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Audio Book Review: The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein

Author: Tal M. Klein

Narrator:Matthew Mercer

Length: 8 hours 42 minutes

Publisher: Audible Studios

Released: Jul. 25, 2017

Genre: Tecnothriller

It’s the year 2147. Ad

vancements in nanotechnology have enabled us to control aging. We’ve genetically engineered mosquitoes to feast on carbon fumes instead of blood, ending air pollution. And teleportation has become the ideal mode of transportation, offered exclusively by International Transport—a secretive firm headquartered in New York City. Their slogan: Departure… Arrival… Delight!

Joel Byram, our smartass protagonist, is an everyday twenty-second century guy. He spends his days training artificial intelligence engines to act more human, jamming out to 1980’s new wave—an extremely obscure genre, and trying to salvage his deteriorating marriage. Joel is pretty much an everyday guy with everyday problems—until he’s accidentally duplicated while teleporting.

Now Joel must outsmart the shadowy organization that controls teleportation, outrun the religious sect out to destroy it, and find a way to get back to the woman he loves in a world that now has two of him.

Tal M. Klein was born in Israel, grew up in New York, and currently lives in Detroit with his wife and two daughters. When she was five years old, his daughter Iris wrote a book called I’m a Bunch of Dinosaurs that went on to become one of the most successful children’s book projects on Kickstarter ―something that Tal explained to Iris by telling her, “your book made lots of kids happy.” Iris then asked Tal, “Daddy, why don’t you write a book that makes lots of grownups happy?” Tal mulled this over for a few years, and eventually wrote his first book, The Punch Escrow. It won the Inkshares Geek & Sundry Hard Science Fiction publishing contest, and is the first book published on the Geek & Sundry imprint.

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Narrator Bio

Matthew Christopher Miller, known professionally as Matthew Mercer or Matt Mercer, is an American voice actor involved in English dubs of Japanese anime as well as cartoons, films and video games. In anime shows, he voiced Levi in Attack on Titan, Kiritsugu Emiya in Fate/Zero, Kanji Tatsumi for episodes 13-26 in Persona 4: The Animation and Trafalgar Law in the Funimation dub of One Piece. In video games, he voices Leon S. Kennedy in the Resident Evil series, Jack Cooper in Titanfall 2, Chrom in Fire Emblem Awakening, McCree in Overwatch, MacCready in Fallout 4 and Yusuke Kitagawa in Persona 5. In addition to voice-over, Mercer has developed some live-action web series including a Nintendo character parody called “There Will Be Brawl” and the famous Geek & Sundry and Alpha Dungeons & Dragons gaming session show “Critical Role.” The Punch Escrow is his first audiobook.

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Q&A with Author Tal M. Klein
  • How did you select your narrator, Matthew Mercer?

I always knew I wanted Matt Mercer to narrate my book, the hard part was getting him to agree to do it. Between Critical Role and his various Nerdist responsibilities, he’s also an incredibly prolific voice actor. Recording an audiobook is a serious time commitment! There was also the challenge of getting Audible to agree to having Matt do the book because he’d never done an audiobook before. Ultimately I got lucky in that Matt read my book, liked it, agreed to do the audiobook, and Audible was easily convinced to sign off once they heard his voice acting reel. The rest is history!

  • How closely did you work with Matthew before and during the recording process? Did you give him any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?

Matt is a consumate professional. We did one session on pronounciation, but everything else was entirely in his court. I wanted him to make my book is canvas. He did an outstanding job.

  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?

The Inkshares community is incredibly supportive, so they are owed a lot of credit, but my wife deserves the lion’s share. She was my rock throughout the writing process and the book would have never gotten finished without her support and enthusiasm.

  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?

I love audiobooks, though I tend to prefer listening to nonfiction. One of the reasons I was so particular about choosing Matt Mercer to do my book is because I knew he would give each chracter a unique voice. I feel like many fiction audiobooks lose me when they are narrated in monotone.

  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?

Nothing beats Matt Mercer singing Karma Chameleon. That alone is worth the price of admission in my humble opinion.

  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?

I think the two experiences are distinctly different. As I mentioned, I rarely listen to fiction audiobooks, but when I do it’s usually after I’ve already read the book.

  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?

A bottle of expensive bubbly with my family and friends!

Oct. 4th:
Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews
Brian’s Book Blog

Oct. 5th:
Buried Under Books
Lomeraniel
Lilly’s Book World

Oct. 6th:
It’s Novel to Me
Macarons & Paperbacks
The Bookworm Lodge

Oct. 7th:
Book Stacks Amber
Here’s to Happy Endings

Oct. 8th:
Lynn’s Romance Enthusiasm
Bookwormerz

Oct. 9th:
Canadian Book Addict
Audio Spy

Oct. 10th:
The Book Addict’s Reviews
Bound 4 Escape

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Audio Book Review and Amazon GC Giveaway: A Building Passion by Sandra Kyle

Author: Sandra Kyle

Narrator: Kelley Hazen

Series: DIY, Book One

Length: 8h 14m

Publisher: Sandra Kyle

Released: June 27, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis:

Vanessa moves to Savannah to pick up the pieces of her once very certain existence after her fiancé cheats on her. An independent and self-sufficient accountant, Vanessa also has a knack for DIY. When she purchases a ramshackle property in need of repair, she crosses paths with Daniel, a sexy and skillful carpenter. Daniel is a ladies’ man who plays the field and has his own romantic issues to conquer. As Vanessa embarks on a journey to embrace her new community and rehab her new home, she enlists Daniel’s help. Tackling the house is the easy part, but can two do-it-yourselfers find a way to work together to fix their love lives as well?

 

About the Author:

Born to Italian parents, Sandra is a “first generation” American. Her parents came to America in search of a better life. Along with their dreams they brought with them wonderful tales that Sandra recalls told time and time again around the kitchen table.

Though not sure where her love of writing originated, she can admit to having penned stories (i.e., fanfic) about New Kids on the Block back in the late 80s – scribbling pages and pages in notebooks shared before school by lockers and passed in between classes. It was fiction that included classmates and heartbreaking romance only a teenage girl filled with unbearable angst could summon.

An avid movie lover and introvert, she reads anything from Austen to King. She is an east coast gal and currently resides (when not immersed in the fictional worlds that occupy her headspace) with her husband and bipolar feline.

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About the Narrator:

Kelley Hazen is an actress, blogger and audiobook narrator living in Los Angeles with her husband and their two awesome dogs. The Los Angeles Times describes Kelley’s work – “…listen to Kelley Hazen, so poised and well spoken, so in command of this room full of strangers you wonder why she isn’t off winning Oscars….” Kelley received recognition from Audible.com as ‘Best New Audiobook Talent’. She twice received the Audiofile Magazine ‘Earphones Award’ for her narration. She holds an MFA from The Asolo Conservatory for Professional Actor Training. Kelley isa lecturer in astronomy for the world-renowned Griffith Observatory. She was recently invited to participate in “A Celebration of Mark Twain” as part of the annual HEAR NOW Festival in her hometown of Kansas City, MO. Kelley owns and operates Storyteller Productions, an intimate, boutique, recording studio carved into a San Gabriel Mountain hillside.

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This or That Questionnaire with Sandra Kyle

  1. Waffle fries or curly fries? Waffle
  2. GIF with a hard g or soft g? Soft (I’m also an ETHERNET with short e gal *shrugs*)
  3. Fantasy or science-fiction? Fantasy (Have you seen “The Dark Crystal” or “Legend”?)
  4. Superman or Batman? Superman – Reeves and his little curly que made quite an impression on me when I was younger.
  5. Text message or call? Text for information dissemination. Call for true connection.
  6. Pancakes or waffles? Waffles – perfect balance of crispy exterior and fluffy interior.
  7. Doctor Who or the Walking Dead? Neither at the moment.
  8. TV Shows or movies? Hm, tough one. Television production has really raised the bar in terms of entertainment value over the past decade. I guess just for binge-watching potential I’d have to go with TV Shows.
  9. Facebook or Twitter? I find Facebook easier to use.
  10. Alice in Wonderland or Robinson Crusoe? Crusoe
  11. Being too warm or too cold? I’d rather be too cold.
  12. Netflix or Hulu? Netflix
  13. Work Hard or Play Hard? Work Hard
  14. Passenger or Driver? I selfishly enjoy being the passenger and taking in the view
  15. Amusement Park or Day at the Beach? Either one if it can be at night and at my leisure – any place with too many people is too much stimulation and stress.
  16. Honesty or Other’s Feelings? It can be tough to hold to, but I value honesty.
  17. Movie at Home or Movie at the Theater? Movie at home – air popped popcorn and pausing for bathroom breaks.

My Review:
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Book Review: The Endurance Training Diet & Cookbook: The How, When, and What for Fueling Runners and Triathletes to Improve Performance by Jesse Kropelnicki

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Title: The Endurance Training Diet & Cookbook: The How, When, and What for Fueling Runners and Triathletes to Improve Performance
Author: Jesse Kropelnicki
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Publisher:

Synopsis:

Reach your peak performance with the best training and fueling plan.

Achieve your goals in endurance racing with the detailed training advice and perfectly tailored recipes in this new must-have manual and cookbook. Fueling your body is just as important as training it, but different phases of training and racing require different combinations of nutrients. Written by one of the world’s leading triathlon coaches, The Endurance Training Diet & Cookbook includes in-depth advice to boost your performance and seventy recipes that will help you reach your personal best. Inside, you’ll find:

• the best nutrition information to support your body when exercising at intense levels whether you’re a distance runner, cyclist, or triathloner
• guidelines for fueling during preworkout, postworkout, and recovery windows
• a game plan for what to eat and drink during workouts and on race day
• delicious, nutrient-rich recipes made with fresh, whole foods for every meal of the day

The Endurance Training Diet & Cookbook has everything you need to help you break through in your racing.

My Review: (more…)

Book Review: My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

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Title: My Not So Perfect Life
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Random House
ISBN: 9780812998269

Synopsis:

Part love story, part workplace drama, this sharply observed novel is a witty critique of the false judgments we make in a social-media-obsessed world. New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella has written her most timely novel yet.

Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle—from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she’s desperate to make her dad proud.

Then, just as she’s finding her feet—not to mention a possible new romance—the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away—until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.

Sophie Kinsella is celebrated for her vibrant, relatable characters and her great storytelling gifts. Now she returns with all of the wit, warmth, and wisdom that are the hallmarks of her bestsellers to spin this fresh, modern story about presenting the perfect life when the reality is far from the truth.

My Review:

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Book Review: The Vegetarian by Han Kang

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Title: The Vegetarian
Author: Han Kang
Translator: Deborah Smith
ISBN: 9781101906118
Publisher: Hogarth

Synopsis:

Winner of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize
ONE OF ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY’S “BEST BOOKS OF 2016 SO FAR”
ONE OF TIME’S “BEST BOOKS OF 2016 SO FAR”

A beautiful, unsettling novel about rebellion and taboo, violence and eroticism, and the twisting metamorphosis of a soul
 
Before the nightmares began, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary, controlled life. But the dreams—invasive images of blood and brutality—torture her, driving Yeong-hye to purge her mind and renounce eating meat altogether. It’s a small act of independence, but it interrupts her marriage and sets into motion an increasingly grotesque chain of events at home. As her husband, her brother-in-law and sister each fight to reassert their control, Yeong-hye obsessively defends the choice that’s become sacred to her. Soon their attempts turn desperate, subjecting first her mind, and then her body, to ever more intrusive and perverse violations, sending Yeong-hye spiraling into a dangerous, bizarre estrangement, not only from those closest to her, but also from herself.

Celebrated by critics around the world, The Vegetarian is a darkly allegorical, Kafka-esque tale of power, obsession, and one woman’s struggle to break free from the violence both without and within her.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Han Kang was born in 1970 in South Korea. In 1993 she made her literary debut as a poet, and was first published as a novelist in 1994. A participant in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, Han has won the Man Booker International Prize, the Yi Sang Literary Prize, the Today’s Young Artist Award, and the Manhae Prize for Literature. She currently works as a professor in the department of creative writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts.

My Review:

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Book Review: Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

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Title: Don’t you Cry
Author: Mary Kubica
ISBN: 978-0-7783-1905-4
Publisher: MIRA Books

Synopsis:

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew. Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected. As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under the stranger’s spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.

About the Author:
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Mary Kubica
is the New York Times bestselling author of THE GOOD GIRL and PRETTY BABY. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children and enjoys photography, gardening and caring for the animals at a local shelter.

My Review:
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Book Review: Put a Ring on It by Beth Kendrick

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Title: Put a Ring on It
Author: Beth Kendrick
ISBN: 978-0-451-47418-6
Publisher: New American Library
Length: 283 pages

Synopsis:

The author of New Uses for Old Boyfriends returns to the Delaware seashore town of Black Dog Bay, where one woman learns to put passion before practicality…

Brighton Smith doesn’t do outrageous. As an insurance actuary, it’s her job to assess risk and avoid bad investments. But when her fiancé calls to confess he’s married someone else on a whim (“I looked at her and I just knew!”), she snaps…

That night, at a local bar, Jake Sorensen—hot, rich, and way out of her league—buys Brighton a cocktail. At midnight, she kisses him. And by dawn, they’re exchanging vows at a drive-through chapel.

Brighton knows Jake is a bad bet, but she doesn’t care. After a lifetime of playing it safe, she’s finally having fun. Until the whirlwind romance gives way to painful reality…and Brighton finds out the truth about why a guy like Jake married a girl like her. With her heart on the line and the odds stacked against them, Brighton must decide whether to cut her losses or take a leap of faith that this love affair is one in a million.

My Review:

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Book Review: I Take You: A Novel by Eliza Kennedy

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Synopsis from Goodreads.com:

Brilliantly executed and endlessly funny, this page-turning debut showcases one of the most winning, irrepressible voices since Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones.
“I’m getting married.”
“He’s perfect!”
“It’s a disaster.”
Meet Lily Wilder–New Yorker, lawyer and the luckiest woman in the world. She has a dream job, friends who adore her, a family full of charismatic and loving women, and a total catch of a fiance.
Also? She has “no” business getting married.
Lily’s fiance Will is a brilliant, handsome archaeologist. Lily is sassy, impulsive, fond of a good drink (or five) and completely incapable of being faithful to just one man. Lily likes Will, but does she love him? Will loves Lily, but does he really know her? As the wedding approaches, Lily’s nights–and mornings, and afternoons–of booze, laughter and questionable decisions become a growing reminder that the happiest day of her life might turn out to be her worst mistake yet.
“Bridget Jones’s Diary” meets “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” in this joyous and ribald debut, introducing a fabulously self-assured protagonist whose choices raise fresh questions about gender politics, monogamy and the true meaning of fidelity.

My Review: (more…)