November Rain (Bad Bloods, #1) by Shannon A. Thompson
Narrator: Jonathan Johns
Series: Bad Bloods,
Published by Clean Teen Publishing on July 18th 2016
Genres: YA, Dystopian, Fantasy
Buy on Amazon
Seventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind, Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them.
Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning the election for bad bloods’ rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona’s vote. Now, Daniel must unite with her before all hope is lost and bad bloods are eradicated, even if it means exposing secrets worse than death itself. United or not, a city will fight, rain will fall, and all will be threatened by star-crossed love and political corruption.
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Review of the story:
November Rain starts off with a bang, as Serena, our main female protagonist, is being marched to her own death. A stranger sets a plan in motion for Serena to escape and she becomes the first person to ever escape this particular “Bad Blood” camp. a Bad Blood is someone who has undergone a mutation that gives them superhuman abilities (similar to X-men). The society in which this is set does not recognize Bad Blood as being equal and therefore seeks to find and eradicate all of them.
The story is full of action while still leaving room for character development and a steady story-line progression. November Rain is told from the POV of Serena and Daniel, another Bad Blood. The book is actually set over a period of only 8 -9 days, but the multiple POVs keep the story moving.
If you are looking for a clean YA book that has lots of action, a great story, strong and loyal characters, and is a quick read – I recommend picking up November Rain.
Review of the audio:
Johnathon Johns does a great job transitioning between Serena and Daniel’s POV without making it seem jumpy or disjointed. He has a smooth cadence that was truly enjoyable to listen to.
Next Books in the series:
November Rain Giveaway: Clean Teen Publishing Mystery Box
- Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
My favorite (and first) part about turning Bad Bloods into an audiobook was discussing my book with the narrator, Jonathan Johns. I let him know some exclusive behind-the-scenes info that never made it into the book but was essential to understanding the characters. He was really receptive to it, and he truly understood what each person and scene represented. After he recorded, I listened to each scene and provided more notes. Then he recorded more, and now, we have an audiobook!
- Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?
Yes, I think it’s absolutely possible—not to mention that there are readers who NEED audiobooks in order to access novels and other pieces of text, so audiobooks are extremely important.
- Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
Yes and no. I always loved the idea of an audiobook, but I didn’t let it change my writing style. However, I always read all of my books out loud in the last editing phase to check the sound and overall flow, so that’s very similar. Sound is important.
- How did you select your narrator?
My publisher sent me a few auditions, but Jonathan Johns stuck out the moment I heard his voice. He captured both the dark essence of the story and the characters’ individual voices. From the beginning, I felt as if he understood it more than anyone else, and he truly brought it to life.
- How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
Yes! I provided pronounciation for any words or names that might be difficult, but I definitely gave him insight into each character. Bad Bloods is very character heavy (and a character-driven story), and it was important to me that they were distinguishable and matched what I pictured when writing. He learned facts that will never even make it into the series. Why? Because those details often shape characters, but they might also be unseen details. I needed to know those details to create the prose, so I thought Jonathan would need to know them in order to create the audio. He absolutely nailed it!
- Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
I think there is truth in all types of writing, including fantasy. For me, I originally wrote this book shortly after my mother died very suddenly. I was eleven, so I had a lot of anger and depression and confusion about how terrible things can happen to very young people. Those feelings are scattered throughout Bad Bloods, and to this day, Bad Bloods still feels like the closest books to my heart—probably because writing these books saved me when I was young.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
I get burnt out all the time! I try not to, but I work full time (and often overtime). Writing books while working full time is hard, especially when you’re on a deadline, so I absolutely get burnt out. But I never lose my enthusiasm. No matter how difficult life gets, I always love writing, and I try to keep that in mind when I’m feeling down.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
Actually (eek), I’m not. I have a difficult time remembering anything when it’s in audio format. Even when I was a kid, I struggled to learn from lectures. I’ve always taught myself by reading materials. (Maybe my dad was right when he said I was a bad listener. Ha!) But I’m so glad it exists for those who need and love audiobooks.
- Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
Jonathan Johns added some sound effects (wheezing, sighing, breathing) that helped bring the dialogue alive in very particular spots. I loved it!
- If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
YES. I would love to see the Amarna Period in Ancient Egypt, mainly because my soul is submerged in that time period for research right now. But there are lots of places I’d love to see. The future would be neat, too!
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