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Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Audiobook Review & Narrator Interview! The Icing on the Cake by Linda Seed

The Icing on the Cake (Otter Bluff #1) by Linda Seed
 Narrators: Avie Paige & Travis Baldree
Genre: Adult Fiction (Contemporary Romance)
Date Published: Mar. 27th 2021
Publisher: Self

She’s a baker without a kitchen. He’s got a double oven to spare. It’s a recipe for success, until his mother starts stirring up trouble …

Cassie Jordan has a sweet dream to open a bakery specializing in wedding cakes. The problem is, the Airstream trailer where she lives has a kitchen the size of a postage stamp, and her job as housekeeper for a vacation rental agency doesn’t pay enough for her to find other arrangements.

When the renters at one of the houses in her care cancel their stay, leaving the house empty and its top-of-the-line kitchen unused, who could blame her for seeing it as an opportunity? But Cassie’s unsavory plan starts to look like a mistake when the owner’s son shows up unannounced, catching her with her pants down—literally.

If Cassie can sweet-talk her way out of trouble, setting up her business might be a piece of cake. If not, it’s going to be a bitter setback …

The Icing on the Cake is the first book in the Otter Bluff series by Linda Seed. Cassie is a fun character who definitely knows what she wants. It's hard not to like her. The same can be said for Brian, so when they meet, you know they'll be a fun combo. Their friendship builds, and things are great until his mother comes into the picture. She has something up her sleeve. Or does she? The narrators did a fantastic job capturing each character. They had the spunk necessary to pull them off effortlessly. This was a fun book. I look forward to more in the series, as well as checking out some others by this author.

The Icing on the Cake by Linda Seed was kindly provided to me by Audiobookworm Promotions for review. The opinions are my own.

Q & A with Avie Page
What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started in audiobook narration? I think what helped me the most was my blithe and total ignorance of what it takes. If I had known how much I would be challenged on every level, I might have balked. Instead I waltzed in believing I could do it, and just got started. It wasn't pretty. I learned on the job (do not recommend) but I did know immediately that narrating and I were meant for each other and we're in a committed relationship now.
How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating? Enthusiasm is not a problem. I have a constant craving for more books, the next book, especially books with new challenges - be it an emotional ask, or a topic that I don't know a lot about, or a unique style. I have had to learn to manage my expectations of what it is possible for me to do, though, and schedule accordingly, because narrating does take a tremendous amount of energy – a deceptive quantity!
What keeps narration alive for you? I think that curiosity is the attribute that will keep narration endlessly interesting for me. There is an incredible- infinite – amount of things to learn, and I'm kind of interested in everything! No matter what I'm currently narrating, I'm bound to be learning about words and origins, about obscure niche skills, possibly getting an in-depth science and research education – it's just endless, truly. I'll always be curious, and narrating audiobooks will always be teaching me. Deal.
Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you? An avid listener. I started listening to get more books in me, because efficiency – I didn't have the time to SIT and read, but I can listen to a book while I do physical outdoor work? Hallelujah. I motored through my library's Playaways, and then their entire digital collection, and then my brother and I exchanged audiobooks and then I leaned into Audible and Kobo – now I have a proper virtual TBR pile in the 100's and I feel like there will always be plenty to listen to.
Is there a particular genre you feel especially well suited for, or unsuited for? I did not expect to be suited to romance. I fell into it because I kept winning every romance I auditioned for in the early days. And now I love it. I thought I'd be non-fiction all day long, but NF represents only a small share of the market. I've settled into romance, YA (which I loooove and used to call a secret-pleasure read), and sci-fi/fantasy (which I want more more more of, but also challenges me because of the dozens of characters and big voices), with a dash of serious non-fiction that gets me very excited. I would never want to stop working in any one of these four genres- they are all so different and enjoyable for me to perform for entirely different reasons.
Have there been any characters that you really connected with? I looooove all of Linda Seed's characters. They're like a cohort of best friends – they're so real and witty and plausibly constructed, and they are healthy, self-respecting women with ambition and support networks and desires – that still have drama and crises and resolution and get happy endings. It's just lovely that her stories have so much realism and still sweep you away.
Who is your “dream author” that you would like to record for? Well gosh, Margaret Atwood. A girl could dream, right? And a richly sensual epic fantasy from Guy Gavriel Kay.
If you could narrate one book from your youth what would it be and why? One of my earliest ventures in narration was reading aloud The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on cassette tape for a friend who was going on a road trip. Ignoring the copyright infringement and how vastly unsuited I am to narrate a male Brit POV, well, I freakin' love those books.
What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”? What I'd say could not be printed. But scientists who share my opinion have tested it and sorted it out: the same areas of the brain are stimulated by the written word vs the spoken, and the retention of information is the same for auditory and visual uptake. So there.

Linda Seed is a former journalist who began writing contemporary romance in 2015 with Moonstone Beach. Her debut novel has been downloaded more than 220,000 times. Linda lives with her husband, the art writer John Seed, and their kids in the Central Coast town of Cambria, California, where all of her books are set. At a time when close personal relationships are increasingly hard to find, Linda aims to write a better world full of the love, loyalty, and companionship that we all long for.

To learn more about Linda Seed and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

Aven is an audiobook narrator living in her off-grid tiny house in rural Eastern Canada, surrounded by forest and chicken friends, and honeybees.  She loves books so much she's listening to one almost every minute she's not narrating one (she narrates romance as Avie Paige). She narrates live on Discord with other romance narrators on the Haven server.  She is longing to travel and hike in mountains again, and dreaming of sleep in the lava fields of Iceland under Northern lights again, her favorite place in the world.  Her past lives include being a carpenter, firefighter, tax accountant, and competitive snowboarder.

To learn more about Avie Paige, visit her website. You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Travis Baldree is a multi-award-winning audiobook narrator with a warm and versatile voice and a facility for character and accent. He is the voice of the best-selling Cradle series by Will Wight and over 150 other audiobooks. He narrates live almost every day on his Discord server.
Travis is also a former game developer, creator of Torchlight, Fate, & Rebel Galaxy, and co-founder of Runic and Double Damage games. Travis Baldree lives in the Western US with his family and the cutest dog.

To learn more about Travis Baldree, visit his website. You can also find him on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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