Welcome to Brian’s Book Blog’s weekly New and Notable Audiobooks Post for the Week of May 29th.
Comment below on any I missed or what you’re excited about!
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Impostor Syndrome by Kathy Wang
Narrated by Lauren Fortgang
A sharp and prescient novel about women in the workplace, the power of Big Tech, and the looming threat of foreign espionage from Kathy Wang, “a skilled satirist of the northern California dream” (Harper’s Bazaar)
In 2006, Julia Lerner is living in Moscow, a recent university graduate in computer science, when she’s recruited by Russia’s largest intelligence agency. By 2018, she’s in Silicon Valley as COO of Tangerine, one of America’s most famous technology companies. In between her executive management (make offers to promising start-ups, crush them and copy their features if they refuse); self promotion (check out her latest op-ed in the WSJ, on Work/Life Balance 2.0); and work in gender equality (transfer the most annoying females from her team), she funnels intelligence back to the motherland. But now Russia’s asking for more, and Julia’s getting nervous.
Alice Lu is a first generation Chinese American whose parents are delighted she’s working at Tangerine (such a successful company!). Too bad she’s slogging away in the lower echelons, recently dumped, and now sharing her expensive two-bedroom apartment with her cousin Cheri, a perennial “founder’s girlfriend”. One afternoon, while performing a server check, Alice discovers some unusual activity, and now she’s burdened with two powerful but distressing suspicions: Tangerine’s privacy settings aren’t as rigorous as the company claims they are, and the person abusing this loophole might be Julia Lerner herself.
The closer Alice gets to Julia, the more Julia questions her own loyalties. Russia may have placed her in the Valley, but she’s the one who built her career; isn’t she entitled to protect the lifestyle she’s earned? Part enthralling cat-and-mouse chase, part sharp and hilarious satire, Impostor Syndrome is a shrewdly observed examination of women in tech, Silicon Valley hubris, and the rarely fulfilled but ever-attractive promise of the American Dream.
Reset by Sarina Dahlan
Narrated by Shiromi Arserio
Can you love someone you don’t remember?
After the Last War destroyed most of the world, survivors form a new society in four self-sustaining cities in the Mojave Desert. In the utopia of the Four Cities, inspired by the lyrics of “Imagine” and Buddhist philosophy, everything is carefully planned and controlled: the seasons, the weather – and the residents. To prevent mankind from destroying each other again, its citizens undergo a memory wipe every four years in a process called tabula rasa, a blank slate, to remove learned prejudices. With each new cycle, they begin again with new names, jobs, homes, and lives. No memories. No attachments. No wars.
Aris, a scientist who shuns love, embraces tabula rasa and the excitement of unknown futures. Walling herself off from emotional attachments, she sees relationships as pointless and avoids deep connections. But she is haunted by a recurring dream that becomes more frequent and vivid as time passes. After meeting Benja, a handsome free-spirited writer who believes his dreams of a past lover are memories, her world is turned upside down. Obsessed with finding the Dreamers, a secret organization thought to have a way to recover memories, Benja draws her down a dangerous path toward the past. When Metis, the leader of the Dreamers, appears in Aris’s life, everything she believes falls to pieces. With little time left before the next tabula rasa, they begin a bittersweet romance, navigating love in a world where names, lives, and moments are systematically destroyed.
Thought-provoking and emotionally resonant, Reset will make you consider the haunting reality of love and loss, and the indelible marks they leave behind.
Version Zero by David Yoon
Narrated by Kevin R. Free, VyVy Nguyen
From the brilliant mind of New York Times best-selling author David Yoon comes a lightning-fast and scorchingly observant thriller about how we can save ourselves from the very real perils of a virtual world.
Max, a data whiz at the social media company Wren, has gotten a firsthand glimpse of the dark side of big tech. When he questions what his company does with the data they collect, he’s fired…then black-balled across Silicon Valley. With time on his hands and revenge on his mind, Max and his longtime friend (and secretly the love of his life), Akiko, decide to get even by rebooting the internet. After all, in order to fix things, sometimes you have to break them.
But when Max and Akiko join forces with a reclusive tech baron, they learn that breaking things can have unintended – and catastrophic – consequences.
Towers by Terry Schott
Narrated by Natalie Duke
Barely, and thanks to networks of gigantic tower systems created to surround small villages with a protective barrier of lethal energy. It kept everything out…and everyone in.
Sixteen years have passed, and a girl born the night the world fell apart learns that she has a strange talent. The towers can speak, and she is the only one who can hear them.
The Aviator by Craig DiLouie
Narrated by Garrett Brown
In the near future, the United States has fought a short, bloody war with China in the Pacific. The fighting is over, but the US Navy maintains a blockade. Some call it the First Sino-American War. Others worry it is the start of World War III.
In a prison cell in Beijing, Navy fighter pilot Jack Knapp tells his story about the victory in the Battle of Taiwan and how he ended up in a Chinese show trial, accused of crimes against humanity.
With his life in the balance, Jack will have to choose between survival and participating in his captors’ lies, and ultimately learn the true meaning of heroism in a war between superpowers where even stories are weapons.
The Apocalypse Seven by Gene Doucette
Narrated by Erin Bennett, Kiff VandenHeuvel, Juliette Goglia, Zeno Robinson, Will Collyer, Grace Rolek, Farah Merani
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but a whatever.
The whateverpocalypse. That’s what Touré, a 20-something Cambridge coder, calls it after waking up one morning to find himself seemingly the only person left in the city. Once he finds Robbie and Carol, two equally disoriented Harvard freshmen, he realizes he isn’t alone, but the name sticks: Whateverpocalypse. But it doesn’t explain where everyone went. It doesn’t explain how the city became overgrown with vegetation in the space of a night. Or how wild animals with no fear of humans came to roam the streets.
Add freakish weather to the mix, swings of temperature that spawn tornadoes one minute and snowstorms the next, and it seems things can’t get much weirder. Yet even as a handful of new survivors appear – Paul, a preacher as quick with a gun as a Bible verse; Win, a young professional with a horse; Bethany, a 13-year-old juvenile delinquent; and Ananda, an MIT astrophysics adjunct – life in Cambridge, Massachusetts, gets stranger and stranger.
The self-styled Apocalypse Seven are tired of questions with no answers. Tired of being hunted by things seen and unseen. Now, armed with curiosity, desperation, a shotgun, and a bow, they become the hunters. And that’s when things truly get weird.
Time of Death by Nathan Van Coops
Narrated by Stacy Carolan
Revisiting the past can be murder.
Private Detective Greyson Travers has a secret, but he isn’t the only one. When a stunning widow asks him to investigate the suicide of her husband, Greyson plans for an easy resolution. But a quick look into the past gets dangerous for his future. He isn’t the only one interested in the case, and the longer he’s involved, the more victims turn up dead.
Greyson can travel through time. It makes him the best sleuth in the city. But every advantage comes at a cost. Under pressure from a powerful mob kingpin and an agency governing time, his investigation will take him deep into the underworld.
The clock is ticking, and Greyson might be too late to discover the truth. Sometimes, the past is better left for dead.
If you love treacherous twists and mind-bending murder mysteries, jump into this pause-resisting thriller where time is never on your side.
Can you solve the mystery of the future?
A Woman to Treasure by Ali Vali
Narrated by Paige McKinney
Bold Strokes Books Inc
Levi Montbard loves history and isn’t afraid to search it out no matter where it takes her. A scroll she acquires to sell in Montbard’s Antiquities in New Orleans leads Levi on an adventure that will take her from London to Morocco, by way of the Sahara Desert. A story of a female Templar Knight should sound like a hoax, but to Levi the new information rings true. Proving the scroll accurate becomes an obsession. She’ll stop at nothing to uncover the truth.
Yasmine Hassani spends her days teaching female studies in Marrakech to women who want to leave a mark on their country. An arrogant Westerner storming into her office is highly unexpected and leaves Yasmine laughing off the absurdity of her claims. No one knows more about the history of the Templar Knights than Yasmine, and reluctantly intrigued, she agrees to help Levi.
But their search turns down one dead end after another, almost as if someone is working hard to keep old secrets buried. They’ll have to fight the Catholic Church, centuries of tradition, and their growing attraction for each other to uncover the mystery of the female Templar Knight.
Take Shots by Alison Sommer
Narrated by Lessa Lamb
The Darts’ first season was a success. But as they make preparations for their new season, complications are inevitable. Tessa’s wrestling with her feelings for Fitz, a secret which she fears could tear apart their friendship. Dawn and Michelle are facing their own unique parenting challenges. Meanwhile, Fitz is forced to decide what she is willing to endure in the name of saving her marriage.
Can they run a successful hockey team while balancing their real-life problems, or will something have to give?
Talk Bookish to Me by Kate Bromley
Narrated by Natalie Naudus
Inspiration can come from the most unlikely – and inconvenient – sources.
Kara Sullivan’s life is full of love – albeit fictional. As a best-selling romance novelist and influential Bookstagrammer, she’s fine with getting her happily-ever-after fix between the covers of a book.
But right now? Not only is Kara’s best friend getting married next week – which means big wedding stress – but the deadline for her next novel is looming, and she hasn’t written a single word. The last thing she needs is for her infuriating first love, Ryan Thompson, to suddenly appear in the wedding party. But Ryan’s unexpected arrival sparks a creative awakening in Kara that inspires the steamy historical romance she desperately needs to deliver.
With her wedding duties intensifying, her deadline getting closer by the second, and her bills not paying themselves, Kara knows there’s only one way for her to finish her book and to give her characters the ever-after they deserve. But can she embrace the unlikely, ruggedly handsome muse – who pushes every one of her buttons – to save the wedding, her career, and, just maybe, write her own happy ending?
House of Crows by Lisa Unger
Narrated by James Anderson Foster, Saskia Maarleveld, Frankie Corzo, Jonathan Davis, Adam Verner, Susannah Jones
That long-ago summer, four friends came face-to-face with strange, dark events they couldn’t explain away. As they grew up and left town, they each tried to forget. Instead, the secrets lingering in the shadowy corners of their minds shaped their lives, haunting each of them in their own way. Now, in this chilling four-part serial by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger, it’s time to stop running. It’s time to come home.
All My Darkest Impulses
What really happened to the girl who walked into the woods and vanished forever? It’s a never-forgotten mystery that clings like a shadow in a short story about dark memories and inescapable fears.
For disgraced professor Matthew Merle, the inheritance of his grandfather’s crumbling mansion is both a burden and an offer of safe haven. His childhood friend Claire Allen, a psychiatrist, desperately needs a haven of her own after one of her patients unleashes his dark side. At turning points in their lives, it’s inevitable that they should return to the past. And to Merle House. It’s been waiting for them.
A grief-stricken spiritualist thought his faith in life after death was broken. Until the ghosts of his past come calling in this short story about memories colored by fear.
Driven by an uncanny mystery from his youth, Ian Randall became a “spiritual cleanser,” ridding disturbances from homes. But his belief in the beyond was challenged by his wife’s death. Merle House, the root of Ian’s obsession, could change that. The woods are restless again. Maybe here, Ian will find what he needs – if he’s willing to make a deal with the dark.
Circling the Drain
Is it a hoax, or is it something unspeakably real? In this short story about evil games and spiraling secrets, whatever bargain you strike, there’s a price to be paid.
Mason Brandt dropped out of seminary and found a job at a spiritual center offering guidance to troubled teens. Mason was one himself years ago—a suspect in a young girl’s disappearance. When a female student is found murdered, Mason is dogged by suspicion and flees. He hopes Merle House will offer him sanctuary once again.
Love the Way You Lie
What’s drawn four damaged people back to haunted land? The answer could destroy them all in a gripping short story about trapped memories and the lies we tell ourselves.
Matthew, Claire, Ian, and Mason haven’t been back to Merle House since the summer they were sixteen. They tried for years to put their history behind them, to forget the mystery of the girl who vanished so long ago. But a powerful force from their past is still at play. This time, there’s no hiding from it.
The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter
Narrated by Mary Dixie Carter
This program includes a bonus conversation between Mary Dixie Carter and Jennifer Hillier.
Mary Dixie Carter’s The Photographer is a slyly observed, suspenseful story of envy and obsession, told in the mesmerizing, irresistible voice of a character who will make you doubt that seeing is ever believing.
When perfect images…
As a photographer, Delta Dawn observes the seemingly perfect lives of New York City’s elite: snapping photos of their children’s birthday parties, transforming images of stiff hugs and tearstained faces into visions of pure joy, and creating moments these parents long for.
…are made of beautiful lies…
But when Delta is hired for Natalie Straub’s 11th birthday, she finds herself wishing she wasn’t behind the lens but a part of the scene – in the Straub family’s gorgeous home and elegant life.
…the truth will be exposed.
That’s when Delta puts her plan in place, by babysitting for Natalie; befriending her mother, Amelia; finding chances to listen to her father, Fritz. Soon she’s bathing in the master bathtub, drinking their expensive wine, and eyeing the beautifully finished garden apartment in their townhouse. It seems she can never get close enough, until she discovers that photos aren’t all she can manipulate.
A Macmillan Audio production from Minotaur Books
“The sense of impending disaster is palpable, as the suspense and tension grow, and what happens at the end is unexpected and odd. Creepy, dark, and suspenseful…A gripping read.” (Booklist)