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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Audiobookworm Presents: Stepping Stone by Dakota Willink; #BlogTour, #AudioBook, #NowAvailable, #OutNow, #Review, #Giveaway

Author: Dakota Willink
Narrators: Lacy Laurel, Jeffrey Kafer
Series: Stone, Book Two
Length: 7 hours 57 minutes
Publisher: Dakota Willink, LLC
Released: Nov. 15, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating:  4 Stars

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

The story of Krystina and Alexander continues in Stepping Stone, book two of The Stone Series.
Krystina Cole is flawed and damaged from a traumatic experience. A relationship with Alexander Stone will never work. She knows that her capacity for love is limited, and that only she alone can repair the pieces of her shattered heart. But Alexander is everywhere she turns. In her mind. In her heart. And in her soul. She cannot deny him. He is her addiction and she is unable to stay away.
Alexander Stone has accepted the inevitable. If he wants to hold on to Krystina, he must bare all and release the secrets in his past. There were risks, but she is worth it. No woman has ever affected him the way that she did. She is the sunshine in his darkness. The lightning to his thunder. She is his angel.
Bound by their passion to be together, Alexander and Krystina fight to let go of their pasts. Together, they embark on journey of self-exploration, relying on trust to be their ultimate bond. Falling completely into one another, there finally seems to be a beacon of hope for their future. But as they test their boundaries of desire, fate takes an unexpected turn, threatening their only chance at survival…

My Thoughts:

Would you consider the audio edition of Stepping Stone: The Stone Series, Volume 2 to be better than the print version?

After listening to the first book I decided that I was going to prefer the audio edition of this series.  After listening to this second volume of the series that decision was set in stone (no pun intended).  But if there ever came a time where I couldn’t have my iPod with me then I would make the decision to purchase the books.

What did you like best about this story?

What I liked best was that we have more of a window into the life between Krystina and Alexander.  The reader also gets more of an insight into his life as well as that of his sister.  We also see that he’s got a chink in his armor and her name is Krystina. 

What about Lacy Laurel and Jeffrey Kafer ’s performance did you like?

For me, Mr. Kafer continues to have the perfect voice for Alexander Stone. I had no trouble picturing his character whenever I listened to his voice. But my mind has been changed where Ms. Laurel is concerned.  Now that I’ve gotten used to these two voice actors, I see how much they compliment each other.  It will make going back and listening to these books more enjoyable.  And yes, there will be a second and maybe even a third time when I will listen to these books again.
Any additional comments?

My thoughts while listening to the first book was that it was hard not to compare Ms. Willink’s book to FSOG.  And I continued having those thoughts here.  So if you enjoyed that series you will most certainly enjoy this. There are differences so don't make that mistake of making comparisons because it's not fair to either author. But it is a great way to find a new author.

I was a little disappointed with the version I listened to.  It tied me to my computer since I didn’t have an audible version.  It kept skipping and after a certain point it stopped and I had to click on the next chapter.  Also, I found the outside world was more of a distraction.  And there’s something different about being outside and listening to an audiobook and I couldn’t do that here.  But it left me no choice but to get an audible version so when I have the series marathon all my books will be in one place. 

When I reviewed the first book I was disappointed that this book wasn’t out in audio yet.  With this book some things seemed to have closure but I still want more.  I know the third book will be out soon but just like when I did the first book there seems to be no indication of an audio version.   This time, however, I wanted to stamp my foot because once again this book left me hanging at the end.

Dakota Willink is a contemporary romance writer and editor, and the author of The Stone Series. She is an associate member of Romance Writers of America and a Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards winner.
Dakota has always had a passion for reading and writing. From the time she was an adolescent, she enjoyed curling up with a good paperback, reading genres that ranged from thriller and fantasy, to mystery and romance. She always dreamed of one day writing her own book, but had put her aspirations on hold to focus on her family and a career that would pay the bills. However, her heart continued to be with fictional characters – whether they belonged to a favorite author or if they were just stories that she made up in her own head.
In 2013, Dakota gathered enough courage to turn her dreams into a reality. In between playing chauffeur to two very busy children and working her job during the day, Dakota began to put words on paper. Eventually, she began to describe her life as a book. Everything she saw or heard throughout the day, intertwined with her imagination for the creation of future writings. By 2014, with the support of her husband and two children, she gave up the security of a steady paycheck and began working on her first novel full time.
Her first novel, Heart of Stone, was published in December of 2015. Less than a year after its release, the Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards recognized Heart of Stone as the 2016 Bronze Medalist in the romance category.
Dakota resides in the Western New York area, where she enjoys spending time with family, her two Labrador Retrievers, and her spoiled rotten cat. During the summer months, she can often be found soaking up the sun on the Great Lakes with her family.
Narrator Bio
Lacy lives the life of a full time wife, mother and household manager. Needing a temporary escape from time to time Lacy returned back to her first love - reading! After devouring everything she could get her hands on she thought, -what if she could mix her love of performance and literature in a professional capacity? Once getting involved in the world of book narration she quickly became hooked and when not with her family you can find her in her studio working hard to grow in her own storytelling abilities.

  • When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
    • I was listening to more and more audiobooks and I just kept getting the urge to do it.
  • How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
    • I just researched until I found ACX, and on their website it talked about what you needed, how to do it and I just went for it.
  • Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?
    • No, it was not difficult to break in but to stay in is a totally different story.
  • A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
    • I don’t know if it’s essential, I have a very limited background from when I was in school. I love theater. However now I do find training very important. Getting an instructor for the type of narration you want to perform, attend seminars and classes in both performance and audio technology – you should really know how to use the equipment you are utilizing and some ‘employers’ will only accept your work if you are using certain technology.
  • What type of training have you undergone?
    • I am seeing a coach for non-fiction (Sean Pratt-@SPPresents) and another for fiction (Andi Arndt - @andi_arndt). Between the two a variety of topics in narration and the business of narration are covered. I see improvement every time I have a session, which is really encouraging, I am lucky that although I may not have years of professional acting or collegiate acting training I am able to utilize my coaches to help me improve and to learn more about what it is that I do.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
    • For me it is a combination of things. Because of the performance aspect, if I am not feeing it, I try not to push through. I will walk away and do some of the many other things I am responsible for in real life. My hours are really flexible because I work out of a home studio, so sometimes it is just as simple as hanging out with the family. Other times, I find that listening to others narrate in the genre’s I work in really helps. Especially when they are good they will motivate me to want to get back in the booth.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • Yes I am constantly listening! I love audiobooks! For me, I find myself listening while I am doing housework or playing the driver to the kids.
  • What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
    • My favorite is recording, getting to immerse myself into another world. I also love the read through of the book; it really gets me excited and helps me to plan out where I am going to go. I guess editing is my least favorite part, but only in comparison to the other parts, I love to do it, just not as much as performing or reading.
  • What’s next for you?
    • Project wise I am getting ready to dive into Thicker than Water by Dylan Allen and I am so very excited for it! I get to work with D.C. Cole for the first time, and then just the story itself! It is a slow burn, giving the romance lovers the angst that we love but it also has social commentary in it, which in this day and age is important to showcase.
  • Bonus question: Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio?
    • Oh, you know, I will be doing a ‘creative scene’ and since I work from home there are times when my husband can hear me and he loves to barge in and say “don’t start without me”!

Narrator Bio

Jeffrey Kafer is an award-winning Audiobook Narrator and professional voice actor. Spanning over 350 titles, he specializes in Romance, Thrillers, Sci-Fi and more!



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