Friday, September 29, 2017

Audiobook Review: Ballad of The Beanstalk by Amy McNulty

                                     Author: Amy McNulty

Narrator: Kaitlin Descutner

Length: 5 hours 50 minutes

Publisher: Patchwork Press

Released: Jul. 18, 2017

Genre: Fantasy

As her fingers move across the strings of her family's heirloom harp, 16-year-old Clarion can forget. She doesn't dwell on the recent passing of her beloved father or the fact that her mother has just sold everything they owned, including that very same instrument that gives Clarion life. She doesn't think about how her friends treat her like a feeble, brittle thing to be protected. She doesn't worry about how to tell the elegant Elena, her best friend and first love, that she doesn't want to be her sweetheart anymore. She becomes the melody and loses herself in the song. When Mack, a lord's dashing young son, rides into town so his father and Elena's can arrange a marriage between the two youth, Clarion finds herself falling in love with a boy for the first time. Drawn to Clarion's music, Mack puts Clarion and Elena's relationship to the test, but he soon vanishes by climbing up a giant beanstalk that only Clarion has seen. When even the town witch won't help, Clarion is determined to rescue Mack herself and prove once and for all that she doesn't need protecting. But while she fancied herself a savior, she couldn't have imagined the enormous world of danger that awaits her in the kingdom of the clouds. A prequel to the fairytale Jack and the Beanstalk that reveals the true story behind the magical singing harp.


Amy McNulty is a freelance writer and editor from Wisconsin with an honors degree in English. She was first published in a national scholarly journal (The Concord Review) while in high school and currently writes professionally about everything from business marketing to anime. In her down time, you can find her crafting stories with dastardly villains and antiheroes set in fantastical medieval settings.
Narrator Bio
In 2010, I graduated from California University....of Pennsylvania (yes, you read that correctly) with a BA in Theatre and Dance. I have been a professional actress for 7 years in Columbus, OH working in both Musical Theatre shows and Dramatic plays ranging from Classic, Rock & Roll, Modern, British, American Southern, etc. I work as a Children's Theatre teacher as well as a Commercial Actress where I specialize in voice acting, photo, commercial and tutorial video work. I am interested in new projects and pursuing new opportunities. I am a big, avid reader, and listen to audio books more than the radio in my car. My favorite genres are historical fiction, fiction, nonfiction and biographies/ memoirs. This is a new endeavor for me, and I am thrilled to explore different characters through storytelling. Reading is a big passion of mine. Bring on the books!

I absolutely loved what Amy McNulty did with Ballad of The Beanstalk. At first I wasn't quite sure what to expect but WOW did she do an excellent job. Amy was able to take a children's story and turn it into an adult book, the way it twist and turned throughout the story. It made it so much better! I also really liked how there were two separate worlds but yet they were both connected to each other.

The narrator, Kaitlin Descutner did a wonderful job. The flow of the story was smooth with no mistakes. No background noises that I could hear at least. Also, the singing was phenomenal and I especially loved the harp.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it.

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

Q&A with Author Amy McNulty
  • Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
  • I work with a platform called ACX, which matches book rights holders with narrators/producers. I posted my book and Kaitlin Descutner was one of the narrators who auditioned. She’s a professional actress and she brought such life to the story! I loved working with her. She even sings! I sent her the book, we touched base on a few notes, and she produced the whole audiobook from start to finish. I checked it, we tweaked it together, and then it was ready to go!
  • Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?
  • Sometimes. Descriptive writing really helps bring a story to life. At the same time, though, I know some people who prefer listening to audiobooks to reading, and it would be a shame if they couldn’t read all sorts of books because some books lend themselves better to audiobooks than others.
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
  • I wasn’t thinking about it when writing (which I discovered was an issue during the recording/editing phase, as I didn’t make who was speaking in a scene or two clear to the narrator), but I always try to get my books made into audiobooks once they’re finished just to get them in front of another audience that might have otherwise passed by them.
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process?
  • Kaitlin did most of it on her own. After she finished the first recording, I got back to her with notes and we tweaked it together. But as far as recording and editing goes, it was all her.
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
  • I’ve always wanted to write a fairy tale YA book, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it in a way that’s never been done before. Strangely, when I was watching the Rifftrax Live performance of Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny (it had a Jack and the Beanstalk segment in there—don’t ask, ha), I was struck with the idea of doing a prequel explaining where the magic harp came from. (Since it seems to have a human figure/face in some versions.) Jack and the Beanstalk has never even been one of my favorite fairy tales, but I ran with my idea.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
  • I’m actually increasing my writing pace starting this year, so it’s odd that I’m getting less burnt out the more I work. It helped that I transition to editing more than business writing this year as a freelancer, so my creative energy doesn’t get zapped by my work before I can turn around and write. I discovered the joys of writing on a word processor this year, too. I get more words done by working on a non-glowing screen without internet access, so I’m not distracted. Still, it’s important to take breaks and not force myself to write too much every day.
  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
  • The songs! Music is essential to the story and Kaitlin made up a tune for the lyrics I wrote for a song.
  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
  • I love period dramas and classic romance books, and I’m a huge fan of fantasy and the medieval and Elizabethan eras. It’d be hard for me to choose, although I know actually living in those eras would be difficult. More likely than not, I’d be a servant or peasant, not the aristocracy that have such compelling romances in these stories!
  • If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
  • Hmm, I’m not sure! My favorite actors and actresses are probably too old to take on the roles. I think I pictured Ezra Miller for Mack, though.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
  • It’s absolutely not! Any way people can enjoy stories is legit. Audiobooks make books more accessible to both people with reading disabilities and busy people.
  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
  • I usually post a GIF of Kermit the frog waving his arms on social media. That’s how I feel when I finish a book.
  • In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series?
  • Standalones allow you to move on to the next project, but with series, you’ve already done some work establishing characters and the world. Series tend to sell more books because you may have hooked people with the first book, but on the other hand, if that first book didn’t hook many people, there’s almost no point in writing more books. Most of my books have sequel/series potential. Writing standalone is actually hard for me! Ballad of the Beanstalk is probably my first standalone where I really have no intention at all of writing a sequel to or series for.
  • What’s next for you?
  • I’m working on my romance series (written under Joy Penny) and then I have a paranormal YA series I want to publish next year.

  Top 10 List
Amy McNulty's Top 10 Books Read in 2016

  1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  2. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  3. The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
  4. Spinning Thorns by Anna Sheehan
  5. Winter by Marissa Meyer
  6. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
  7. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
  8. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling and Jack Thorne
  9. Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer
  10. This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee



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1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed reading the entire post today. This is a new author for me so thank you for the reveal!