Audiobookworm Promotions Presents: Aranya + Giveaway

Aranya Banner

Aranya Tablet/iPhone

Author: Marc Secchia

Narrator: Shiromi Arserio

Length: 14h 33m

Publisher: Marc Secchia

Released: April 05, 2015

Series: Shapeshifter Dragons, Book 1

Genre: Fantasy

Chained to a rock and tossed off a cliff by her boyfriend, Aranya is executed for high treason against the Sylakian Empire. Falling a league into the deadly Cloudlands is not a fate she ever envisaged. But what if she did not die? What if she could spread her wings and fly? Long ago, Dragons ruled the Island-World above the Cloudlands. But their Human slaves cast off the chains of Dragonish tyranny. Humans spread across the Islands in their flying Dragonships, colonising, building and warring. Now, the all-conquering Sylakians have defeated the last bastion of freedom–the Island-Kingdom of Immadia. Evil has a new enemy. Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Dragon Shapeshifter.


Marc SecchioMarc is a South African-born dragon masquerading as an author, who loves writing about dragons and Africa, preferably both at the same time. He lives and works in Ethiopia with his wife and 4 children, 2 dogs and a variable number of marabou storks that roost on the acacia trees out back. On a good night there are also hyenas patrolling the back fence.
He's the author of 21 fantasy books in 3 languages (2 more languages coming this year - watch this space!), including 8 rip-roaring dragon fantasy bestsellers. Dragonfriend won a Gold Award for Fantasy in the 2016 IPPY Book Awards. Look out for Whisper Alive, his latest release. The 4th tale in the Dragonfriend series, Dragonstar, is coming soon! When he's not writing about Africa or dragons Marc can be found travelling to remote locations. He thinks there's nothing better than standing on a mountaintop wondering what lies over the next horizon.
Narrator Bio
Shiromi ArserioA native of London, England, Shiromi Arserio is a stage actor, voice talent and audiobook narrator. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. In addition to narrating dozens of audiobooks, her voice can be heard in documentaries, e-learning projects and video games such as Nancy Drew: The Shattered Medallion. Shiromi currently resides in the Seattle area with her husband and her two furbabies.

The story told in Aranya is one made to capture the hearts, minds, and imaginations of readers in equal measure.  An undertaking which proves no easy feat under the best of circumstances.  The fact that this book is told from the point of view of a very sheltered teen-aged girl/dragon shifter, for all intents and purposes.  Makes the fact that this book is a universally relatable  marvel of fiction, nothing less than astounding.
This book has everything.  Dragonshifters, friendships, struggles, war, champions, villains, and even a little romance.
Though this is a YA story.  At its heart it is so much more.
Thereby, making it a story whose themes cross the lines of age, class, comprehension levels, etc., with relative ease.

Shiromi Arserio's expert narration of this book is transportive.  Her attention to detail when expressing her characters applied to what was being said, just as much as both the emotion being conveyed by the character's words.
Her masterful expression of this work, coupled with the majesty of the author's world building, character development, and flawless plot make this a book that this reviewer not only recommends.
But one that I have since gone on to purchase the sequel to.  

 I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Marc Secchia. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.


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Audiobookworm Promotions Presents: My Father's Kingdom... And A Giveaway

Author: James W. George

Narrator: Angus Freathy

Length: 6h 18m

Publisher: James W. George

Genre: Historical Fiction

In 1620, more than 100 devout men and women crossed the treacherous Atlantic Ocean and established a colony in the New World where they could build a righteous and Godly society. Without the fortuitous friendship of the Wampanoag people and their charismatic leader Massasoit, however, it is doubtful the holy experiment would have survived. Fifty years later Plymouth Colony has not only survived, it has prospered, and more and more Englishmen are immigrating to New England. The blessed alliance with the Wampanoag, however, is in severe jeopardy. Massasoit has passed away along with most of the original settlers of Plymouth Colony, and their children and grandchildren have very different ideas about their historic friendship. Thrust into the center of events is Reverend Israel Brewster, an idealistic young minister with a famous grandfather and a tragic past. Meanwhile, Massasoit's son, known as "King Philip" by the English, is tormented by both the present and the past. He is watching the resources and culture of the Wampanoag nation fade away at the hands of the English and desperately wishes to restore hope and security to his people. In a world of religious fervor, devastating sickness, and incessant greed, can the alliance of their forefathers survive? Or will New England feel the wrath of tragic, bloody war?




James W. George is a debut author currently residing in Virginia. He is a graduate of Boston University, a military veteran, and a lover of historical fiction.
Angus Freathy was born and educated in London – that’s the one in England, for you Ohio folks!
After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, he went to Switzerland to join Nestlé for a 2-year wandering assignment, which lasted 37 years and involved travel and work on every continent (except the cold ones at the top and bottom).
Periods of residence in the U.S., Hong Kong and Switzerland have resulted in a network of friends and acquaintances with an amazing range of world insight and a wide repertoire of mostly excellent jokes.
Since retirement, Angus and his (still working) wife, Debra have lived in Oregon, Maryland and are now in Dublin, Ohio, ‘the only place we have actually chosen to live since we have been married!’.
Following a crushing rejection by the BBC at the age of 19, Angus is re-activating a long-held ambition and launching a new career in voice-over, with the sole intention of having some fun and being in touch with some very talented people.

Q&A with Author James W. George
•Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook. It’s actually quite fun, and highly exciting for a debut author. I’m sure most authors will tell you 90% of success if finding the right narrator. It’s not just a question of finding someone with a good voice. It’s a question of finding a strong narrator who shares your passion for the project.

  •Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing? To be honest, it wasn’t. I had no idea how easy and seamless the ACX audio experience really is. It is truly remarkable, and I highly recommend it to every author.

  •How did you select your narrator? Via the ACX audition process. An absolutely perfect choice, if I do say so myself. I needed someone who could convey a certain old-world English sense of gravitas, but still had a sense of humor.

 •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? Angus and I worked very closely together. There were some instances where I provided guidance, and other instances where Angus just took the reins. His range of voices is tremendous. Jeremiah Barron, (the screech owl), Elijah MacTavish (the Scottish sugar baron), Linto, and Reverend Increase Mather are just some examples. Additionally, I’m convinced some narrators would have become frustrated with the Native American names, but Angus handled them all with ease. Angus even did his own research to ensure the Psalmody he sung was as musically accurate as possible.

  •Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing? I’d say one inspiration for Israel Brewster is the Chaplain Corps in the Armed Forces. Although I am certainly not a chaplain, during a recent deployment I had the opportunity to help review and grade annual award packages for the chaplains. It really helped to bring home the remarkable dedication and service they provide to the men and women they serve with. Sometimes I think we as a society are too quick to glom onto the scandals and shortcomings of the clergy, and are far too oblivious to the impact they are making in the lives of others.

  •Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format? The tipsy singing, of course! Additionally, I’d say quite a few moments in the audiobook are quite powerful. All the different voices at work in Chapter Four really convey the proper feel. The healing ceremony is quite intense, and I love hearing the villain, Jeremiah Barron, and his peculiar voice. The courtroom drama is superbly done…I could go on and on.

  •If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go? 1675 New England, so I can get the sequel as historically accurate as possible. And summer 2016, so I could choose a different mattress than the one we bought.

 •If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles? Hmm. I need a protagonist with unique blue eyes. Chris Pine is probably too busy, and I’m not sure Elijah Wood is right. What’s Daniel Radcliffe up to these days? Casting Linto will be critical. Maybe Tatanka Means. We’ll ask John C. Reilly to be Jeremiah Barron. Not because he’s homely or screechy, but because he’s so brilliant he would pull it off perfectly. What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”? I’m not sure any medium is really “superior” to another in that context. Is live theater “superior” to the cinema? Are graphic novels “inferior” to unillustrated novels? Is pop music better with or without the accompanying MTV videos? So, no comment.

  •What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump? When I’m not in the mood to write, I don’t try to write. Of course, that’s easy to say because I don’t do this for a living. I haven’t encountered a reading slump yet, but I try to avoid reading fiction when I’m writing my own.

 •In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series? As a debut author who is halfway through the sequel, I’m learning writing a series is pretty tricky. You have to strike the balance of ensuring your reader truly “gets” what’s going on, while at the same time avoiding repetition. Overall though, I am loving the process of writing the sequel. Places and characters merge back together in delightful ways.

  •Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams? Not yet. If that starts happening, I’m going to quit writing about the Puritans and start writing about swimsuit models. •What's your favorite: Food: BBQ Song: Love classic rock, can’t pick just one Book: Catch-22 (fiction), Don’t Know Much About the Bible (non-fiction) Television show: Too much great stuff to choose one. The Tudors, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Futurama, Justified, Black Sails, Monty Python, Scrubs… Movie: Same answer. Matewan, Ray, Goodfellas, the Dark Knight… Band: My teenage son’s merry cast of noisemakers: Warning Label, or whatever they’re called this week. Sports team: Steelers and whoever is playing the Ravens City: Seattle

 •Are any of those things referenced in appearance in your work? Pretty sparingly. There are some references to smoked meats. The last paragraphs of Chapter 18 are somewhat Catch 22-esque.

  •What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors? Probably nothing they haven’t heard a hundred times before. Do it because you love it, and don’t try to emulate something or someone because you think it will “sell.”

  •Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
  1. Get a good narrator. 2. Get a good narrator. 3. Good things take time. 4. Get a good narrator.
•What’s next for you? Book two in the series should be out this fall!

My Father's Kingdom is a beautifully expressed work of Historical Fiction.  Which brings to life the struggles, failings, and triumphs of two peoples.
One being the Native American.  The other, the English, of what was to become Plymouth colony.

Setting this book apart from most of its ilk from the start however, is the author's ability to take what are in essence global events for both the Native and the English nations, and make said events central to the lives of just the few main characters around whom the story revolves.
It is this "look inside the mind" of said characters that allows readers the immersive experience that this work provides.
It is said same look that often times makes this book extremely emotionally evocative.  As one is very often tempted to "choose a side."  In what is a battle for supremacy and survival.

This is a flawlessly written book. 
Brought to life with equally masterful execution by narrator, Angus Freathy.
His clear and well articulated performance was able to convey each aspect of this story.  From the most mundane of everyday chores within the Native settlements, to the most solemn moment of the ending courtroom trial.
His pacing, flair for the subtle, and seeming instinct for natural emotional expression, are truly a gift to both this story, and all who read it.   

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by James W. George. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it. 

Jul. 31st: Dab of Darkness 
Aug. 1st: Lomeraniel 
Aug. 2nd: CGB Blog Tours 
Aug. 4th: The Maiden's Court 
Aug. 5th:
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