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Then there was The Likeness, by Tana French.  A murder-mystery, once again only picked based on Narration.  This is not my favorite genre, even though it’s still better than…should I say it…Romance.

Ugh! Don’t get me wrong, romance can be great, I just find that they tend to really over-do everything in romance novels.  TMD – Too Many Details, for my preference.

But back to Heather’s narration, both of these stories were great.  I’ve yet to try one of Heather’s works that I didn’t truly enjoy.  While she does not have as many Narrated works as others listed here on NarrationZone, she has also authored some award winning books of her own.

The most well known of her written works is Lullabies for Little Criminals.  I will warn you although this is written about a 13 girl named Baby, there are drugs, gangs, abuse, and more, so it’s not a ‘children’s book’.  There is an Audio version that is narrated in part by Heather O’Neill and Miriam McDonald.

I haven’t tried this one myself because it sounds a bit dark for my tastes, but if you have, or if you do read the book or listen to the audio version, I would greatly appreciate hearing what you think about it.  See below for more listening options.

Heather is 4 out of 4 in my Narrator rating scale, and one of my current top 10!

As always, from my home to yours, Happy Listening.

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Tavia Gilbert – Narrator

With over 300 audio books under her belt Tavia has been working full time as a voice actor since 2006.

Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cornish College of the Arts. Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Non-fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Studied audio documentary production at the Salt Institute

Member – SAG-AFTRA/AEA

It always raises my spirits when I find another great Narrator to add to my favorites.  Even more so when I find out that they probably have more work available then I could ever be able to make it through them all.  Even better, Tavia reads fiction and non-fiction so the options are quite varied.

I don’t recall how I came upon it, but The Everafter, by Amy Huntley was how I found Tavia Gilbert.  The story was intriguing, and the narration sensitive to the tone of the book.  Don’t take my word for it though.  There is plenty to choose from, so if you haven’t given Tavia a chance, I would recommend that you do.  See below for a small sampling of her work, or try The Everafter if you can’t pick one.

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Susan Bennett – Narrator

Susan Bennett, probably best know as being the voice of Iphone’s ‘Siri’, is so much more than that.

With a B.A. from Brown University, her voice-over career began in 1974 when she was recorded as the voice of First National Bank of Atlanta’s “Tillie the All-Time Teller.”

I was just recently introduced to the works of Susan Bennett, and I mean just a month ago in July 2016.  I actually listened to her narration of a Non-Fiction book, ‘Excuse Me, But I Was Next…’ and I was intrigued to see what other work she had.  In researching samples of her work I was amazed at the sheer number of projects she has completed.  I believe that as of today, Susan is the most prolific Narrator that I have found yet.  

I don’t believe that I am even close to finding the bottom of this barrel.  I hear that a lot of audio book listeners don’t believe that a female narrator can do as credible of a job as a male narrator.  But I don’t find that to be true.  You have narrators that are just readers, that would be me.  There is NO way that you would want to listen to just my voice for 8 hours.  Then you have good narrators that are clear and consistent in their reading, and understand proper punctuation and pauses. They make listening an enjoyable experience.  But then you have the ‘Great, to totally AWESOME’ Narrators that expand on the written work, to give you a full listening experience.  And I have found that men AND women can do that.   I do find that any great narrator has be dedicated to developing their craft, and in finding ways to challenge their skills.  I see that is Susan.  She takes on a variety of different projects from fiction and non-fiction venues, such as the book listed above.  I am really excited to have found this opportunity to study this (for me) recently found talent.  

I hope that others will be driven to doing the same.  There are so many books to choose from with this narrator, that it is quite reasonable to believe that there is something for everyone. See more works by Susan Bennett listed below.

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Stephen Briggs – Narrator

Stephen was the first truly awesome Narrator that I found.  Over 10 years ago, I did a lot of driving to and from work, and that’s how I got turned on to Audio Books.  The first book that I listened to with Stephen as the Narrator, was Terry Pratchett’s ‘Thud’.  Of course Terry Pratchett means awesome writing, but pair on top of that this level of inspiring narration, and you have something truly amazing.

Stephen Briggs is an experienced and extremely accomplished Narrator.  This is by no means his only talent.  He is also an actor, and accomplished playwright.  However, in respect to this site, NarrationZone.com, we will focus on his Narration skills.  As you can see from the impressive list of sample works listed below, there are many audio books to his credit.  But more than the number of books, is the complexity of the characters that are portrayed in these stories.   Once you have listened to one, I have no doubt that you will do just like I have, and you will come back for more.

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Welcome to NarrationZone!

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NarrationZone, where books come alive.

Hello, and Welcome to NarrationZone.com.

Dedicated to finding the best in audio book narration for your listening pleasure.

With over 10 years of audio book listening experience, our goal is to bring you the best audio narration experiences available.

If you find any issues, click on a link that doesn’t work for example, please let us know.  We are always interested in your comments, questions, and especially your narrator suggestions!

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Happy Listening!