Bad Bloods: November Rain by Shannon A. Thompson

Bad Bloods: November Rain by Shannon A. ThompsonNovember Rain (Bad Bloods, #1) by Shannon A. Thompson
Format: Audio
Narrator: Jonathan Johns
Series: Bad Bloods,
Published by Clean Teen Publishing on July 18th 2016
Genres: YA, Dystopian, Fantasy
Source: Audible
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

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.

“Chanda Reads Books” is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This is at no cost to the readers of this blog.


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:


Giveaway!

November Rain Giveaway: Clean Teen Publishing Mystery Box


Author Interview

 

  • 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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Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

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Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog

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four-stars

Haven by Mary Lindsey

Haven by Mary LindseyHaven by Mary Lindsey
Format: Kindle
Published by Entangled Publishing on November 7th 2017
Genres: YA
Pages: 371
Source: NetGalley
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

"We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed."

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere, He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.

(Former title: Hide from Me.)

“Chanda Reads Books” is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This is at no cost to the readers of this blog.


 Review:

I was really surprised by Haven. I went into the book not knowing what it was really about, but that it involved werewolves. I wasn’t expecting the grittiness, romance, and suspense that Haven delivered though.

Aaron “Rain” Ryland comes from a life on the streets with his drug and alcohol addicted mother. When his mother fatally succumbs to her addiction he is sent to live with an Aunt he didn’t even know existed in a small town, very unlike the streets of Houston he is used to. A hard city kid is sure to be safe out in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of country bumpkins, right? *insert maniacal laugh*

I won’t delve into the plot any more than that because I think the reason I so thoroughly enjoyed this book was because of the twists and reveals I experienced while reading.

What I can tell you: This book is full of strong and fully developed characters, lots of romance (and less “fade to black” sex scenes, but still YA appropriate), plot twists, suspense, and of course: werewolves and magic. 


four-half-stars

Rimrider by L.A. Kelley Book Tour

Rimrider by L.A. Kelley Book TourRimrider by L.A. Kelley
Format: Audio
Narrator: Cassandra Richardson
Series: Rimrider Adventures,
on Aug. 22, 2017
Genres: YA, Science Fiction
Source: Audible
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

Orphan, pirate, spy.

Awakened by her father, teenager Jane Benedict is ordered to memorize a mysterious code. Hours later, Mathias Benedict is dead and Jane and her brother, Will, are wards of United Earth Corporation. To evade the company's murderous clutches and uncover the meaning of her father's last message, Jane leads Will on a desperate escape across the galaxy aboard the Freetrader smuggler ship, Solar Vortex. Tangled in the crew's fight for freedom, Jane saves the life of young smuggler, Mac Sawyer, and learns her father's code identifies a secret cargo shipment. The trail leads to the planet Rimrock and the massive prison complex of Golgotha. Undercover as a spy, Jane stumbles into a conspiracy that can spell doom for the entire Freetrader cause and the extinction of an alien race. Can she escape the prison confines and deliver a warning before it's too late?

Piracy, intrigue, romance, space battles, and a daring rebellion from Earth wait on the galactic rim. Will Jane answer the call to adventure and find new purpose, or is death for high treason her fate?

“Chanda Reads Books” is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This is at no cost to the readers of this blog.


Review of the story:

Rimrider is about a young girl (Jane) and her little brother (Will) who have become orphans within the first chapter of the book and their fight for survival and what family means for them. Jane and Will escape their parent’s killers (the government) by boarding a space ship and getting involved with space pirates, rebels, and spies. 

This book was difficult for me to get in to until about 20%. I think part of the reason is because I couldn’t connect with Jane. She is very young, and quite immature for the YA genre of heroines. Now, I will say that sometimes I forget how young YA heroines are because so much seems to get piled on them and they are often thrown into very adult situations, but Jane was hard to like in general . Her disposition was a little whiny and she lacked emotion for things like her father’s death. She does seem to grow up quickly though and becomes decidedly more likable as the book progresses. 

With that being said, I did enjoy the book about 20% in and after. The world building was interesting, but not confusing and so big as to distract from the story. Secondary characters really held their own (Gem is the best) and the plot of the book was interesting and fun to read, albeit a little predictable at times. The book ends by setting up for the next book, but with no major cliffhangers. I would rate the story 3.5/5 stars. 

Review of the audio:

I’ve never listened to any of Cassandra Richardson’s narrations before, but I think she did a pretty good performance. Her characters were easy to distinguish from one another and her male voices were believable. I will say, sometimes her voice for Jane got a little whiny, but honestly that could have been intentional. I needed to keep reminding myself that Jane was a sheltered 15-16 year old who would likely have reason to be whiny sometimes, so it wasn’t really a mark against the actual narration. Overall the narration itself was 4/5 stars. 

Next Books in the series

four-stars

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn SkyeThe Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
Format: Audio
Narrator: Steve West
Published by HarperAudio on May 17th, 2016
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Source: Audible
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters - the only two in Russia - and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown's Game, an ancient duel of magical skill - the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar's most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter - even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown's Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with - beautiful, whip smart, imaginative - and he can't stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai's best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love...or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear...the Crown's Game is not one to lose.

“Chanda Reads Books” is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This is at no cost to the readers of this blog.


Review of the story:

This was a book I was pleasantly surprised by. I actually really hate when books are compared to best sellers like The Hunger Games or other popular books like Red Queen. I think it sets unfair expectations on what the book is about, which was the case for The Crown’s Game for me. Sometimes I feel like any book that has the word ‘game’ in it is going to be compared to The Hunger Games, but The Crown’s Game was nothing like THG, in my opinion. THG was raw, violent, and dark. The Crown’s Game has a few dark moments, but is a bit more light than THG. 

As for the competition, it was definitely not what I expected. I was expecting a deadly game of magic and sorcery, but the game in this book is slower paced, and more of a poetic show of talents. While the story did seem to creep along at some points, I was intrigued by the story-line and never felt bored. The last few chapters had me on the edge of my seat and nearly in tears, so I’m really looking forward to the next book!

 

Characters 

There is a love triangle, kind-of. I really hate love triangles, but I promise this one isn’t bad. The story is not consumed by the romance (which is actually my thing, lol, but if it’s not you’re in luck) and one part of the triangle is one-sided. I thought the theme was less about romance and more about friendship and platonic love than anything. The character development in this book was remarkable. Vika is a sassy and strong heroine that doesn’t need to depend on romance or supporting characters to shine, ad Nikolai and Pasha stand well on their own as well. I even found myself caring for (and despising) secondary characters as well and wasn’t annoyed when the POV switched to them because I genuinely cared what happened to them.

 

There is not a traditional “villain” in this book, but I think Skye did a wonderful job with the complexity of this character. I felt my heart breaking for her, even as she carried out terrible acts against some of the characters I loved. She will definitely be playing a more pivotal role in the next book so I am torn between understanding her motives, and wanting her dead before she can hurt anyone else. 

I’m including this fan art made by Charlie Bowater because she’s amazing and I’m obsessed with her art, especially her vision of Nikolai! Click here or on the picture below to be taken to Epic Reads, where this art was originally shared. 

 

Review of the audio:

Steve West was easy to listen to and did a beautiful job with voice distinctions and transitions. I would listen to another book he narrates based off this performance. 


four-stars