Emily C. on Into the Darkest Corner: I’ve listened to exactly two thrillers in my life and this one – the second of the two – may have me converted to the genre. In this complex psychological thriller, Haynes creates a subtle and realistic portrait of how an abusive relationship unfolds in all its terror. Add in a pair of utterly terrific narrators, and this was seriously un-put-downable listening. And, a word for all you Fifty Shades fans: This may be the perfect antidote to Christian Grey. In case any of you ladies out there need a reminder as to why a controlling boyfriend is bad news, look no further.
Chris D. on 14: This book is absolutely, 100% engrossing and a thrill to listen to. It’s smart, it’s dark, it’s funny, it’s self-aware, it’s layered – I can’t say enough good things about Peter Clines’ story of a mysterious apartment building and its curious inhabitants who are determined to understand what’s going on around them. The pacing is fantastic, and though our heroes start out on a fun, fact-finding mission, the creeping spookiness becomes overwhelming until we find the stakes are MUCH higher than we originally thought. I haven’t listened to a “sit-in-my-car-for-an-extra-15-minutes” book in a while, so I’m really glad to have found this.
Diana D. on Beautiful Ruins: Thanks to Beautiful Ruins, Edoardo Ballerini is my new favorite narrator. His performance caught my attention right away, as the novel starts out with a description of the Cinque Terre along Italy's coast and is made even more beautiful by Ballerini's impeccable Italian. Talk about being transported away.... The book continues to captivate, telling the story of intersecting lives and flipping back and forth between present-day Hollywood and the previously mentioned Italian Rivera in the 1960s. This is a story of love, disillusionment, friendship, and the realities of responsibility that I won’t soon forget.
Emily C. on Ruby Red: I’m always on the lookout for a good cross-over YA series. They make for light and fun listening when I’m at the gym or washing dishes, or slogging through another equally un-fun but necessary activity. My latest recommendation is a book that’s already a phenomenon in Germany and made it’s US debut last year. Ok, so it’s the start of another trilogy, and sure it’s about a teen who discovers she has unknown magical powers (in this case time traveling), but don’t be deceived – this is a fresh and delightful book. Gier’s heroine is charming in her utter normalness, and she’s got a real sense of humor. Unlike the brooding Katniss, or the naive Lena, or the so-tough-she’s-almost-an-idiot Tris, Gwyneth is absolutely ..
Diana M. on Gone Girl: "Sick, twisted" were two words that the publisher used to describe Gillian Flynn's latest novel, Gone Girl. I've been meaning to try Flynn for awhile, and wow, this was some introduction. I switched back and forth between reading and listening so I could unravel the story in every spare minute I had (which had my husband asking, "What are you listening to? Fifty Shades??"). The insights Flynn has into marriages, psyches, society—and her raw, fresh voice and blindsiding plot twists—will leave your head spinning. I can't wait to dig into her previous thriller, Dark Places.
Kelly F. on Jeneration X: I've loved all of Jen's memoirs to date, and Jeneration X is no exception. Actually, it may be my new favorite (dethroning Such a Pretty Fat). Even though I'm a Gen Y-er, I tend to agree with her assessment of my generation. Jen's narration is the best thing about this audiobook. I wish she had narrated her other books as well!
David L. on The Fault in Our Stars: Sure, the protagonist is a terminal cancer patient and, yes, you will cry, but don’t let that scare you off. This is a great book, with issues, feelings, and characters we can all relate to, whether cancer has been a part of our lives or not. Writer John Green and narrator Kate Rudd together create characters that feel incredibly authentic, people I came to care about and wondered about well beyond the book’s end. So good. I will be looking for more books from both of them in the future.
Morgan M. on Born to Run: Born to Run is an amazing and captivating book, written and narrated by Christopher McDougall, about a remarkable race between our country’s greatest Ultra-Runners and the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Copper Canyons. Throughout the novel I felt the author’s frustration, understood his disappointment, and shared in his happiness. This is one of the best books I have ever listened to and is full of interesting facts about our country’s most talented runners and a culture that has lived unchanged for over 400 years. McDougall’s work has inspired me to begin training for marathons of my own!
Chris D. on Divergent: This dystopian YA hit definitely gives The Hunger Games a run for its money. The protagonist doesn’t waste time waffling or worrying about problems; she acts. The world the characters inhabit is rich yet dark: each faction is clearly defined, and though everything seems peaceful, you just know that there is so much to be uncovered. Narrator Emma Galvin provides the teen heroine with the right balance of strength and self-doubt. This was a great first entry in the series, and I’m looking forward to starting the sequel soon.
Diana M. on The Informationist: I first read The Informationist in print, and after recently revisiting it in audio, I was just as hooked as when I read it for the first time. Sitting in my parked car (while a woman outside wondered why I wasn’t getting out!) and even finishing up while working on the Hear & Now newsletter, I can see why reviewers compare heroine Vanessa Munroe to Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander. She’s tough, she’s feisty, and yet vulnerable enough that you can’t help relating to and rooting for her. I started the sequel, The Innocent, and can’t wait to get back to it.
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