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New 2016 Featured Audiobook Reviews

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BLOOD FOR BLOOD

BLOOD FOR BLOOD Wolf by Wolf, Book 2

Earphones Award Winner

by Ryan Graudin | Read by Christa Lewis

Hachette Audio
Young Adult

Christa Lewis, who narrated Graudin's first WWII alt-history, WOLF BY WOLF, narrates this companion. Lewis immediately picks up the dramatically intensity she built at the end of the first audiobook. Shape-shifting Yael's murder of a doppelganger Hitler has been discovered. The police track Yael while brutally torturing her companion, Felix. Lewis creates tension anew, and it... Read More

A BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS

A BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS

Earphones Award Winner

by Matt Haig | Read by Stephen Fry

Listening Library
Children

Narrator Stephen Fry delivers a heartwarming and spirited performance in this fresh production on the origins of Christmas rituals. Fry's dynamic narration brings out the humor as well as the heartache in young protagonist Nikolas, who sets off on an adventure to find his father and stumbles upon a mystical elf kingdom. Fry's hearty range of voices expresses not only Nikolas's... Read More

THE CHEMIST

THE CHEMIST

Earphones Award Winner

by Stephenie Meyer | Read by Ellen Archer

Hachette Audio
Romantic Fiction

If you've ever avoided pressing the play button for fear a favorite character won't survive the chapter, this audiobook isn't going to be comfortable listening. Early on, narrator Ellen Archer signals that Meyer's characters are on borrowed time. Alex--not her real name--is being hunted by the government that once lauded her for her ability to interrogate terrorists with... Read More

CHRISTMAS STORIES

CHRISTMAS STORIES

Earphones Award Winner

by Charles Dickens | Read by David Timson

Naxos AudioBooks
Classics

Dickens's four Christmas-themed novellas display the author's strengths and weaknesses; David Timson enhances the strengths and strengthens the weaknesses, such as sentimentality and overplayed emotions. When Dickens is excessive, Timson is, too, but he manages to carry it off. He alone is an entire cast, with only female characters occasionally not fully convincing. He not... Read More

FAITHFUL

FAITHFUL

Earphones Award Winner

by Alice Hoffman | Read by Amber Tamblyn

Simon & Schuster Audio
Fiction

Amber Tamblyn's crisp, emphatic narration draws the listener into Hoffman's latest novel. Listeners follow Shelby Richmond as she emerges from the horrors of a life-changing accident and learns to feel, live, and love again. Hoffman's trademark lyrical language and touches of magic, along with Tamblyn's assured reading, elevate the overly familiar coming-of-age tropes and... Read More

NIGHT SCHOOL

NIGHT SCHOOL Jack Reacher, Book 21

by Lee Child | Read by Dick Hill

Random House Audio
Mystery & Suspense

Narrator Dick Hill's gruff, laconic voice continues to be a pitch-perfect match for swaggering hero Jack Reacher. In 1996, Reacher is on active duty with the Army and has ostensibly been sent away on a bureaucratic assignment. But it's really a covert mission to stop a terrorist cell in Germany. Reacher must find "The American," an unidentified man on the verge of making a... Read More

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR

Earphones Award Winner

by Nicola Yoon | Read by Bahni Turpin, Raymond Lee, Dominic Hoffman

Listening Library
Young Adult

This trio of narrators turns the alternating voices in this story into a terrific audio. Bahni Turpin emphasizes the raw, seething emotions of Natasha, a Jamaican teen who is in the U.S. illegally. Natasha has only one day to avoid being deported. Into her day walks Korean-American Daniel, portrayed by Raymond Lee. Lee's narration begins calmly but soon shows how Daniel is... Read More

SWING TIME

SWING TIME

Earphones Award Winner

by Zadie Smith | Read by Pippa Bennett-Warner

Penguin Audio
Fiction

Zadie Smith's writing takes center stage in this exceptional novel of tenuous friendships, racial and gender politics, and the complexity of family relationships. Smith's language etches precise incidents, characters, and places, all heightened by Pippa Bennett-Warner's appealing husky voice and spot-on narration. Two black girls meet, recognize themselves in each other, and... Read More

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS A Christmas Novel

by Debbie Macomber | Read by Suzanne Elise Freeman

Random House Audio
Romantic Fiction

Narrator Suzanne Elise Freeman conveys Macomber's yearly Christmas present to her fans with bubbly warmth. Listeners will share the joy of the season in Seattle, Washington, in this seamlessly paced rendition. Julia Paddon's grouchy neighbor, Cain Maddox, annoys her to no end. A friend advises Julia to kill him with kindness. Julia decides to blog about her interactions with... Read More

VICTORIA THE QUEEN

VICTORIA THE QUEEN An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire

Earphones Award Winner

by Julia Baird | Read by Lucy Rayner

HighBridge Audio
Biography & Memoir

With impeccable phrasing and a voice rich with the style and color of nineteenth-century England, narrator Lucy Rayner captures the essence of Queen Victoria. She was Great Britain's longest reigning monarch until the contemporary Queen Elizabeth broke that record. Rayner creates mystery and intrigue with her performance of Victoria's mother, who plotted to become regent should... Read More

WALK THROUGH WALLS

WALK THROUGH WALLS A Memoir

by Marina Abramovic | Read by Marina Abramovic

Random House Audio
Biography & Memoir

Artist Marina Abramovic narrates this memoir documenting her life and 50 years of performance art. Her Yugoslavian-accented English and unique phrasing patterned with starts and stops make this listening experience as distinctive as Abramovic's art. Her smoky-voiced, even-toned reading balances the often horrific accounts of her abusive childhood, world travels, spiritual... Read More

WHAT LIGHT

WHAT LIGHT

by Jay Asher | Read by Mandy Siegfried

Listening Library
Young Adult

Listeners follow the story of Sierra, a high school junior who feels like she's living two lives. Her family owns a Christmas tree farm in Oregon, but every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas they move to California to sell their trees at the lot they've owned for 30 years. Narrator Mandy Siegfried portrays Sierra as she tries to balance her life in both places.... Read More

THE WHOLE TOWN'S TALKING

THE WHOLE TOWN'S TALKING Elmwood Springs, Book 4

by Fannie Flagg | Read by Kimberly Farr

Random House Audio
Fiction

Kimberly Farr maintains narrative drive as Flagg's book follows several generations of a town's residents from 1889 to 2020. The story begins in 1889, when Swedish immigrant Lordor Nordstrom founds the town of Elmwood Springs, Missouri. It's easy to be lulled into thinking this is a typical idealistic story of old times--until the older generation begins to pass away, to be... Read More

THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE

THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE

Earphones Award Winner

by Michael Connelly | Read by Titus Welliver

Hachette Audio
Mystery & Suspense

Narrator Titus Welliver has developed a great voice for detective Harry Bosch over several titles, and here again in twin investigations that touch on Bosch's family, especially his daughter, Maddie. While working on a serial rapist "screen cutter" case in the small community of San Fernando, Bosch is asked by a reclusive aviation billionaire to find an heir who may or may not... Read More

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