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There's no question why Water for Elephants ranks at the top of the AudibleEssentials list. It's one of those books that comes alive through the voice of the narrators. John Randolph Jones gives a realistically haunting performance as Jacob Jankowski in his nineties while David LeDoux brings passion and innocence to the younger Jacob as he ventures through the fascinating world of a Prohibition-Era circus.
This quirky debut novel by Marie-Helene Bertino is just the right mix of despair and optimism. Set in downtown Philadelphia, the story unfolds the morning of Christmas Eve Eve and follows the interconnected lives of three charming but flawed characters over the next 24-hours. There’s Madeleine, a smart-mouthed and talented nine-year-old who recently lost her mother; Sarina, her newly divorced fifth grade teacher; and Lorca, the forlorn owner of the once legendary jazz club The Cat’s Pajamas. The events of the day gradually weave the characters closer together until they finally intersect during one unforgettable late night rendezvous at the city’s #2 jazz club. 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas packs both heart and punches and is sure to delight readers and book clubs alike.
Don’t let the cover fool you, Me Before You is a gut-wrenching original novel that will repeatedly tug at your heart and then stomp all over it – only to leave you coming back for more. In this thought-provoking story, Jojo Moyes has painted unforgettable characters that are honest and captivating, challenged with the impossible, and brought to life by a brilliant multicast performance.
Elizabeth Is Missing is a captivating and original debut novel from author Emma Healey. It’s told from the perspective of Maud, a lovable but forgetful 82-year-old woman whose grip on reality is slowly slipping away. She’s convinced herself that her friend Elizabeth has gone missing, and sets out on a scattered crusade to uncover the truth behind the disappearance. As Maud’s memory of the present fades, her past becomes more vivid and soon her efforts to find Elizabeth uncover clues to the mystery of her sister Sukey’s disappearance more than half a century earlier. The story comes together in the form of a methodically crafted jigsaw puzzle – sporadically transitioning from past to present and fully immersing the listener into the fragmented and terrifying experience of dementia.
One Man Guy is a dazzling coming-of-age tale about embracing your roots while discovering who you really are. Fourteen-year-old Alek Kherderian comes from a traditional Armenian family. He quietly goes through life following the rules until his suburban world is suddenly turned upside down by a surprise friendship with his classmate Ethan, who opens his eyes to a world Alek can't help but know he was always meant to be a part of. With the help of a few New York City adventures, a sprinkling of Rufus Wainwright lyrics, and some mouth-watering Armenian dishes, Alek soon discovers himself, love, and acceptance in the most unexpected places.
Michael Chernus expertly narrates the young teenage protagonist - his voice balancing shy hesitation with bold confidence at all the right moments. One Man Guy is a book so heartwarming and adorable you'll want to nuzzle it long after you're through.
This book warmed my heart. Auggie's character is honest and loveable, showing courage and perception well beyond his years. Wonder develops through the viewpoints of multiple characters - each captured through a unique and fitting voice - adding depth and personality to a beautifully written story of family, friendship, acceptance, and the never-ending struggle to fit in.
The multi-cast narration was spectacular, bringing the complex characters to life in all their flawed glory.
I was immediately drawn to Arthur Opp. He's loveable in his tragic loneliness and I found myself rooting for him to open up and celebrating his tiny steps forward.
I've listened to Kirby Heyborne in 'Gone Girl', and his performance in Heft was equally gripping. This was my first listen from Keith Szarabajka and he's now on my radar.
The Husband's Secret offers a carefully woven tale of three Australian women whose lives intersect and unfold in truly dramatic fashion. The characters are developed at length and the build-up is a bit slow, but Moriarty paints each role with unique charm and wit. Admittedly, it isn't hard to figure out the contents of the letter long before Cecilia opens it, but the ending is full of twists and turns that surely nobody can predict.
Absolutely! Nothing compares to Rob Lowe reading his own work. He's a superb storyteller and his voice adds that extra bit of flavor you can only get from the audio edition.
'Along the Way' by Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez
If you aren't yet a Rob Lowe fan, you will be after finishing this book. Rob (see, I can call him that because we're friends now) opens up to divulge raw and personal glimpses of his fascinating life. I was hooked from the start, and am eagerly awaiting the release of his next one in 2014.
Beat the Reaper was non-stop action and adrenaline from start to finish, and Robert Petkoff's edgy voice kept up with the tempo. As much as I wanted to love this book, I found the 'protagonist' Peter Brown a bit hard to root for, and the action-packed, mob-themed plot line stretched just beyond my boundaries of suspended disbelief.
This is not a feel-good story. Laney Brooks is selfish, self-destructive, and twisted. However, the raw honesty of her character kept me (mostly) on her side while providing a dark glimpse into the seedy underbelly of a struggling housewife's facade.
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