Rachel Kenney and Jesse Vilinsky each deliver spellbinding interpretations of Alice McDermott's superb new novel. Set primarily in 1960s Vietnam, the audiobook explores the lives of wives-- "helpmeets"--who accompanied their American husbands to a country on the brink of war. Through a series of letters written years later, we hear first from Patricia, a naïve New Yorker swept... Read More
A cast of stellar narrators bring this adaptation of Wells's sci-fi thriller to new heights. The apathetic security robot self-dubbed "Murderbot" is tasked with protecting a team of human scientists on a remote planetary mission. Unbeknownst to the scientists, Murderbot has hacked its own system, gaining control of the modules that govern its behaviors. And it's a good thing it... Read More
Oliver Wyman affects a sly, off-kilter tone to deliver O'Brien's funny/sad take on Trumpland as COVID-19 infects America. Wyman's portrayal of Boyd Halverson, a former journalist and retail worker, is characterized by a sense of forlornness as the standard crime-caper plot unfolds. Boyd walks into a bank and demands $300,000. He gets $81,000 and the teller, Angie Bing, in the... Read More
Author/narrator Travis Baldree returns with a prequel to LEGENDS & LATTES, set 20 years earlier. Viv, a mercenary orc, has been injured in a campaign against a necromancer and needs to heal. Looking for distraction, Viv hangs out in a run-down bookstore owned by a foulmouthed rattkin and discovers a love of reading, some good friends, and a little romance. Baldree introduces... Read More
More than 10 years have passed since listeners first adventured with Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Narrator Jesse Bernstein doesn't disappoint as he returns in this sixth installment. Percy is just trying to get through his senior year without incident, but if he wants to attend college, he must complete three quests to obtain the required reference letters from Mount... Read More
Four gifted narrators bring listeners this holiday treat told through emails. A dozen members of the Fairway Players, an English amateur theater group, discuss their upcoming pantomime of "Jack and the Beanstalk." Their emails reveal the essence of each writer--their subtle power grabs, petty jealousies, and barely concealed hatreds. With so many characters, it could have been... Read More
One lonely Christmas night, Emma reads the diary of a fellow student she invited to her family's English manor house for the holidays 30 years before. Narrator Esther Wane uses a vague American accent for Ashley's diary and captures her wide-eyed pleasure at the gothic setting she feels she's been transported to. Ashley falls for Adam, Emma's troubled brother, who is suspected... Read More
Slow down and sink into these beautiful meditations on the natural world around us. Margaret Renkl's syrupy Southern voice and measured rhythm are perfect for her essays and praise songs on everything from foxes to tadpoles to walking in the rainy woods. As Renkl unfolds a year exploring the environment around her Nashville home week by week, season by season, she demonstrates... Read More
Gary Furlong and Shakira Shute narrate dual points of view in alternating chapters to great effect in this academic fantasy novel. Toni Frutin adds to the magic with eerily drawn-out readings of the "Song of the Drowned Gods." A college student who is studying lunar magic, Emory, portrayed by Shute, is left to figure out her new magical skills after a horrific night at the... Read More
Julianne Moore performs this pandemic novel told in three sections. Each section is set on April 5th of a different year. In 2019, we meet Isabel; her husband, Dan; and her brother, Robbie--who are all living together in New York City with Isabel and Dan's two children. Each section reveals more about the family members, weaving together the threads of their lives. Cunningham... Read More
Barton Welch brings the perfect narrative touches to this mystery set on a train ride through Australia. The Aussie-accented performance adds a comedic touch to the presentation without overdoing it, keeping a fine balance throughout. Ernest Cunningham is on the train to participate in a crime-writing festival. There are backbiting and jealousies among the attendees, and then... Read More
Alan Carlson delivers this intense account of a massive fire with controlled urgency. His slight Canadian accent adds to the narration. He measures his delivery, deliberately paces the stories, and unspools the remarkable trajectory of the wildfire that ultimately engulfed one million and a half acres, burned for 15 months, and caused the evacuation of around 90,000 residents... Read More
A dual narration defines the alternating viewpoints and brings out the contrasts, humor, and high jinks in this YA queer medieval rom-com. Sarah Ovens’s crisp delivery depicts the temperament of the rule-bound Gwendoline, princess of England. There are moments, however, when Ovens’s more emotional tones reflect Gwen’s heartstrong feelings; her disdain for the irresponsible Lord... Read More
This audiobook puts into practice the idea that speaking quietly can have a more significant impact than shouting. Ward herself provides the quiet, gentle voice that tells the story of Annis, a young slave. With a patient, calm delivery, Ward narrates Annis's journey from North Carolina to New Orleans, and, while her tribulations are heartbreaking in themselves, somehow Ward's... Read More
This is a nuanced, opinionated memoir written and narrated by one of the greatest entertainers ever, EGOT-winning Barbra Streisand. While the early chapters sound a bit tentative, she comes into her own quickly. Her voice is in a lower register than in many of her most famous recordings, and listeners will likely be charmed by the conversational style of both her prose and... Read More
Lauren Ambrose returns as narrator of this sequel to Prose's first wildly popular cozy mystery, THE MAID. Ambrose is a charming actor and performs here with enthusiasm and heart, clearly wishing our heroine Molly well as she copes with (gasp) another murder at the fancy hotel where she is now head of housekeeping. Molly is neurodivergent and knows it. Hers is the voice of one... Read More
TV host and political commentator Rachel Maddow shines at framing the backstory of current American politics in her latest audiobook, narrated in her signature forthright style. Building on her award-winning podcast, "Ultra," Maddow lays out the historical seditionist plot to, not only keep the U.S. out of WWII, but also to convince Americans that the Nazi attacks against Jews... Read More
Actor Allan Corduner dazzles listeners with his spellbinding narration of this lovely fable. The first tale in a series called the Norendy Tales features a set of anthropomorphized puppets: a king, a wolf, a girl, and a boy. They belonged to a sea captain, and after his death they end up in the hands of two sisters. As the story unfolds, the puppets bicker with each other... Read More
Journey deep into the Mexican jungle with narrator Frankie Corzo as she brings to life two rival archaeologists. Dr. Socorro "Corrie" Mejía thinks she has landed the archeology dig of a lifetime when she is invited to search for the long-lost remains of an ancient warrior of the Aztec empire--who may just be her ancestor. However, in order to be successful she must team up with... Read More
Aden Hakimi and Feodor Chin narrate this heartfelt second-chance romance about two 40-something men in small-town Florida. Hakimi portrays Eli, a trans man who returns to his much-disliked hometown for Christmas after a career implosion. While his pacing is sometimes a bit forced, he captures Eli's biting humor, resigned anger, and cautious bubbling hope. Chin shines as Nick,... Read More
Samantha Tan masterfully narrates a complex story set in Malaya during the British and Japanese occupations. The novel centers around Cecily and her children, Abel, Jujube, and Jasmin, as they navigate life under colonial rule and later, under harsh Japanese control. Initially a spy against British rule, Cecily dreams of an "Asia for Asians." However, the grim reality of life... Read More
What happens when Murderbot has a mental breakdown and can no longer reliably perform its duties? Kevin R. Free narrates the latest installment in the Murderbot Diaries. In a story taking place immediately after NETWORK EFFECT, Murderbot, ART, and their associated humans continue to assist colonists on a planet marked for corporate salvage. Free's depiction of Murderbot's... Read More
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith's narrating tone is soft and gentle as she recounts the many questions and frustrations she faces as she pieces together her lineage, examines insidious racism, and confronts oppression. The 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States extols the tenderness of her father, who achieved success in the military through his persistence and... Read More
Author Cheryl Strayed traces her emotions in both the text and narration of her short memoir, which revolves around the death of her mother-in-law, Joan. From the start, irony is emblematic of their relationship. Their first meeting is in a bar, where Strayed, a 27-year-old waitress, guesses--wrongly--which one of a trio of women is the mother of her boyfriend. She covers a lot... Read More
Former First Lady Michelle Obama narrates this fresh production of Maurice Sendak's classic story. Young Max, having been exiled to his room for behaving like a wild thing, sails away to become the king of all wild things. After leading his subjects in a Wild Rumpus, he decides to return home to his supper and someone who loves him best of all. Mrs. Obama's performance is... Read More
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