Welcome to Brian’s Book Blog’s weekly New and Notable Audiobooks Post for the Week of September 18th.

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Hell Divers VIII: King of the Wastes by Nicholas Sansbury Smith
Narrated by R.C. Bray
Blackstone Publishing

Check out my reviews of other titles written by Nicholas Sansbury Smith
Check out my reviews of other titles narrated by R.C. Bray
Check out my reviews of the rest of this series

The New York Times and USA Today best-selling series

Face the uncertain future without fear….

A year has passed since the Hell Divers defeated the machines at Kilimanjaro. The freed captives have settled into their new home at the Vanguard Islands, joining survivors from around the world. But extreme weather and failed crops have raised the specter of famine. Ships must push deeper into dangerous red zones, only to come back with less loot – and fewer soldiers.

When the Hell Divers discover a scroll on a raid, King Xavier is faced with a long-buried truth that threatens the future of his people and all of humanity. The Vanguard Islands are not the salvation the sky people thought them to be. To survive, they must venture through the Panama Canal and into the wastes beyond.

With the future at stake, the Immortal once again dons his armor. But there is a reason the great Cazador armies never returned from the canal, and this time not even the King of the Wastes is prepared for what awaits them.


The Hike by Landon Beach

The Hike by Landon Beach
Narrated by Scott Brick
Self Published

Check out my reviews of other titles written by Landon Beach
Check out my reviews of other titles narrated by Scott Brick

A stand-alone crime thriller in the Great Lakes Saga.

Brad Cranston is having a normal Friday afternoon in Shelter Harbor, Michigan when he receives a desperate call from his brother, who disappeared six years ago. Conrad’s message is clear: Head south, bring a boat, do not involve the police, and there is a load of money involved – click.

After enlisting the service of rookie Private Investigator Allison Shannon – a retired master diver who is haunted by her own demons – the two start to realize that Conrad Cranston has become much more than a lost hiker.

Meanwhile, FBI Special Agent Patrick Bruno has just been relocated to the Motor City to help bring down the Detroit Mafia, better known as “The Association.” What Patrick does not know, however, is that Detroit’s young new Godfather, Don Ciro Russo, has been targeted for assassination -an event that would turn the criminal organization upside down. And, a long-time confidential informant may be orchestrating the transfer of power.

As Patrick attempts to learn the truth, his path crosses with an unlikely pair: Brad Cranston and Allison Shannon. The search narrows, and the answers may lie on a small island in Lake Erie nicknamed “the Key West of the north”. However, unimaginable terror could await them on the island and in the depths offshore.

For they are about to learn that justice and discovery still come at a price.

If you are a fan of Don Winslow, Lee Child, Breaking Bad, or The Godfather, you’ve come to the right place.


Dare to Know by James Kennedy

Dare to Know by James Kennedy
Narrated by Bradford Hastings
Blackstone Publishing

Dark Matter meets Annihilation in this mind-bending and emotional speculative thriller set in a world where the exact moment of your death can be predicted – for a price.

Our narrator is the most talented salesperson at Dare to Know, an enigmatic company that has developed the technology to predict anyone’s death down to the second. Divorced, estranged from his sons, and broke, he is driven to violate the cardinal rule of the business by forecasting his own death day. The problem: His prediction says he died 23 minutes ago.

The only person who can confirm its accuracy is Julia, the woman he loved and lost during his rise up the ranks of Dare to Know. As he travels across the country to see her, he is forced to confront his past, the choices he has made, and the terrifying truth about the company he works for.

Wildly ambitious and highly immersive, this mind-bending thriller explores the destructive power of knowledge and collapses the boundaries between reality, myth, and conspiracy as it races toward its stunning conclusion.


The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
Narrated by Callie Dalton
Penguin Audio

A BuzzFeed Best Summer Read of 2021

When a fake relationship between scientists meets the irresistible force of attraction, it throws one woman’s carefully calculated theories on love into chaos.

As a third-year PhD candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships – but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily-ever-after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor – and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding…six-pack abs.

Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.


Never Mine by Bryce Oakley

Never Mine by Bryce Oakley
Narrated by AJ Ferraro
Self Published

Check out my reviews of other titles written by Bryce Oakley
Check out my reviews of other titles narrated by AJ Ferraro

What if their fake relationship wasn’t ever just pretend?

Sage Carson has a messy reputation. Sure, she’s a soccer star with World Cup trophies and Olympic medals, but she’s almost as well known for her rebellious behavior off the pitch. She’s left enough gorgeous women with broken hearts in her dust to fill a roster. That was, until she got injured. Now, her frustratingly slow recovery means she’d better secure this new squeaky-clean endorsement deal in order to get back on top.

Sweet, sunshiny Willa Bellamy has a crisis on her hands. She’s used to it – as an events coordinator for the Denver Zoo, it’s her job to handle crises. But when she receives an invite to her ex’s wedding, she’s not so sure it’ll be as easy to handle as an escaped emu during a Girl Scout sleepover. Even worse, when the bachelorette party invite mentions that couples are welcome, she realizes she’s the sole single person invited.

Fifteen years ago, Willa and Sage roamed the same halls of Edgelake High School. When their paths cross again, they decide to team up to solve both their problems – a stable, albeit fake, relationship to snag the endorsement deal and a hot soccer star to make the couples getaway sting a little less…. But when the lines between real and fake start to blur, will they be able to keep the growing heat between them just a game, or will they start playing to win?

Narrated by AJ Ferraro


At Your Most Beautiful by Harper Bliss

At Your Most Beautiful by Harper Bliss
Narrated by Angela Dawe
Tantor Audio

Check out my reviews of other titles written by Harper Bliss

Some nights are unforgettable…

Ten years ago, Quinn Hathaway and Maya Mercer shared a night of forbidden passion they vowed to keep secret forever.

When Quinn and Maya meet again, old sparks fly, but none of the reasons to hide their passion have changed. Quinn is still much younger, and Maya has never told her son that she’s attracted to women.

Can Maya overcome her fear of what her family might think of her? And how will Quinn’s parents, who used to be Maya’s next-door neighbors, react to their daughter’s unconventional love affair?

Contains mature themes.


Where Secrets Are Safe by Jamey Moody

Where Secrets Are Safe by Jamey Moody
Narrated by Amanda Wrege
Self Published

At a Texas lake resort, swimming in romance, an enemy ice queen thaws right into her Hollywood happy ending.

Krista Kyle knew how hard it was to be a closeted lesbian in Hollywood. Unfortunately being out and proud could affect your career. But after 20 years as an award winning actress Krista was able to be her authentic self in a world where being someone else was the norm.

With an opportunity to buy a lake resort with her best friend, Krista creates a safe place where those that weren’t yet ready to live openly in public can come with their partners and girlfriends and be themselves.

When a sleazy journalist, known for outing people, finds out about the hideaway Krista offers to show her what the resort really means and uncovers a secret that changes them both.

This is the first book in the Lovers Landing Series where celebrities find their true love in the most unlikely people.


If I Told You by Avery Easton

If I Told You by Avery Easton
Narrated by Carolyn Johnson
Self Published

Paige Parker danced before she could walk. After a lifetime of performing, her wildest dreams come true: She gets the chance to originate a lead in a Broadway show. Determined to make the most of her time in Chicago, where the musical is workshopping, she vows to find herself. No more crushes, no more dating, no more mistakes. But all of that changes when stand-up comedian Alexandra Tate walks into her life.

Sweet, sexy, and fun as hell, Alex sweeps Paige off her feet. Gone are Paige’s rules, as well as her insecurities about not being worthy of love. The magic of Chicago summer surrounds them, and even though they try their best to simply enjoy the time they have, they can’t help falling in love.

Autumn and life-long dreams pull them in different directions. What comes first – a love like neither’s ever known, or opportunities that they’ve yearned for their entire careers? If their ambitions don’t keep them apart, Alex and Paige could find a way to their own happily ever after.


Oh, Great! I Was Reincarnated as a Farmer by Benjamin Kerei
Narrated by Travis Baldree
Podium Audio

Check out my reviews of other titles narrated by Travis Baldree

What do you have when you blend a pinch of LitRPG, a touch of farming simulator, a sprinkle of epic fantasy, a whole cup of Isekai, and a dash of Home Alone? You have Arnold’s life.

Accidentally murdered by a cleric in another universe during a botched resurrection, Arnold, a semi-pro gamer, wakes upon an altar to find himself incarnated into the overweight body of a farmer who could have been his fatter twin. He’s not the hero. He’s not the villain. He’s certainly not the chosen one who is there to save the world. He’s a clerical error.

It could be a bad joke, but apparently, it happens so often that they have a standard procedure for returning you. That standard procedure doesn’t apply to Arnold.

Now stuck on a new Earth, in a new universe, with no way home, Arnold must use his gaming skills to figure out how to level his farmer class to 100 and gain a second class which doesn’t make him want to beat his head against the wall. There is just one small problem: Farmers don’t gain experience from killing monsters. Like at all.

Follow Arnold on his hilarious journey as he stubbornly comes to grips with his new reality and tries to change his destiny from that of your typical farmer.


Subsumption by Luciano W. Pesci

Subsumption by Luciano W. Pesci
Narrated by Zachary Johnson
Somnio

Trusting an alien is hard…figuring out which alien is trustworthy might be impossible.

Marcus carries the weight of the cosmos on his shoulders. Still, he loves being one of the chosen enrolled in the alien-driven education tract at his university.

This extraterrestrial Federation always said he was important, so they’re taking the next logical step by inviting him to join their mysterious research Cohort.

If he survives selection, Marcus will solidify himself as one of the elites tasked with preparing humanity to face an alien Confederation bent on enslaving Earth. The simulated realities he experiences during this Subsumption research creates critical data the Federation needs to understand human nature, choice, and to integrate worlds.

But the alien experimentation proves more physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing than Marcus ever imagined, pushing him to the breaking point.

As the doomsday clock continues its countdown to the Confederation’s invasion, Marcus is running out of time to get his personal life in order.

Can he live up to his family’s idea of always moving forward? Or will he sink humanity’s chance to reach the stars? Either way, Marcus is learning what the Federation already knows: The ability to choose is the most powerful force in the universe.

If the conspiracy theories are right, though, he might be aligning with the wrong aliens.

Subsumption is the first novel in the Subsumption series, a story about humanity’s pivotal position between two warring alien empires. If you enjoyed Ender’s Game, Ready Player One, and the Amazon Prime series Upload, then the Subsumption series is for you!


AI 2041 by Kai-Fu Lee, Chen Qiufan

AI 2041 by Kai-Fu Lee, Chen Qiufan
Narrated by Feodor Chin, Justin Chien, Soneela Nankani, Mirron Willis, Emily Woo Zeller, Siho Ellsmore, Fajer Al-Kaisi
Random House Audio

Check out my reviews of other titles narrated by Soneela Nankani
Check out my reviews of other titles narrated by Emily Woo Zeller

How will artificial intelligence change our world within 20 years?

“This inspired collaboration between a pioneering technologist and a visionary writer of science fiction offers bold and urgent insights.” (Yann LeCun, winner of the Turing Award; chief AI scientist, Facebook)

“Amazingly entertaining…Lee and Chen take us on an immersive trip through the future…. Eye-opening.” (Mark Cuban)

AI will be the defining development of the 21st century. Within two decades, aspects of daily human life will be unrecognizable. AI will generate unprecedented wealth, revolutionize medicine and education through human-machine symbiosis, and create brand-new forms of communication and entertainment. In liberating us from routine work, however, AI will also challenge the organizing principles of our economic and social order. Meanwhile, AI will bring new risks in the form of autonomous weapons and smart technology that inherits human bias. AI is at a tipping point, and people need to wake up – both to AI’s radiant pathways and its existential perils for life as we know it.

In this provocative, utterly original work, Kai-Fu Lee, the former president of Google China and best-selling author of AI Superpowers, teams up with celebrated novelist Chen Qiufan to imagine our world in 2041 and how it will be shaped by AI. In 10 gripping short stories, they introduce listeners to an array of eye-opening 2041 settings, such as:

In San Francisco, the “job reallocation” industry emerges as deep learning AI causes widespread job displacement
In Tokyo, a music fan is swept up in an immersive form of celebrity worship based on virtual reality and mixed reality
In Mumbai, a teenage girl rebels when AI’s crunching of big data gets in the way of romance
In Seoul, virtual companions with perfected natural language processing (NLP) skills offer orphaned twins new ways to connect
In Munich, a rogue scientist draws on quantum computing, computer vision and other AI technologies in a revenge plot that imperils the world

By gazing toward a not-so-distant horizon, AI 2041 offers urgent insights into our collective future – while reminding listeners that, ultimately, humankind remains the author of its destiny.


Nice Girls by Catherine Dang

Nice Girls by Catherine Dang
Narrated by Carlotta Brentan
HarperAudio

“Darkly delicious … Nice Girls is about the girlhood we never really leave behind, and what happens when we dare to confront our past demons. A pulsating mystery with a narrator you won’t soon forget.” (Laura Dave, number-one New York Times best-selling author of The Last Thing He Told Me)

“If you’re a total true crime addict, Catherine Dang’s debut novel will have you hooked real fast.” (Cosmopolitan)

Recommended by New York Times Book Review • Entertainment Weekly • Cosmopolitan • E! Online • Bustle • Popsugar • CrimeReads • The Nerd Daily • PureWow • Mystery & Suspense Magazine • Paperback Paris • and more!

A pulse-pounding and razor-sharp debut with the emotional punch of Luckiest Girl Alive and All the Missing Girls that explores the hungry, angry, dark side of girlhood and dares to ask: Which is more dangerous for a woman – showing the world what it wants to see, or who she really is?

What did you do?

Mary used to be such a nice girl. She was the resident whiz kid of Liberty Lake, Minnesota – the quiet, chubby teen with the scholarship to an Ivy League school. But three years later, “Ivy League Mary” is back – a thinner, cynical, restless failure who was kicked out of Cor­nell at the beginning of her senior year and won’t tell anyone why. Taking a job at the local grocery store, Mary tries to make sense of her life’s sharp downward spiral.

Then beautiful, magnetic Olivia Willand goes missing. A rising social media star, Olivia is admired by everyone in Liberty Lake – except Mary. Once Olivia’s best friend, Mary knows better than anyone that behind the Instagram persona hides a willful, manipulative girl with sharp edges. As the town obsesses over perfect, lovely Olivia, Mary wonders if her disappearance might be tied to another missing person: nineteen-year-old DeMaria Jackson, whose case has been widely dismissed as a runaway.

Who is the real Olivia Willand, and where did she go? What happened to DeMaria? As Mary pries at the cracks in the careful facades surrounding the two missing girls, old wounds will bleed fresh and force her to confront a horrible truth.

Maybe there are no nice girls, after all.

“Complex characters, questionable choices, and conflicted feelings about who we are and the people we leave behind combine in a compelling thriller that will have you flipping pages to discover how it all fits together.” (Darby Kane, number-one internationally best-selling author of Pretty Little Wife)

“Nice Girls finds itself among the most haunting of mysteries, those that resonate with our current affairs, like Alyssa Cole’s When No One Is Watching and Rumaan Alam’s Leave the World Behind. Perfect for the millennial armchair detective, Nice Girls will satisfy your true crime addiction and intensify your desire for justice.” (Paperback Paris)


The Damocles Agenda by Jeff Edwards

The Damocles Agenda by Jeff Edwards
Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki, Gabrielle de Cuir
Skyboat Media, Inc.

Check out my reviews of other titles narrated by Stefan Rudnicki

Civilization has an off switch….

The Russians call it Lunnaya Pesnya. Moon Song. They bring the device aboard the International Space Station disguised as an experimental electromagnetic propulsion system. Just a harmless EmDrive prototype, ferried into space for testing in microgravity. But the device is not what it appears to be, and it’s far from harmless.

When military cosmonauts hijack the ISS, Russia’s plans of global conquest are revealed. Moon Song is a game-changing electromagnetic pulse weapon, capable of attacking any location on Earth from orbit.

The first target is Kennedy Space Center. Uncounted kiloteslas of electromagnetic force slash through the atmosphere like an unseen sword – wiping out microchips, transistors, digital storage devices, and electronic circuits of all kinds. In an instant, Cape Canaveral – and the surrounding areas of Cocoa Beach, Rockledge, Titusville, and Patrick Air Force Base – are stripped of every necessity of modern existence.

Throughout the target zone, microchips are fried; credit cards are slicked; hard drives are erased. Electronic systems of all kinds suffer catastrophic failure, taking out cell phones, landlines, radios, vehicles, aircraft, and every electrical component within the footprint of the EMP beam.

A single pulse of energy has driven the US manned space program into the dark ages.

Now, Russia holds the high ground. From orbit, they can detect and neutralize any attempt to attack the ISS. The destruction of Canaveral shows what will happen to any nation that challenges Russian supremacy. With the world literally held hostage, there’s no way to fight back.

Or is there?


The Gate of the Feral Gods by Matt Dinniman

The Gate of the Feral Gods by Matt Dinniman
Narrated by Jeff Hays
Soundbooth Theater

Check out my reviews of other titles narrated by Jeff Hays

New achievement! Total, utter failure.

You failed a quest less than five minutes after you received it. Now that’s talent.

A floating fortress occupied by warrior gnomes. A castle made of sand. A derelict submarine guarded by malfunctioning machines. A haunted crypt surrounded by lethal traps.

It was supposed to be easy. One bubble. Four castles. Fifteen days. Capture each one, and the stairwell is unlocked.

Here’s the thing. It’s never easy. Carl and his team can’t go it alone. Not this time. They must rely on the help of the low-level, I-can’t-believe-these-idiots-are-still-alive crawlers trapped in the bubble with them. But can they be trusted?

Welcome, Crawler. Welcome to the fifth floor of the dungeon.


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