Welcome to Brian’s Book Blog’s weekly New and Notable Audiobooks Post for the Week of July 4th.
Comment below on any I missed or what you’re excited about!
Authors, narrators, producers, and publishers — any of the books featured here are prime candidates for review.
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NPC by Jeremy Robinson
Narrated by R.C. Bray & Jeffrey Kafer
Is your life real or is the world you live in a simulation? Are the people you call friends and neighbors living beings with inalienable rights, or are they NPCs – Non-Player Characters – whose soulless path through life is predetermined?
Samael Crane, a brilliant scientist, believes NPCs are all around us. And he can prove it.
When a body is discovered in the bay off Essex, Massachusetts, small town pastor and former Marine plagued by doubts, Ezekiel Ford finds himself called in to identify the deceased. His history is unknown. His full name is a mystery. No one knows where he came from. In fact, Ezekiel seems to be the only person in town who ever really noticed him, living on the fringe of reality, and sometimes in the homeless shelter supported by his church.
Ezekiel’s involvement in the case doesn’t go unnoticed by Samael, who has set out to prove – through deadly means – that NPCs exist, that reality is simulated, and that ‘God’ is a coder with a grudge. The two men’s missions become inextricably entwined, leading them down a path through the gray area between good and evil, science and religion, and reality and simulation, barreling toward a truth that will change the world and humankind’s place in it forever.
New York Times and number one Audible.com best-selling author Jeremy Robinson takes listeners on a journey that is not only action-packed, but full of scientific and philosophical intrigue. In his most mind-bending story since Infinite and Alter, Robinson blends genres, belief systems, and bold prose into an unputdownable tale exploring the nature of reality.
In the audiobook edition he is joined by number one Audible.com best-selling narrators, R.C. Bray and Jeffrey Kafer, creating a truly one-of-a-kind listening experience.
Mountain of Mars by Glynn Stewart
Narrated by Jeffrey Kafer
The Mage-King of Mars is dead. Chaos rocks Olympus Mons. A new monarch must rise – but she does not stand alone!
As the celebration of the victory at Legatus cools, a shuttle accident claims the lives of the Mage-King of Mars and his heir. The Crown and the Mountain fall to the Mage-King’s daughter, 16-year-old Kiera Alexander. She recalls Damien Montgomery, her father’s First Hand, to stand as her Lord Regent.
The pair are unprepared to govern but are thrust into the heart of Protectorate politics as the Mage-King had left behind everything from an unfinished war to an incomplete new Constitution.
Even as they get a handle on the list Kiera’s father left them, Damien is grimly certain of one thing: when it comes to the deaths of Kings, he doesn’t believe in accidents.
Ignorance Is Strength by John Joseph Adams – editor, Hugh Howey – editor and contributor, Christie Yant – editor
Narrated by Paul Boehmer, Gabrielle de Cuir, Susan Hanfield, Janina Edwards, Justin Eyre, Kathe Mazur, Stefan Rudnicki, Mirron Willis, Judy Young, full cast
Blackstone Publishing and Skyboat Media, Inc.
War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
George Orwell once wrote of a world where abuse of power begins with an abuse of language and a bastardization of truth. Some of today’s most exciting voices in speculative fiction explore the ramifications of those ideas in Ignorance Is Strength.
The Dystopia Triptych is a series of three anthologies of dystopian fiction. Ignorance Is Strength – before the dystopia – focuses on society during its descent into absurdity and madness. Burn the Ashes – during the dystopia – turns its attention to life during the strangest, most dire times. Or Else the Light – after the dystopia – concludes the saga with each author sharing their own vision of how we as a society might crawl back from the precipice of despair.
Ignorance Is Strength features all-new, never-before-published works by the following authors, in order of appearance: Carrie Vaughn, Tim Pratt, Rich Larson, Cadwell Turnbull, Karin Lowachee, Adam-Troy Castro, Caroline M. Yoachim, Hugh Howey, An Owomoyela, Seanan McGuire, Dominica Phetteplace, Alex Irvine, Tobias S. Buckell, Scott Sigler, Darcie Little Badger, Violet Allen, and Merc Fenn Wolfmoor.
The Human Son by Adrian J. Walker
Narrated by Alison O’Donnell
Penguin Audio and Rebellion Publishing
Five hundred years in the future, earth is no longer populated by humans.
The new guardians of Earth, the genetically engineered Erta, have reversed climate change. They are now faced with a dilemma; if they reintroduce the rebellious and violent Homo sapiens, all of their work will be undone.
They decide to raise one final child, a sole human to help decide if humanity should again inherit the Earth.
But the quiet and clinical Ima finds that there is more to raising a human than she had expected and that there is more to humanity’s history than she has been told.
Blue Ticket by Sophie Mackintosh
Narrated by Freya Mavor
Random House Audio
“The cool intensity and strange beauty of Blue Ticket is a wonder – be sure to read everything Sophie Mackintosh writes.” (Deborah Levy, author of Hot Milk and The Man Who Saw Everything)
From the author of the Man Booker Prize-longlisted novel The Water Cure (“ingenious and incendiary” [The New Yorker]) comes another mesmerizing, refracted vision of our society: What if the life you’re given is the wrong one?
Calla knows how the lottery works. Everyone does. On the day of your first bleed, you report to the station to learn what kind of woman you will be. A white ticket grants you marriage and children. A blue ticket grants you a career and freedom. You are relieved of the terrible burden of choice. And once you’ve taken your ticket, there is no going back. But what if the life you’re given is the wrong one?
When Calla, a blue ticket woman, begins to question her fate, she must go on the run. But her survival will be dependent on the very qualities the lottery has taught her to question in herself and on the other women the system has pitted against her. Pregnant and desperate, Calla must contend with whether or not the lottery knows her better than she knows herself and what that might mean for her child.
An urgent inquiry into free will, social expectation, and the fraught space of motherhood, Blue Ticket is electrifying in its raw evocation of desire and riveting in its undeniable familiarity.
Find Me by Anne Frasier
Narrated by Erin Bennett
A bone-chilling family history is unearthed in a heart-stopping thriller by New York Times bestselling author Anne Frasier.
Convicted serial killer Benjamin Fisher has finally offered to lead San Bernardino detective Daniel Ellis to the isolated graves of his victims. One catch: he’ll only do it if FBI profiler Reni Fisher, his estranged daughter, accompanies them. As hard as it is to exhume her traumatic childhood, Reni can’t say no. She still feels complicit in her father’s crimes.
Perfect to play a lost little girl, Reni was the bait to lure unsuspecting women to their deaths. It’s time for closure. For her. For the families. And for Daniel. He shares Reni’s obsession with the past. Ever since he was a boy, he’s been convinced that his mother was one of Fisher’s victims.
Thirty years of bad memories are flooding back. A master manipulator has gained their trust. For Reni and Daniel, this isn’t the end of a nightmare. It’s only the beginning.
One Last Lie by Paul Doiron
Narrated by Henry Leyva
The disappearance of Mike Bowditch’s beloved mentor reveals an ominous connection to a 15-year-old cold case in One Last Lie, the new thriller from best-selling Edgar Award finalist Paul Doiron.
“Never trust a man without secrets.” These are the last words retired game warden Charley Stevens speaks to his surrogate son, Warden Investigator Mike Bowditch, before the old man vanishes without explanation. Mike suspects his friend’s mysterious departure has to do with an antique warden badge that recently resurfaced at a flea market – a badge connected to a cold case from Charley’s past that the Maine Warden Service would rather forget.
Fifteen years ago, a young warden was sent on an undercover mission to infiltrate a notorious poaching ring and never returned. He was presumed dead, but his body was never recovered. Mike is desperate to find Charley before he meets a similar fate. His investigation brings him to the miles of forest and riverside towns along the Canadian border – but he soon learns that even his fellow wardens have secrets to keep. And Charley’s past isn’t the only one coming to light; his daughter, Stacey, has resurfaced to search for her missing father, and Mike must grapple with the return of the woman he once thought was gone forever.
Forced to question his faith in the man he sees as a father, Mike must reopen a cold case that powerful people – one of whom may be a killer – will do anything to keep closed.
A Macmillan Audio production from Minotaur Books
Ask Me Anything by P.Z. Reizin
Narrated by Lucy Price-Lewis, Mark Meadows
From the author of Happiness for Humans, a romantic comedy for the technology age: A young woman unlucky in love gets a little help from the most unlikely of places to find her perfect match.
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone had a team of smart machines to handle all the messy emotional stuff? When you consider how many quadrillions of hours of human drudgery have been eradicated by the invention of only the dishwasher, the washing machine and (ahem) the fridge freezer, is it absurd to imagine a scenario in which household appliances bring the same – yes! – genius to bear on the slow-motion car crash that is (for many young people) the romantic side of their lives? If they are content to leave their dishes, dirty linen, and food refrigeration to smart technology, how much of a stretch is it for machines to take care of their emotional needs?
Chloe and Daisy Parsloe only have each other, since Daisy’s dad left for sunnier climes and a new family. But now Daisy is in her early 30s, she’s not doing brilliantly at work, her love life is haphazard (to put it kindly), and her elderly mum seems to be losing her mind…. Daisy is also the proud possessor of a smart fridge, which keeps trying to help Daisy sort out her life by sending her texts to tell her that she’s out of milk or that the pasta salad has gone out of date. What Daisy doesn’t know is that her smart fridge, like her smart toothbrush, microwave, TV, fitness tracker, and laptop, all want to help her smooth out her chaotic existence – and help her mother, Mrs. Parsloe, stay independently living at home. Operation Daisy is about to make both the Parsloes’ lives much, much happier.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Narrated by Frankie Corzo
Random House Audio
An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic artistocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets….
From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes “a terrifying twist on classic gothic horror” (Kirkus Reviews) set in glamorous 1950s Mexico – “fans of classic novels like Jane Eyre and Rebecca are in for a suspenseful treat” (PopSugar).
After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find – her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.
And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.
Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan
Narrated by Lydia Look
Random House Audio
The iconic author of the best-selling phenomenon Crazy Rich Asians returns with the glittering tale of a young woman who finds herself torn between two men: the WASP-y fiancé of her family’s dreams and George Zao, the man she is desperately trying to avoid falling in love with.
On her very first morning on the jewel-like island of Capri, Lucie Churchill sets eyes on George Zao and she instantly can’t stand him. She can’t stand it when he gallantly offers to trade hotel rooms with her so that she can have the view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she can’t stand that he knows more about Curzio Malaparte than she does, and she really can’t stand it when he kisses her in the darkness of the ancient ruins of a Roman villa and they are caught by her snobbish, disapproving cousin, Charlotte. “Your mother is Chinese so it’s no surprise you’d be attracted to someone like him”, Charlotte teases. Daughter of an American-born-Chinese mother and blue-blooded New York father, Lucie has always sublimated the Asian side of herself in favor of the white side, and she adamantly denies having feelings for George.
But several years later, when George unexpectedly appears in East Hampton where Lucie is weekending with her new fiancé, Lucie finds herself drawn to George again. Soon, Lucy is spinning a web of deceit that involves her family, her fiancé, the co-op board of her Fifth Avenue apartment, and ultimately herself as she tries mightily to deny George entry into her world – and her heart.
Moving between summer playgrounds of privilege, peppered with decadent food and extravagant fashion, Sex and Vanity is a truly modern love story, a daring homage to A Room with a View, and a brilliantly funny comedy of manners set between two cultures.
The Lending Library by Aliza Fogelson
Narrated by Cris Dukehart
A heartwarming debut novel about a daydreamer who gives her town, and herself, an amazing gift: a lending library in her sunroom.
When the Chatsworth library closes indefinitely, Dodie Fairisle loses her sanctuary. How is a small-town art teacher supposed to cope without the never-ending life advice and enjoyment that books give her? Well, when she’s as resourceful and generous as Dodie, she turns her sunroom into her very own little lending library.
At first just a hobby, this lit lovers’ haven opens up her world in incredible ways. She knows books are powerful, and soon enough they help her forge friendships between her zany neighbors – and attract an exciting new romance.
But when the chance to adopt an orphaned child brings Dodie’s secret dream of motherhood within reach, everything else suddenly seems less important. Finding herself at a crossroads, Dodie must figure out what it means to live a full, happy life. If only there were a book that could tell her what to do….
Empire Earth: A Space Opera Boxed Set by Chris Pourteau, David Bruns
Narrated by Bronson Pinchot
The Expanse meets The Godfather in Empire Earth (The Complete Trilogy): A Space Opera Boxed Set. Three full Books. 1,000 pages of space opera filled with intrigue, betrayal, and high-octane action that will keep you turning pages long into the night.
Book 1: Valhalla Station
Harmony. Security. Obedience. Three decades ago, the Syndicate Corporation saved Earth from climate catastrophe. Now the Company runs the solar system like a well-oiled machine. Its citizens work Sol under rule of corporate law, every aspect of their lives regulated from cradle to grave. Some call that slavery. But does mankind really want to be freed?
Book 2: Masada’s Gate
Cult leader Cassandra Kisaan and her Soldiers of the Solar Revolution claim humanity deserves better than indentured servitude under the Syndicate Corporation. Determined to end SynCorp, she attacks Company assets on multiple fronts across the Sol System. Taking Masada Station, where the Company secures its tech secrets, will ensure her final victory. But Enforcer Stacks Fischer and a band of SynCorp loyalists stand in her way…
Book 3: Serpent’s Fury
The struggle for the Company’s survival comes home to where it all began: Earth. SynCorp and SSR starships prepare for a final, bloody engagement above mankind’s birthplace and the seat of the largest corporate empire in history. Meanwhile, planetside, another fight rages against Cassandra herself. The decisive battle for mankind’s soul has yet to be decided on the ground or among the stars.
Who will live? Who will die? What fate awaits humanity when the dust of battle clears? Buy this Special Edition Boxed Set to experience a sci-fi thrill ride that keeps accelerating, right up to the very end.