Narrator – Alyssa Bresnahan

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Grave Surprise

Written by Charlaine Harris

Read by Alyssa Bresnahan

This is not my first Charlaine Harris novel, and as I have come to expect, the writing is superb.

This is the story of Harper Connelly.  At age 15 she was struck by lightning while getting ready for a date.

It forever changed her life.  

Along with scars, headaches, muscle weakness, phobias, and other health issues making it almost impossible to get health insurance coverage, she found she could locate dead people and see how they died.

Similar to how a dog follows a person’s trail by scent, Harper feels a vibration that gets stronger the closer she is to a body.  Once she is close enough, she can see the last moments of their life, and experience some of their last thoughts and emotions.

Now in her 20’s, she and her step-brother Tolliver make a living traveling the country and using her gift to help others find peace and some resolution. 

I have to say that this book was a good reminder to me that I have MY moments when I make assumptions without even attempting to educate myself first.

And I found many interesting issues in this story to ponder.  

For instance, how often lightning survivors share similar, life altering side effects.  I never knew that!

How some people will never believe in what they cannot prove, no matter how convincing the evidence to the contrary.  Now that…I did know.

How perceptions can be misleading, and expectations wrong.  Quite often true.

How the decisions we make, don’t always get the results we anticipate.  In other words, ‘you don’t always get your way’.

And how there are people who will do just about anything, to get what they want, no matter the consequences or the people who are hurt in the process.  Can we say ‘selfish’ here?

At the end of the story I wasn’t surprised at who committed the murders, but I was surprised at the ‘why’.

And ultimately, whenever reading or listening to a mystery, it is of course nice to be surprised.  So I have to say that I was pleased on SO many levels with this story.  

And that doesn’t even count the wonderful narration by Alyssa Bresnahan.  This is my first book with this narrator, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Her portrayal is right on point of Harper’s patient resignation at the scepticism that she has to contend with each time she is successful.

The knowledge that her gift will always make her and Tolliver suspects in any crime related to the bodies they find.

How they constantly have to prove the validity of Harper’s gift, too often to people missing the capacity to accept what’s right before their eyes.

Sometimes I believe my biggest shortcoming is that I think entirely too much.  Sometimes I also believe that a lot of people don’t take the time these days to stop and think enough.

We live in a rushing world.  

Rushing to take care of our needs.

Rushing to be the first…to get our share…to not be left out.

Rushing to blame and criticise others when we don’t know the whole story.

 We all do at some point, it’s part of being human.  Not necessarily the BEST part of being human.  Yet we as humans also have the capacity to rise above our base instincts. 

Well, I loved the writing, I loved the narration, I loved the characters and the story line, and I loved being reminded to try to be a better person by not making rushed decisions.  

Whether you are looking for just a good mystery, or if you would like to read something that might make you think a little, this book could be right for you.

Happy Listening!!

Joel Brooks – Narrator

Born December 17, 1949, Joel has been acting since the 70’s on stage, tv, and movies.  

In movies he was in Indecent Proposal, Smithereens, Protocol, Stir Crazy and many more.  

In TV he had roles (some recurring) on shows such as M*A*S*H, Taxi, Three’s Company, Deep Space Nine, Without a Trace, Six Feet Under, and even celebrity spots on gameshows.

Whittingtonby Alan Armstrong.  Narrated by Joel Brooks

Whittington is a children’s story about a cat and his barnyard friends, including a duck known as ‘The Lady’.   There are stories told by different animals, fights and partnerships built.

Bernie, the property owner, takes care of his 2 grandkids Abby and Ben, and the grandkids help take care of the animals.

When Ben has trouble learning to read, the animals step in to help.

This is a story about family, getting along, friends, and learning from the stories of others.

As a Narrator, this is the only book that I have found read by Joel Brooks.

Joel really does a great job as the narrator.  He definitely has a talent for children’s narration, and I believe he would be great in other genre’s as well.  And I’m trying to figure out why this is the only one.

I’m kind of excited though as well.  This is more like what I wanted to share with others.

Most audio fans know the good and great narrators, because the names get around.  Yet there are new voices coming in all the time, and others who only have one or a very few projects available and may not be known for their skill.

I love finding these and sharing them with you.  If you know of any other books narrated by Joel Brooks, let me know.  If you have any other narrators that you feel are not well represented or known, let me know.  I would love to give them a try.

And I will continue trying to bring you something new as well.  Keep reading, keep listening, keep learning and growing.  And from my family to yours…Happy Listening!

 

 

Jenny Sterlin – Narrator

With the recent passing of the renowned author Ursula K Le Guin, I thought it would be appropriate to try one of her books.  I chose, Tehanu from the Earthsea series, which is how I found Jenny Sterlin.

Jenny is a mother, and grandmother.  She has also been an actress since early in her childhood, and she has continued acting throughout her life.

As an actress she has played children to elderly, women and men, so she has a lot of characters to draw on for her narration.  And it shows.  Her characters are distinct and consistent, as well as realistic.  

Jenny says with audiobooks, she loves envisioning the book characters. Whether they are tall or short, fast or slow, or if they have an accent as an example.  She says it helps to keep the characters pertinent and consistent throughout the story.

She has over 100 audiobooks to her credit, as well as multiple audio awards including, the AudioFile Best of 2017 Children & Family Listening, AudioFile Best of 2011 (and 2009) Mystery & Suspense awards.  

It is truly a pleasure to listen to a narrator with Jenny Sterlin’s talent.  I have tried multiple reads lately that just do not match the skill that I found with this book.  You can always tell when a narrator loves what they do, because they make it so easy for us to come along for the ride.

Some other books narrated by Jenny include;

The Other Queen, by Phillippa Gregory

A Monstrous Regiment of Women, by Laurie R King

The Touch, by Colleen McCullough

Lost, by Gregory Maguire

For more on Jenny Sterlin, please visit her website – www.jennysterlin.com

So, give Jenny a try, and I’m sure you will enjoy the experience.  

From our family to yours, Happy Listening!

Dick Hill – Narrator

Worth Dying For – A Jack Reacher Novel

By Lee Child

Narrated by Dick Hill

Dick Hill comes from a true audio book family.  He AND his wife, Susie Breck, are both award winning Narrators.

He is reported to have narrated over 1000 audio books and has received several Audie Awards, and a Golden Voices award.

Along with the Jack Reacher novels, Dick is also well known for his narration on the Harry Bosch novels by Michael Connelly.

Dick’s narration has been described as ‘robust, smooth, but with just enough grit to make it interesting’ by AudioFile Magazine.  This applies exceptionally well to the Jack Reacher character from this story, Worth Dying For.  

He is noted as being extremely talented with both men’s and women’s voices as well.  This book is a great example of that talent.  

Dick says that he enjoys the challenge of performing multiple roles and building credible, yet distinct characters.  He calls audio narration an ‘opportunity’ to play various parts in one project.

He finds joy in his work, and works in all categories including Suspense, History, Biography, Young Adult, Romance, and many more.  Regardless of which category you prefer, you can likely find a book narrated by Dick Hill that you will enjoy.

For a small sample of other books narrated by Dick Hill, see below.

The Power of Negative Thinking – An Unconventional Approach to Achieving Positive Results, by Bob Knight

The Death of Santini, by Pat Conroy

Johnny Carson, by Henry Bushkin

Never Go Back, and A Wanted Man, (and many,many more) by Lee Child

The Hatfields and the McCoys, by Otis K Rice

With both experience and passion in his work, Dick Hill is a talent worth checking out.  So give his work a try.

Let us know what you think when you do, or let us know your favorite Dick Hill project.

And as always, from our family to yours, Happy Listening.

Jen Taylor – Narrator

 

Jennifer Lee (Jen) Taylor graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Theater.  She has worked a lot in radio, including being a Seattle radio disc jockey.  

She has voiced tv commercials, narrated numerous books, and voiced video game characters.  

My first Jen Taylor experience (known experience anyway), was in Carol Goodman’s audiobook Arcadia Falls.

This is the story of Meg Rosenthal, who must start over again after her husband’s unexpected death.  She has to sell off everything to pay off their debts.  

So when she lands a teaching position that includes room and board for herself as well as a spot in the school for her daughter Sally, Meg hopes that this will give them a chance at recovery.

Jen’s narration is terrific, and the story is compelling. A great choice for the narration on this one.  

Once I started my research on Jen, I was a bit surprised though.  I didn’t know that she is perhaps best known for being the voice of Cortana in Halo, as well as Cortana the virtual assistant in Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 and 10.

Check out this short interview:)

That is amazing.  Halo has been a family favorite for many years now, so I was pleased to be able to put a face to the voice.  

Also, I previously posted a review for Susan Bennett, who is perhaps best known as being the voice of Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri.

It is a small world after all:)

Once again, a great narrator shows how multi-talented she is.  So here is a list of some other audiobooks narrated by Jen Taylor.

Massachusetts, California, Timbuktu by Stephanie Rosenfeld

Twelve by Lauren Myracie

Winter Wonderland by Elizabeth Mansfield

Three Wishes by Barbara Delinsky

The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet by Colleen McCullough

Becoming Jane Eyre by Sheila Kohler

Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau

Mismatch by Tami Hoag

Perfected by Girls by Alfred C Martino

And many, many more.

Give Jen Taylor a try.  I believe, regardless of the subject matter, that you will be pleased with her performance.  

Thank you for visiting our site, and we hope you come back often.  

Please leave a comment if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, and as always….from our family to yours, Happy Listening!

Terese Plummer – Narrator

Another outstanding narrator!  What can I say?  I love being able to bring talented people like Terese Plummer to you.

My first experience with audio book narrator Terese Plummer, was with Mordacious by Sarah Lyons Fleming.

If you haven’t experienced Sarah Lyons Fleming, or her ‘Until The End of the World (UTEOTW)‘ series yet, and if you like zombies…. you really need to give these books a try.

I am a ‘Walking Dead’ fan because of the characters and the whole ‘what if the world ended?’ search for answers.  And if you are too, then these books will be perfect for you.

Now, I read some of the book reviews for Mordacious, and one of the comments was that this book, the first in ‘The City Series’ books from Sarah took a little longer to get hooked into than the original UTEOTW series.

I haven’t read the actual book, so that may be true when reading the actual pages, but it wasn’t true for me when listening to the audio book version.

Surprisingly enough, it was Mordacious that got me into the whole UTEOTW series (as well as the novella So Long, Lollipops).

So the whole story is that I listened to So Long, Lollipops first and really liked it.  But it being a novella I didn’t realize that it was a sub part as it were, of an actual series.  I didn’t have much time for research at that time, so I just moved on.

Then, I got Mordacious! And after Mordacious, I just HAD to find out if there was more.  And that’s how I found the UTEOTW series, and went through all 3 books in about 1 week.  Keep in mind that I have a full time job and am a single parent household, so that’s pretty devoted listening!

Back to the subject of this post though, one of the reasons that I think this story was so compelling to me, was of course the outstanding narration.  Mordacious is co-narrated by Terese Plummer and Luke Daniels.  I think that this was a really great pairing of talented narrators.

Terese has over 300 audio books to her credit, and Luke has over 250.  Both have been nominated and/or won numerous awards including Earphones, and Audie awards.  They are young, extremely talented, and prolific narrators.

As many amazing narrators do, Terese has an acting background including guest spots on Law and Order SVU, and The Good Wife.  She has worked in regional theatre.  She is a commercial voice artist, and a comic voice artist in Ironman Extremis, Pokemon, and Yu-Gi-Oh.

She received Audiofile’s Best Voices of the Year 2015, for her work on Robyn Carr’s, A New Hope.

I mean, seriously, this is what Terese does for a living… and it shows.

Some other award nominated/winning projects are; Robyn Carr’s The Wanderer, Jodi Picoult’s Sing You Home, Jennifer Haigh’s Faith, Wally Lamb’s We Are Water, Carson McCuller’s The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, Peter Cline’s The Junkie Quatrain.

If you haven’t heard Terese Plummer’s narration, and you are looking for someone great, give her a chance to impress you.  You can find more info from her website, www.tereseplummer.com.

And as always, from my family to yours, Happy Listening!

 

 

Julia Whelan – Narrator

 

Julia Whelan, born 1984 in Oregon, has been acting since she was 5 years old.  She is best known as teenager Grace Manning in the family tv drama ‘Once and Again’.

However my introduction to Julia’s work was through her audio narration of the Sarah Lyons Fleming ‘Until the End of the World’ series.

If you like the show Walking Dead, then you will likely love this Zombie Apocalypse series too!

I have (and have listened to) all four books, including the novella ‘So Long Lollipops‘, that were narrated by Julia Whelan.

The series order goes; Until the End of the World, And After(book 2), All the Stars in the Sky(book 3).  The novella So Long, Lollipops should be read between books 1 and 2, for the best chronological order, but it’s not required.

Also from Sarah Lyons Fleming (but not narrated by Julia), is the side story Mordacious.  Much like the novella, the story of Mordacious occurs in the same timeline as the Until the End of the World series, but it follows the struggles of a different group of people, including some  characters originally introduced in book one.

Once again the best combination of outstanding writing, and amazing narration.  This is truly a great example of how AWESOME audio books can be.

Julia’s narration on the whole series is just stellar.  In my 1-4 narrator rating scale, she definitely comes in as a 4!  Her timing is so eloquent, the emotion so real.  For me, this set is an all-around KEEPER.

You know some books you listen to once, and they may be great, but once is enough.  This set though, I just don’t want to put away.  I keep playing them, and will no doubt re-visit them like some of my other favorites, every year.

You just can’t help but fall in love with these characters.  Cassie, Nelly, Penny, Anna, Peter, Bits, Adrian, John, Dan……the list just goes on and on.

So if this sounds interesting to you, give this series a try.  If not, there are many other types of books in which you can enjoy Julia Whelan’s narration.  Including the mystery novel by Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl, that was turned into a movie in 2014.

To follow Julia on twitter click here.

Let us know what you think of Julia’s work, and as always, Happy Listening!

 

Luke Daniels – Narrator

My first foray into the work of Luke Daniels, was actually the novella So Long, Lollipops, by Sarah Lyons Fleming.  However, my favorite of Sarah’s book, including narration is Mordacious.  I just love this audio book!

Luke (and Terese Plummer), do such a great job of bringing life, emotions, and realism to this story.  They work extremely well together also.

The production and editing on this audio book, makes the listening experience effortless.  This is a great example of how great an audio book can be when all the components are there and aligned for perfection.

The writing is tremendous, the performances outstanding, and all the pieces put together to create the optimal listening pleasure.

It sounds funny to say that last, when I think about the story line itself, which is pretty much the ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ theme.  But when it’s ‘The End of the World’,  a somewhat OFF perception, and a sense of humor will be invaluable.  So forgive me if I’m just trying to get a head start:)

So back to Luke Daniels.  Luke comes from a family of actors.  He grew up with his both his mother and father performing and teaching in the Theatre.

Currently he has over 450 audio books to his name.  He has received numerous awards including 13 Audio File Earphones Awards, and Audible’s 2012 Narrator of the Year Award.

He has a deep love and passion for story telling, which can easily been seen by checking out his YouTube videos or viewing his Facebook or Twitter posts.

He is just such a fun loving sort of personality, that you can’t help but appreciate the fact that he has obviously found his passion.

His wide range of works ensures that there will be something for any type of audiobook listener.  So check out his available works, and give Luke a try.

Luke can be found through his main website, www.luke-daniels.com , on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Luckylukeekul/ , and on Twitter @luckylukeekul.

Happy listening!

 

Emily Durante – Narrator

Emily has been acting since her first performance at age 7.  She has been working in audio books for over 15 years with nearly 200 books to her credit, including fiction and non-fiction works.

She enjoys challenging herself with new characters, dialects, and languages which shows in her beautiful performances.

She is talented versatile and has many different types of books to choose from.  On my scale of 1-4, I would say that Emily is a 4.

One of my first experiences of Emily’s work came from her readings of one of my favorite authors, Anne McCaffrey.

If you love dragon’s, especially dragons of the intelligent, not violent species, then you can’t do much better than Anne McCaffrey’s Pern Series dragons.

These 2 books come later in the series and are written by Anne McCaffrey and her son Todd McCaffrey.  Published in 2011 and 2012, these are a continuation of the original series that I began reading in the 1980’s.

Books – Dragon’s Time, and Sky Dragons – by Anne McCaffrey.

The Pern series is a great example of books that audio narration raises to a whole new experience level.  Especially when you have an experienced fiction narrator such as Emily Durante.

Whether you enjoy fantasy/sci-fi fiction or not, Emily is one narrator that you should give a try.

Some other books narrated by Emily that might interest are;

The Midnight Twins trilogy by Jacquelyn Mitchard

Vision in White by Nora Roberts

Solomon’s Oak by Jo-Ann Mapson

Chicken Soup for the Soul; Like Mother, Like Daughter by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog

Last Exit in New Jersey by C.E. Grundler

Just to name a few.  With over 200 to choose from, that’s a trifling few, but doubtless there is something for everyone.

So give Emily a try and let us know what you think.  We are always interested in your comments and concerns.

Thank you for reading and as always, Happy Listening!

 

 

Wendy Dillon – Narrator Review

 

 

Wendy Dillon has worked as an actress in New York theatre.  She is a voice and acting teacher.  She has done narration work in commercials, and animation as well as audio books.

My first Wendy Dillon narrated experience was Jeanne DuPrau’s book, The City of Ember.  

I found this story in the young adult fiction.  I’ve found several excellent authors and narrators in this category.  One thing I really like about the young adult books is that they actually have stories.  Real stories!

I love this story. So much that it probably deserves its own review!  For now though, we will discuss Wendy’s narration.

 

As a teacher of audio technique, you can imagine that her skills are expansive.  And it shows in her work.

The City of Ember has a full cast of characters, and Wendy voices them all superbly.  In my 1-4 Narrator Rating Scale, she definitely qualifies for #4 status.  An extremely talented multi-character, narrator.

Some other Wendy Dillon narration books to try;

The People of Sparks – (book 2 of the City of Ember) by Jeanne DuPrau

A Dog’s Life – by Ann M Martin

It Had to be You: Grace and Favor Mysteries #5 – by Jill Churchill

Wendy Dillon is truly a top of her field Narrator, whose clarity and rhythm, and ability to successfully voice multiple characters is outstanding.

If you have run out of top talent narrators, or are just looking for someone new to try, put Wendy Dillon on your list.

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments, and as always… Happy Listening!

For the next book in the City of Ember series, try The People of Sparks.  Once again, another great story!