There’s something inherently soothing about listening to a story. It brings back memories of comfortable evenings curled up on a couch and having someone read to me, or listening to tales spun around a campfire under the glittering stars.
Lately, I’ve been indulging in audiobooks as an escape from the mundane. It makes doing housework and yardwork an excuse to get away from the well worn sights and complaints of being stuck at home. With a story in my ears, I can let my mind wander to a new place and step into someone else’s shoes for a while. Sometimes these places are fantastical and dangerous, sometimes they are familiar. It’s a nice change while it lasts.
A week ago I spotted a new trend in storytelling and I kind of love it. It might be my new favorite idea ever. Just the thought of it makes me smile. Celebrities are reading bedtime stories to anyone who wants to hear them on the Calm app. Imagine that soothing comfort of being curled into a blanket and listening to a story, but this time it’s spoken in the warm tones of a character’s voice you love.
The celebrity that caught my attention was Jerome Flynn of Game of Thrones fame. He was the morally grey sell-sword who enters service as a bodyguard to Tyrion, one of the princes of King’s Landing. He’s got a deep calm voice with an ever so appealing soft Scottish accent. I wouldn’t mind drifting off to sleep listening to him tell a story one bit.
The Calm app is something I’ve used for meditation off and on. There is a little bit of everything in there so everyone can find something that works for them. I usually use the guided meditation with music portion of the app but am seriously considering listening to the bedtime stories next time I fight a bout of insomnia.
While there are plenty of different people reading bedtime stories, here are the ones that caught my attention –
Jodi L Milner 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.
I’ve been sitting on this news for a few weeks waiting for the perfect time to tell everyone. Stonebearer’s Betrayal is finally out in audiobook – Yahoo!
This is my first time having an audiobook and I’m thrilled because I adore listening to great stories and podcasts while I do housework and yardwork. I know many of you are the same.
Because the audiobook for Stonebearer’s Betrayal is new and shiny… I have a really cool opportunity for you, dear reader.
If you have been wanting to read Stonebearer’s Betrayal, but are a crazy busy person like I am, I have a limited number of Audible codes to share with anyone eager to listen to the book and leave an honest review. It’s as easy as that.
What are you waiting for?
If you are interested in being one of my awesome audiobook reviewers, here’s what you need to do:
Let me know! You can leave a note in the comment section below, send me a message on my Facebook author page, or message me on Instagram. First come, first serve, so act now. I’ll post a note when all the spots are taken.
Listen to the book over the next few weeks.
Leave a review on Amazon. It can be as long or as short as you like. A few sentences is perfect!
Message me that you left the review for a special gift.
Want to learn more about Stonebearer’s Betrayal before you commit? Head on over to the Amazon page and see what people are saying!
It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for a book review. I listened to the audiobook of Heroes of the Valley at the end of 2018, right smack at the same time I was preparing for the launch of my book. It was a great distraction for all those times I needed to relax and escape the stress of planning a large event, interesting enough to hold my interest, but not gripping enough that I was tempted to stay up after bedtime.
Halli Sveinsson, youngest and most awkward of the Sveinsson house, grew up listening to the stories of when his valley was a wild and dangerous place and brave men stood heroically to defend it. His reality is much more bland. The valley is ruled by laws and governed by a Council of women who demand peace and equality. His heroic attempts always end badly, usually with someone being humiliated, and that someone is usually him.
When violence comes to his home, Halli sets off on a path of revenge and his own hero’s quest. He is inspired by the stories of the brave and bold Svein, the hero from which his family took its name. Along the path, Halli learns that he is not the hero he’d hoped he’d be and returns home, guilt ridden.
But, all is not is as it should be. Not only has Halli gained a reputation of being an ill-doer, he is accused of murder. His actions put the whole village in danger from the house of Hakonsson who comes to attack. With the assistance of the lovely and brave Aud, Halli creates a plan much like Svein of old to protect his house.
While I love a good high fantasy, especially one filled with swords, magic, and noble characters – this one was definitely different. Our main character Halli is wonderfully flawed almost to the point of being comedic. Everyone else around him tolerates him at best, and downright hates him at worst. Because he’s never really liked, he experiences a sort of freedom that the rest of his house doesn’t enjoy. It doesn’t matter what he does, he’ll get in trouble for it anyway, so he does whatever he wants. Being at the bottom of the respect ladder means you can’t fall down further.
One would think that this would make Halli depressed and hard to read, but it does the opposite. He’s got a ready wit and shares it regardless if it’s the right thing to say or not. When he’s not speaking, he’s always thinking of a way to get what he wants. His goals are neither noble or evil, but are very realistic, which makes his story that much more relatable.
Interspersed between Halli’s chapters are chapters where the legend of the beloved Svein and the Battle of the Rock are told. These fable-like stories paint the hero in such inflated terms that he’s grown much bigger than life, performing feats of super human strength and endurance that can hardly be believed. Because I was listening to the story (yay audiobooks!) I didn’t catch that there was this switch for the first half of the book and ended up very confused. When listening, there is precious little to cue the listener that this switch has taken place. So when you believe you are in a Halli chapter, it might be several paragraphs before you realize you are in a Svein chapter.
Even with this, the two stories end up complimenting each other in such a way that the reader feels they understand Halli’s drive. He loves the story of Svein so much, he will do anything in his power to become a hero.
Those who enjoy fiction with a strong Nordic feel and heavy cultural notes, plus monsters that we are never quite sure are real, will enjoy this book.
It’s a strong read, well-written with lots of excellent world and culture building. As for liking it, I enjoyed listening to it, but didn’t love it. The storytelling style made it hard to be immersed in the story the way other books do and the magical element I was hoping for didn’t come through as a significant part of the story.
I’d still give the title 4/5 stars for being ingeniously constructed, well-written, and an all around solid narrative.
Psst! Jodi here. Did you enjoy today’s review? Did it help you decide if this book was for you? Cool, eh?
Guess what? You can do the same for me. If you’ve read Stonebearer’s Betrayal, head on over to Amazon, Goodreads, or the book site of your choice and leave me a review.
It doesn’t have to be big and long like this one – a few sentences is perfect! Thanks in advance!
Every single one of us has that one friend who hates things with an unusual passion. You know the one – and if you don’t, it might be you. The conversation will start with a casual discussion about the most recent movies they’ve seen and the next thing you know, they are ranting about some aspect of the show that you frankly could care less about.
This is a toxic fan – and James Wymore isn’t one of them. Trust me. He’s got opinions a plenty about recent reincarnations of certain franchises, but he also has that wonderful thing called perspective. As an author who has solved the puzzles and fought to find what makes his fans happy, he gets it.
I can’t count how many times over the years I’ve had
somebody tell me how awful the Star Wars prequel trilogy is. At conferences,
during convention panels, over pizza, at family gatherings, and so many times
on social media. They are generally nice people, with notable exceptions. I
just can’t figure out why they have taken it upon themselves to actively
campaign against a nearly twenty-year old movie in a franchise they claim to
love. What is it they hope to gain?
So I started engaging some of these folks in conversations,
to find out what about those movies caused them so much irritation that they
would publicly proselyte against them.
The responses varied, of course. Some became defensive, as
if they couldn’t understand why anybody would have to justify such an obvious
opinion. Others broke down into lists of reasons, some I suspect were
regurgitated from online or other sources. The last group just increased their
vitriol, adding emotional weight to their claims. The only common thread I
could find was that each of them felt it should have been done differently.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but it takes a lot of
self confidence to believe you could imagine or produce a better movie than the
franchise’s original creator, writer, and director.
I wrote this off as people being people and didn’t let it
upset my own enjoyment of those movies. However, over time, the anger and
animosity toward Star Wars creators grew exponentially when Disney bought the franchise
and began making new movies. Abrams managed to make most of the fans moderately
happy with episode 7. Rogue One caused a new division. Then waves of social
hate rose up to actively protest episode 8. And I can’t even explain why so
much anger was aimed at Solo.
Disney responded by cancelling all the spin-offs. Then they
changed their mind and cancelled everything after episode 9 (which had a year
left before it even came out). Way to go, whiners, you got Star Wars put on
permanent hiatus. You literally killed the thing you claimed to love. Even if
it wasn’t what you wanted, did you have to ruin it for everybody else? If you
couldn’t have the movies of your imagination, does that mean the rest of us
shouldn’t have any either?
If you like something, great. If you don’t like it, that’s
okay. But why the hate? Why the need to actively tear it down? Did it ever
occur to you that you could just leave peacefully and let the rest of us enjoy
Fandom has grown toxic.
We all need a little
more zen in our media consumption. Rather than lashing out when you’re
disappointed, maybe a better strategy would be to just watch what you like and
don’t watch what you don’t. Are you getting paid to review movies? Have you
been inducted into the posse to protect innocent citizens from bad media? Did
the “fix the franchise” crusaders make you their missionary?
Trust the market. If people don’t like something, they won’t
buy tickets and the company will lose money. That’s the only feedback they
really listen to anyway. If you don’t like the new Ghostbusters, don’t watch
it. But be cool. Don’t go after the company and start spreading negativity.
Offer people the dignity of deciding what they want. And be secure enough to
not like something without rage.
Creating a hostile environment just ruins it for everybody.
In the end, isn’t it supposed to be about entertainment and fun? If not, maybe
you should reevaluate why you are emotionally invested in it. If so, then
making it toxic is counter-productive.
About James Wymore
Growing up on a steady diet of Spider-man cartoons and television shows like Batman and Wonder Woman, James Wymore knew he would someday find his own super power and join the fight for justice. He did everything right, from experimenting with arson to jumping from great heights, but his ability to control fire or fly never kicked in.
he went past the teenage years, he accepted that he probably didn’t have a
hidden mutant power waiting to manifest. Neither would he uncover any
unexplained alien origins, so he threw himself into searching for enhancements
designed to bring his latent abilities to the surface. He travelled the world
studying arcane magic. Throughout college, he experimented with volatile
chemicals, extreme temperatures, lasers, and various forms of radiation.
Eventually, he discovered the power of hypnosis through fantastic stories. He plunged into writing, filling his work with the subtle triggers that would allow him to one day take control of all his readers’ minds and use them as an army to conquer the literary world. Until that day, he works tirelessly to create more and better books. Follow his progress at http://jameswymore.wordpress.com
Superheroes and villains constantly
battle for control of Denver, Colorado, so somebody has to do the heavy
lifting. CJ Cruz found his niche working for whichever super-flavor-of-the-day
happens to be running the show at the time. Since most of the self-labeled
heroes claiming to be on the side of justice don’t hire henchmen, he usually
winds up doing the street-level work for supers operating outside the law. His
family and priest just think he’s a gangster, but CJ knows his motivation is
pure. He keeps on the windy side of law enforcement by following a few simple
rules, the first of which is keep your head down and never be the boss’s
right-hand man. People tell him
he should get a new job, but he likes working around supers. Besides, except
for intimidation and roughing-people-up he doesn’t have any other skills necessary
to make rent and pay child support.
“Thug #1 is a fast-paced, action-packed book written in comic book style. The artwork is amazing, too!”
Holli Anderson, author of Myrikal
In the future, everybody wears computer glasses that scan the
world and project whatever you want to see right in front of it. Through
perfected augmented reality, the buildings and people blend seamlessly into
whatever movie or video game is running. We all see whatever we want, all the
time. Nobody cares what clothes they wear, because the rest of the world sees
them as pirates, robots, or anything that suits their current media. Even the
cars are self-driving, because nobody wants to pause the streaming feed.
In other news, the world is under attack by aliens. Disease is
decimating the human population. A man takes over America and declares himself
to be a god.
Nobody cares, so long as they don’t turn off the wi-fi.
Jason Hunt has the perfect life. A scholarship university
athlete with an amazing girlfriend, his future couldn’t be brighter. Then his
father drops a few family secrets on him—
Secrets of treason and heresy, which put him in direct
conflict with the reigning Theocrat.
“Wymore weaves a fantastic tale while taking a good hard look at religion, politics, immortality, entertainment, and technological advancement. If you’re looking for a thrilling sci-fi adventure that beautifully mirrors current real-world issues and advancements then this is the book for you.”
Andrew Buckley (Author, Hair in All the Wrong Places)
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