As we move into winter, I’d like to share a few of my favorite audiobook productions from this past autumn.
As Lead Casting Coordinator, I’ve listened to hundreds of audiobooks and cast narrators for thousands. It still never gets old when a great casting really clicks — those performances where the narrator lined up perfectly with the tone, story, and characters of a story. Here are a handful of the many productions we helped produce over the past few months that I think really nailed it.
"Leveraged Learning" by Danny Iny, narrated by David H. Lawrence XVII
This title explores nature of career long learning, and how learning itself has changed for working professionals. It touches on myriad of topics from the impact of current education on new professions, employers seeking talent, and the current students. Danny Iny explores all of these topics in the context of the needs for evolving educational structures, as well as providing readers with dynamic and innovative approaches to grow and thrive.
Why I loved it
David H Lawrence XVII’s performance was incredibly engaging. His deep calming tone in equal measure draws the reader in and keeps them actively involved in the text. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, it can be challenging in non-fiction narration to balance complex content and concepts and keeping listeners engaged. David’s masterful performance displays a solid grasp of the content while also compelling listeners throughout the title to remain actively engaged with the content and exercises.
"Shattered Rainbows" by Mary Jo Putney, narrated by Siobhan Waring
In this Fifth installment of the Fallen Angels series listeners are drawn into a compelling romance set against the backdrop of the Napoleanic wars. Mary Jo Putney draws the reader into the exciting and complex plot, with believable and robust characters and ultimately deep emotion until the last minute!
Why I loved it
Siobhan delivers an incredibly moving performance that is not only impressively period appropriate but also well suited to the characters and their complex storylines and backgrounds. The shifts between the present plot and flashbacks were seamlessly done. By capturing the conflicting emotions and motivations of all of the characters so dynamically, she especially brings the main Heroine to life in an incredible way.
Accidental Champion Trilogy by Jamie Davis and C.J. Davis, narrated by Stacy Gonzalez
A daughter carrying on her father’s legacy, sword fights, political intrigue, and adventures on the high seas! Picking up where the Accidental Traveler series leaves off, Jamie and CJ Davis take listener on a fantastical LitRPG journey. Full of grand adventures, enjoyable characters, and a well developed fantasy world. I am hooked, and will definitely be following Cari’s adventures.
Why I loved it
I think Stacy did a fantastic job of adding her own flair to this existing fantasy universe, and picking up where narration from the Accidental Traveller series left off. Her performance is clever and so much fun, shifting effortlessly between complex fight scenes to playful interpersonal dialogue, and high drama. She conveyed the sassy (and sometimes spoiled) main teenage character in a really endearing way that I didn’t expect, but definitely loved.
"Mystery at the Christmas Market" by Janelle Diller, narrated by Kae Denino
In this third installment of the Pack-n-go Girls, Austria series we are drawn into a page-turner set in Kitzbuhel. In this child-friendly mystery we follow Brooke and Eva as they try to figure out what nefarious plans two strangers have for the girls, Krampus, and the Christmas Market.
Why I loved it
Kae’s youthful and playful performance were perfectly suited for this children’s title. It is relatable without being overly dramatized. The complex accents, places, and names required for title, were integrated seamlessly, and she captured the mystery and drama in a fun, age appropriate, and also educational way.
"Portents: A Collection of Cainsville Tales" by Kelley Armstrong, narrated by D. C. Cole, Jonathan Waters, Aisling Gray, Curt Bonnem, Henry Jones
A collection of short stories set within the larger Cainsville universe. Kelley Armstrong takes of you on a journey of humor, romance, ancient prophesies, fae lore, and coming of age stories.
This was easily one of the most enjoyable but challenging projects that we have had the opportunity to collaborate on, and it turned out wonderfully! I wanted to emphasize all of the different and fantastic performances that went into the compilation of seven short stories, including one dual-narrated title.
Why I loved it
Henry Jones and Aisling Gray did a fantastic job of capturing the playful spirit of this fae kidnapping mystery. They both did incredibly effective job of tempering and matching their character portrayals across the point of view switches, as well as rising to the occasion of the complicated Welsh terminology and accents required throughout this story.
No matter if it is a cat that just won’t stay dead or a young boy trying to figure out his place, Jonathan has the ability to seamlessly move between characters and bring them to life effortlessly. The subtley dramatic flair in his performances was entertaining, but I was surprisingly moved by his portrayal of Gabriel.
Curt Bonnem delivers spec-“cat”-ular performance in one of the shorts he performed for this compilation. I especially loved his portrayal of a human soul reincarnated into a snarky cat in Matagot. His characterization is extremely engaging, and I was impressed his ability to artfully transition back and forth between the sarcastic humor of the main character to increasing seriousness of the plot.
My favorite character in all of these stories, and D C Cole’s characterization was spot on in both of his shorts. The flair and edge that he used to portray the tricky “bòcan” as he tries to avoid his part in an ancient prophesy, was in equal parts funny, endearing, frustrating, and compelling. I really enjoyed these shorts, and definitely will be looking to Patrick’s next appearance.
There’s a lot of other great audiobooks out there, I picked these fantastic new releases to highlight just how great an audiobook can be when the right book has the perfect voice. Finding the perfect narrator for your book can really elevate your audiobook — and the Findaway Voices team is always here to help.