Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Dreamscape Adventures, Inc. ~ Audio Book Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway!

Narrated by Matthew E. Berry
Length: 6 hours and 16 minutes
Publisher: Wanderlust Publishing
Released: July 17, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy

Workaholic insurance attorney Luke Darringer has it all: money, looks, ambition. Sure, he hasn't taken a vacation in over a decade, and his personal life is almost nonexistent - but that's a small price to pay in order to maintain strict control, and minimize his vulnerabilities. 

But then Luke's firm, with the help of his cheeky administrative assistant Charlotte, strong-arms him into becoming the first-ever client of the new Dreamscape Adventures, Inc. The new company promises fantastical vacations to wealthy clients, as well as controlled therapeutic experiences to individuals suffering from various forms of mental illness, such as autism and PTSD. They're a potentially huge client for Luke's firm, but they need liability insurance before they can get off the ground. Luke expects he'll have a quick little canyoneering adventure like he did back in his college days, and then get right back to the grindstone.

But Luke's adventure doesn't quite go the way he planned. Eli, the entrepreneur in charge, assures Luke that the glitches are nothing to worry about, and they'll have things under control again in no time. Instead, Luke soon finds himself in a wilderness of questionable reality, where he is responsible not only for his own safety, but also Charlotte's, Eli's, and that of a nonverbal autistic boy whose vulnerability strikes a bit too close to home. Forced to confront his past and his deepest fears, Luke must decide whether to rewrite history and become the man he's always wanted to be - or whether instead he is doomed to repeat it.

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HALL WAYS REVIEW: Audio Book Review:  What a premise! Dreamscape Adventures, Inc. offers its clients a virtual get-away into the fantasy world of the client’s choice. Knights in shining armor? You got it. Alien world adventure? No problem. DA can create any alternate reality experience for your pleasure – or your therapy. Since I very recently had my own, first time interactive virtual reality experience that included a showdown with Darth Vader (at the amazing VOID in Orlando), this book had great appeal.

For main character Luke, he just needs a dang vacation, though as a workaholic, he feels he really can’t afford to take the time. His get-away isn’t anything as fantastic as being a part of the Rebel Alliance – he just wants to do some canyoneering, something he enjoyed earlier in life but for which he no longer has the fitness or time to do. But since he’s tasked by his employer to check out DA and see if they are insurable, off Luke goes on his adventure.

What I expected based on the cover blurb was a virtual adventure gone wrong – technology gone amok, human survival instincts kicking in for action and adventure and danger. I was thinking Yul Brynner/Westworld. And while readers do get all of the above (sans a Yul Brynner robot), and author C.A. Gray gives readers some edge-of-your-seat moments, the real focus of Dreamscape Adventures, Inc. is relationships. Specifically, the complicated thing that is love takes center stage, which threw me for a loop.

As if navigating a hostile environment isn’t enough for Luke, what he must navigate in dealing with Charlotte, his executive assistant in the real world, is any man’s hell.  The constant peppering of questions both she and Eli, the mastermind behind Dreamscape Adventures, is any person’s nightmare. Poor, self-centered, flawed Luke doesn’t get a break from being asked how to share how he feels and being put on the spot to share his heart’s deepest desires and fears and sorrow. To top-off that torture, in a strange “This is Your Life” kind of denouement, Luke is forced to literally face his past and deal with all the pain it inflicted.  Some vacation.

“It struck him ironically how very unselfish this was.”

In Dreamscape Adventures, Inc., author C.A. Gray weaves an interesting and at times engrossing tale of the extreme measures it takes for some to re-set their lives and priorities.  With more than a few unexpected twists, the author allows readers to not only observe, but to evaluate within themselves how this overstimulating, too busy world we live in takes its toll. It explores how snap judgments, assumptions, and privilege can lead to misery and loneliness and that sometimes, intervention is the only way out.

ABOUT THE NARRATION: Matthew Berry performs each of the characters very well, so that each is unique and easily recognized. He happily has mastered voicing females, and he nails the sass, snit, and sarcasm of Charlotte perfectly. I did increase the speed to 1.25x within the first chapter, which is standard for me, so the pacing was even and perfect. There were a few peculiar pronunciations and sentence pauses, but without seeing the text, I am not sure where the fault falls. Overall, really well-done and I’d definitely listen to Berry narrate again.

Thank you to Audiobookworm Promotions and the author for providing me a digital audio book in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give.  
I received this audio book as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by C.A. Gray. The gifting of this audio book did not affect my opinion of it.

By day, C.A. Gray is a Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD) with a primary care practice in Tucson, AZ, and she writes medical books under her real name (Dr. Lauren Deville). She lives with her husband, with whom she maintains a facetiously contentious movie review blog, and travels as often as they can get away. When not writing or seeing patients, she does yoga, drinks red wine while eating dark chocolate, and consumes audiobooks like there’s no tomorrow!

Narrator Bio

Matthew has been very active in his career as a radiologic technologist, but something was nagging at him. His urging to be involved with the written word. The medical journals he wrote did not fill the desire for the kind of words he wanted to be a part of. He had always considered himself a writer. But one that often had difficulties completing the story. So, how else could he be involved? Matthew began listening to audio books and decided in 2017 that he was going to give it a try.

He now has nine audio book projects on sale at Amazon, Audible, and iTunes with two projects in the works.
$25 Amazon Gift Card
Runs Aug. 27th-Sep. 3rd⎮Open internationally
Dreamscape Adventures, Inc. Giveaway: $25 Amazon Gift Card

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