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Earphones Award Winner FAITHFUL
Alice Hoffman, Read by Amber Tamblyn • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Simon & Schuster Audio • Trade Ed.

Amber Tamblyn's crisp, emphatic narration draws the listener into Hoffman's latest novel. Listeners follow Shelby Richmond as she emerges from the horrors of a life-changing accident and learns to feel, live, and love again. Hoffman's trademark lyrical language and touches of magic, along with Tamblyn's assured reading, elevate the overly familiar coming-of-age tropes and coincidental plot. Tamblyn fully conveys Shelby's growth from listless despair to harsh edginess to aching hope. Her voice cracks with longing, sadness, bitterness, and resignation, then lifts as Shelby heals. Her narration distinguishes characters with variations of tone and pitch as well as subtle accents, creating a satisfying listening experience that Hoffman fans will relish. R.T. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Biography & Memoir To Category List

Brian Wilson, Ben Greenman, Read by Fred Berman • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Audible, Inc./ Brilliance Audio • Trade Ed.
Audible, Inc./ Brilliance Audio • Library Ed.

Everyone loves the Beach Boys. Narrator Fred Berman steps into band leader Brian Wilson's skin to perform this memoir so perfectly that it's like hearing Wilson himself. Berman explains that the man responsible for such incredible music did so through much personal pain. The undercurrent of the audiobook is the mental illness that Wilson has dealt with his entire life. Berman is fully convincing in his portrayal of Wilson, especially when he talks about coming to accept the voices he hears in his head. The music that Wilson produces is torn from him, sometimes painfully, but it has to come out. And then there's this quote: "Any minute I spent performing 'Good Vibrations' is a minute I feel spiritually home." So say we all. It's a shame there's no music in the production. M.S. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Chris Forhan, Read by George Newbern • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Simon & Schuster Audio • Trade Ed.

George Newborn expertly delivers Forhan's memoir. His voice for the author reflects the various stages of his life, finding meaning in memories that range from childhood to adulthood. As Forhan shares key moments of his life, he focuses in particular on his father's suicide while Forhan was still young. The premise of the memoir suggests a somber experience for the listener, but Newborn's performance is filled with both light and dark textures as Forhan examines his family's unspoken rules of conduct about what is discussed openly and what is left unsaid, and what may have ultimately led Forhan's father to make the choices he did. S.P.C. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

RUN THE WORLD My 3,500-Mile Journey Through Running Cultures Around the Globe
Becky Wade , Read by Allyson Ryan • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Harper Audio • Trade Ed.

In 2012, Becky Wade, age 22, an elite NCAA runner, Olympic hopeful, and Thomas J. Watson Fellowship recipient, traveled the world to immerse herself in different running cultures, training methods, and recovery techniques. Narrator Allyson Ryan delivers the story of this year-long trip at a slow, almost lethargic, pace that undercuts Wade's infectious zeal for running, travel, and learning. Ryan rarely strays from her monotone narration, making it a challenge to follow conversations or differentiate between assorted characters as Wade travels to England, Ireland, Switzerland, Ethiopia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Sweden, and Finland. It's an inspiring story, but Ryan's flat narration makes it difficult to engage with Wade's emotional and physical journey. A.N. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Business & Finance To Category List

Gino Wickman, Rene Boer, Read by Peter Berkrot • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Tantor Media • Trade Ed.

This audiobook provides practical tools and ideas for becoming a great boss. Peter Berkrot narrates in an energetic, positive tone that reflects the goal of the authors. Since this is a practical and not a theoretical approach to management, the text contains opportunities for listeners to stop and think about their goals, motivations, and approaches to leading. Berkrot also attempts to describe the charts that are contained in the text, and that may not resonate as well with some listeners as viewing the actual images. But, overall, this is a great guide for those thinking about leadership in their organizations, and Berkrot's reading does it justice. E.N. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

PLAY IT FORWARD From Gymboree to the Yoga Mat and Beyond
Joan Barnes, Michael J. Coffino, Read by Hillary Huber • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Vibrance Press • Trade Ed.

With her slow-paced, comfortable diction, Hillary Huber's performance is a good fit for this illuminating memoir by an introspective entrepreneur. In 1974, the author started a play center that expanded to become a billion-dollar international brand. After an eating disorder forced her to exit the company and lose almost everything, she emerged from inpatient treatment, reinvented her life, and went on to found a line of yoga studios. The author describes these transitions and their associated challenges with sensibilities that make her sound very human. Her writing also illuminates the conflicts that entrepreneurial women face when balancing personal and business priorities. Speaking intimately and with the humble satisfaction of someone who has worked through a complex life journey, Huber gives the author's story appealing credibility and emotional impact. T.W. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Children To Category List

Jean Fritz, Read by Arthur Morey • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Listening Library • Trade Ed.
Listening Library • Library Ed.

Narrator Arthur Morey recounts the life of Alexander Hamilton from his childhood in the Caribbean to his duel with Aaron Burr, which would eventually lead to his demise. When the events of the American Revolution begin, Morey's voice intensifies to depict the dialogue of the major players. This passionate narration creates a powerful contrast to the delivery of the background story, which is characterized by a steady pace and an informative tone. In this concise biography, young listeners will learn about Hamilton's temperament and life as they contributed to his political views—all of which would have such a great impact on the foundation of our nation. M.D. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Earphones Award Winner A BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS
Matt Haig, Read by Stephen Fry • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Listening Library • Trade Ed.
Listening Library • Library Ed.

Narrator Stephen Fry delivers a heartwarming and spirited performance in this fresh production on the origins of Christmas rituals. Fry's dynamic narration brings out the humor as well as the heartache in young protagonist Nikolas, who sets off on an adventure to find his father and stumbles upon a mystical elf kingdom. Fry's hearty range of voices expresses not only Nikolas's quiet bravery, anguish, and joy during his journey but also a myriad of animated human and nonhuman characters, including a humorous troll and a sweet elf. Fry's delightful storytelling weaves heartfelt emotion with the magic of elves and the power of goodness, making it easy to believe in Christmas. M.F. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

FRAZZLED Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom
Booki Vivat, Read by Tara Sands • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Harper Audio • Trade Ed.

She's edgy, conspiratorial, and more than dramatic! Narrator Tara Sands portrays Abbie Wu during her first days of middle school. Abbie is convinced that everything about "middle" is doomed and that life will be "Abbie Wu against the middles." As she records her days and dreams, listeners may come to different conclusions. Sands embraces the whole scene and is fully believable as Abbie despairs over her nearly perfect older brother, gnashes her teeth which elective to choose, wears her heart on her sleeve, is incensed about cafeteria food, and thinks nothing of going off on a tirade. Sands speeds up the narration in spots, mirroring Abbie's anxious states and convictions— whether they reflect the probable or the improbable. Listeners will also chuckle over Sands's portrayal of Abbie's mother and her rendition of the vice principal's voice over the intercom. A.R. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Kate De Goldi, Read by David Vatousios • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Bolinda Audio • Trade Ed.
Bolinda Audio • Library Ed.

Narrator David Vatousios's upbeat tone and brisk pacing perfectly convey the irrepressible nature of Barney, a teenage filmmaker, and his little sister, Ren, as the siblings shoot a documentary about their community. Barney never stops talking, dreaming, and scheming—but with an innocence and exuberance that is infectious. Ren, purposeful, affectionate, and quietly feminist, keeps Barney organized. Vatousios perfectly conveys the energy and sheer likability of the pair, along with the quirky characters who inhabit their downtown neighborhood in Christchurch, New Zealand. The complicated, prickly forbearance of the two homeless teenagers whom Barney and Ren interview is clearly present in Vatousios's voice. The author straddles the line between the tragedy of the 2011 earthquake and the hope of rebuilding and forging a legacy, and Vatousios is faithful to that vision. A.B. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Tahereh Mafi, Read by Bronson Pinchot • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Listening Library • Trade Ed.
Listening Library • Library Ed.

Narrator Bronson Pinchot creates an enchanting world through his portrayal of 12-year-old Alice in this eerie and magical tale, reminiscent of Lewis Carroll's WONDERLAND, only darker. Alice is the only one in her world without color. Pinchot captures her loneliness and despair by softening his voice during her vulnerable moments. With her father's disappearance and her mother's harsh demeanor, Alice feels a desperate need to change her life. She decides to go on a quest to find her father with an untrustworthy classmate named Oliver. Listeners will be intrigued by this whimsical fantasy full of complex characters, each with an animated voice, thanks to Pinchot's outstanding performance. M.D. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Kelly DiPucchio, Read by Anika Noni Rose • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Weston Woods Studios • Book & Recording

Anika Noni Rose gives voice to young Grace Campbell, who, on viewing portraits of the United States' presidents, blurts out with indignation—"Where are the girls?" Without skipping a beat, her teacher explains calmly and invites the class to hold an election for their own president. Grace declares with conviction, "I'd like to be president." Another class submits a candidate, Thomas Cobb, and the campaign begins. And the winner is . . . ! Rose speeds and slows, travels her vocal register, and brings all the electricity, hopes and worries, and tension of the election to young listeners. Author Kelly DiPucchio concludes the production with an explanation of the Electoral College and popular voting. A.R. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Earphones Award Winner GROOVY JOE Ice Cream & Dinosaurs
Eric Litwin, Read by Eric Litwin • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Weston Woods Studios • Book & Recording

Eric Litwin has done it again. From the opening chords of this audiobook, young listeners will be grooving along with author, narrator, and composer Litwin as he tells the story of the new dog on the block, Joe, who is about to dig in to his doggy ice cream. But wait? Is that a dinosaur on the scene? How will Joe handle the situation? Listeners will jiggle, bounce, snap, and dance along as Joe rises to the occasion. Litwin is a young-listener favorite. His improbably situations, zany lyrics, and expressive voice full of pregnant pauses and exuberant refrains delight youngsters. Enjoying the illustrations in the book can only add to the experience. The production concludes with the complete "Groovy Dance" soundtrack, which begs for participation! A.R. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Earphones Award Winner THE INQUISITOR'S TALE Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
Adam Gidwitz, Read by Adam Gidwitz, Vikas Adam, Mark Bramha , Jonathan Cowle , Kimberly Farr , Ann Marie Lee, Bruce Mann, John H. Mayer, Benjamin Bagby • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Listening Library • Trade Ed.
Listening Library • Library Ed.

A talented cast enhances a story that combines history, mystery, action, and miracles. In a structure reminiscent of THE CANTERBURY TALES, 10 travelers meet at an inn in medieval France. The eight narrators evocatively portray the characters while adding drama to the cumulative tale of three gifted young heroes. Jeanne, a peasant girl, envisions the future; Jacob, a Jewish boy, has healing powers; and William, a young monk of African descent, has uncommon strength. The narrators use accents to suggest class, with each contributing to an overall tone that is conversational, lively, and engrossing. Together, the narrators enhance the stories as they stress the interplay of humor and darkness, prejudices and beliefs, legend and truth. S.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Classics To Category List

Earphones Award Winner CHRISTMAS STORIES
Charles Dickens, Read by David Timson • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Naxos AudioBooks • Trade Ed.

Dickens's four Christmas-themed novellas display the author's strengths and weaknesses; David Timson enhances the strengths and strengthens the weaknesses, such as sentimentality and overplayed emotions. When Dickens is excessive, Timson is, too, but he manages to carry it off. He alone is an entire cast, with only female characters occasionally not fully convincing. He not only provides varied and excellent voices, but he also matches voice to character with intelligence and discernment, always seeming to provide the perfect voice for any particular character. His narration is consistently genial and smart but varies sensitively with the text—sober, amused, merry. These minor works won't please everyone, but those who appreciate them may find listening to Timson more entertaining than reading. W.M. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Contemporary Culture To Category List

TAKE PRIDE Why the Deadliest Sin Holds the Secret to Human Success
Jessica Tracy, Read by Coleen Marlo • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Brilliance Audio • Trade Ed.

Narrating this eye-opening examination of the uniquely human emotion of pride, Coleen Marlo combines a deft understanding of the author's academic thinking with a practical grasp of why her ideas are relevant to everyday life. Marlo's subtle intensity and vocal clarity make her an excellent choice to perform this book. Authentic human pride, which goes beyond the survival emotions shared by our primate cousins, is the feeling that who we are and what we're doing counts for something. It drives us to care about our place in the world and to accomplish feats that have meaning. With inspiring stories and Marlo's down-to-earth performance, it's easy for listeners to apply these lessons to themselves. The book also explains how narcissism, hubris, and arrogance represent corruptions of authentic pride that pit us against others instead of earning their genuine affirmation. T.W. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Fiction To Category List

Earphones Award Winner CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD
Caroline Leavitt, Read by Xe Sands • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
HighBridge Audio • Trade Ed.

Narrator Xe Sands's soothing voice and evocative performance of this novel about relationships, family, and loneliness is an audiobook lover's dream. In 1970, 16-year-old Lucy runs away from Boston to set up house with her English teacher, William, in rural Pennsylvania. Sands changes up her volume, pacing, and expression to create a range of moods that mirror each character's inner world after the teen disappears. Noteworthy are her portrayals of Lucy's oppressive isolation and dawning realization that William is not the man of her dreams, her older sister's distress and determination to find the girl, and their adoptive mother's worry and guilt about her own failures. Sands slips easily among the different viewpoints, including those of the men, building the tension and keeping listeners fully invested in Lucy's story. C.B.L. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Laura Lam, Read by January LaVoy • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Macmillan Audio • Trade Ed.

January LaVoy's confident narration takes listeners on a wild ride. This near-future sci-fi story opens with blood-stained Tila stumbling into her twin, Taema's, apartment, closely pursued by the police. Tila faces the threat of cryogenic stasis, a futuristic sentence for criminals, unless Taema can prove her innocence. The plot is jam-packed with action and ideas—body modifications, sinister corporations, hijacked dreams, among others. The action alternates between the twins' stories; Taema goes undercover to solve the murder while Tila reflects on the sisters' early life in a low-tech cult and the escape that allowed the twins to survive to adulthood. Subtle but distinct variations in the twins' voices make the dual points of view easy to follow, and LaVoy's skilled nuances work equally well for the story's secondary characters. E.C. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Nadia Hashimi, Read by Ariana Delawari, Susan Nezami • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Harper Audio • Trade Ed.
Blackstone Audio • Library Ed.

The women of Afghanistan are as besieged as their country. But they're also resilient, a quality that is captured in this novel, which follows a bizarre set of crimes that land three ordinary women in jail. Narrators Ariana Delawari and Susan Nezami portray a range of characters while recounting the complicated lives of the housewives turned murder suspects. Did Zeba kill her husband in her own courtyard? Will Latifa or Mezhgan, the much younger women Zeba meets in prison, find safety and justice? As their stories are told in delicate tones, the details of these women's lives will echo in the listener's mind long after the story has finished. An artful story, full of emotion, delivered at a deliberate pace. M.R. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Teddy Wayne, Read by David Bendena • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Dreamscape • Trade Ed.

David Bendena's narration of Wayne's novel is deceptively straightforward. The titular loner is David Fetterman, a first-year student at Harvard who is academically exceptional but otherwise a person who makes little impact on his classmates. At first, Bendena voices David as a meticulous young man who is instantly and singularly struck by the very presence of Veronica Wells, another incoming student. As David begins to devise plans and then increasingly desperate schemes to get closer to Veronica, Bendana highlights David's progressive unreliability as the storyteller. The listener is swept into the darkest corners of campus politics and human identities. S.P.C. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Julian Barnes, Read by Daniel Philpott • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Recorded Books/ Clipper Audio • Library Ed.

Daniel Philpott's narration is perfectly matched to Barnes's complex fictional account of three critical periods in Dmitri Shostakovich's life. Philpott renders the esteemed composer's interactions with the authoritarian rulers of Soviet Russia, led by Stalin, capturing his struggle with being an unwilling symbol of Soviet artistic expression. Philpott delivers Shostakovich's voice and interior monologues with crisp British diction. One slight quibble: The choice to give Russian authorities menacing accents, while deftly done, seems a curious decision when the protagonist speaks the Queen's English. That said, the listener gets a visceral sense of the composer's long battle with the authorities over his formalist compositions and his reluctance to join the Communist Party. A.D.M. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Hannah Kohler, Read by Tavia Gilbert, Michael Crouch • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Macmillan Audio • Trade Ed.

Narrators Tavia Gilbert's and Michael Crouch's performances make up for any clunkiness or sentimentality in the expository passages of Kohler's ambitious debut novel. After their mother's death, Jeannie marries and appears to be the epitome of the happy American housewife, while Kip joins the Marines and is sent to Vietnam. Gilbert is just right, sounding innocent and confused when Jeannie is seduced, both sexually and intellectually, by Lee, a 16-year-old girl who is involved in the antiwar movement. Crouch's truthful performance creates a disenchanted Kip as he faces a court-martial for a shocking crime in Vietnam. Gilbert and Crouch take us from the nightmare of JFK's assassination to the chaotic fall of Saigon, offering rich portraits of people and their problems during the volatile period that was the 1960s. S.J.H. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Read by Robert Fass • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Penguin Audio • Trade Ed.
Books on Tape • Library Ed.

Capturing a cast of characters in Colombia, narrator Robert Fass brings a quiet subtlety to this story of a man facing crisis at the end of his career. This short novel considers the life of Javier Mallinaro, a revered political cartoonist who is about to receive public recognition for his life's work. However, this affirmation of his career is dampened when he discovers that having depicted a public figure in his work years ago may have led to tragic consequences. Javier, a principled man, must consider the ramifications of this possibility at this late stage of his life and career. Listeners will appreciate Fass's erudite yet powerful performance. S.P.C. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF STONES The Daughters of La Lune, Book 2
M.J. Rose, Read by Anna Bentinck • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Dreamscape • Trade Ed.

Set during WWI, this second Daughters of La Lune novel is both a romance and a ghost story. Narrator Anna Bentinck brings out all the audiobook's passion and mystery. Her cultured tones are perfect for the genteel Opaline Duplessi, a young jeweler who communicates with the departed through gemstones. Through her work, she meets Jean Luc, with whom she develops a deep, seemingly impossible, love. Although Bentinck struggles with the French words and phrases, her delivery is intimate, and she brings out all the joy, longing, and heartache of Opaline's relationship with Jean Luc. The result is a story that will envelop listeners in scenic and emotional detail, and linger after the final scene. B.E.K. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Historical Fiction To Category List

Rae Meadows, Read by Emily Sutton-Smith • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Blackstone Audio • Trade Ed.
Blackstone Audio • Library Ed.

As the Dust Bowl descends on Mulehead, Oklahoma, the Bell family struggles to maintain hope. Through Emily Sutton-Smith's narration, listeners experience the figurative and literal dust settling deep within the family members. Annie Bell and her 15-year-old daughter, Birdie, are moving on opposite trajectories. As the initially pragmatic Annie's optimism increases, Birdie's flighty romanticism descends into disillusionment. Sutton-Smith's portrayals of the characters are strong. Especially noteworthy is the soft, uncertain voice of Samuel Bell, the father, as well as that of young Fred, a mute asthmatic whose world turns on him. Through the Bells and other characters, Sutton-Smith delivers a portrait of yearning as penetrating as the dust storms she describes. While numerous obvious edits detract from the production, Sutton-Smith's performance triumphs. K.W. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Marie Benedict, Read by Mozhan Marno • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Random House Audio • Trade Ed.
Books on Tape • Library Ed.

In 1896, Mitza Maric travels from Serbia to Switzerland to attend Zurich Polytechnic. She's determined to be one of the first women in the world to earn a degree in physics. Albert Einstein also attends the university, and a relationship ensues. Mozhan Marno deftly performs Mitza's feelings, which range from uncertainty to determination in the male-dominated world of math and science, and to joy when she falls in love with Albert. Marno's steady pacing keeps the listener engaged even when the story bogs down as Mitza allows Albert to treat her poorly year after year. Although this is a work of fiction, the story references some of Einstein's contributions to physics, such as the effects of energy and friction when two strong forces are in close proximity. L.M.A. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

History To Category List

Earphones Award Winner HERO OF THE EMPIRE The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill
Candice Millard, Read by Simon Vance • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Random House Audio • Trade Ed.
Books on Tape • Library Ed.

Simon Vance's full-throttle narration is one of the many delights in this rousing biography of Winston Churchill's youthful escapades in the Boer War. Yes, the future statesman WAS a colossal egoist blessed with complete self-confidence, but, trust me, he was also funny, smart, talented, brave, good-hearted, and an all-together boon companion. He's also lucky in Vance, who reads the future statesman's boastful letters home with a straight face, which allows the audience to laugh, and with just the right hint of the Churchillian timbre. His interpretations of others, including Boer soldiers, Brits of all classes, and the odd American are equally well shaded. And when the adventure breaks out, as it often does, he breathlessly dodges bullets with the best of them. A.C.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

REVOLUTION ON THE HUDSON New York City and the Hudson River Valley in the American War of Independence
George C. Daughan, Read by Jonathan Yen • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
HighBridge Audio • Trade Ed.

Using his expressive baritone to great advantage, narrator Jonathan Yen energetically recounts the struggle for control of the Hudson River Valley during the American Revolution. Daughan's work describes how both the British authorities and the American leadership believed that control of the Hudson would ensure victory. But, despite tremendous efforts by the adversaries, the reality on the ground was not quite as they had envisioned. Eventually, the war would switch to the South, and final victory was achieved in Virginia. Yen's consistent, clear voice never misses a beat, and he affects credible and unique voices and accents for quotes that add to the narrative. His performance is nearly flawless, allowing the listener to easily comprehend the text. M.T.F. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Humor To Category List

THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF NOT GIVING GIVING A F*CK How to Stop Spending Time You Don't Have with People You Don't Like Doing Things You Don't Want to Do
Sarah Knight, Read by Sarah Knight • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Hachette Audio • Trade Ed.

This refreshing riff on Marie Kondo's "tidying up" book fits squarely in the "punk" audio genre—it's full of irreverence, salty language, an insurgent me-first vibe, and, most of all, a spunky narrative performance by its 30-something street-smart author. She sounds totally comfortable delivering numerous F-bombs, explicit sexual scenarios, and a familiar gaggle of situations she urges you not to care about. Enduring conference calls, small talk, and dull friends? Even worse, doing what others think is good for you? Just get your head straight and learn to say no, she says, with polite firmness and without guilt. Her skill at writing is as good as her delivery, so the result is a combination of well-paced humor and a serious invitation to speak up, opt out, and live the way you really want to. T.W. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Mystery & Suspense To Category List

ANGEL'S DEVIL Jake Brand, PI, Book 1
M. Louis, Read by Colin Iago McCarthy • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Palisades Publishing • Digital Download

Colin Iago McCarthy deftly narrates Jake Brand's story, which begins as his wife is divorcing him. At the same time, he's investigating the murder of a childhood friend. This entertaining mystery moves quickly, and McCarthy's low, gravelly voice perfectly suits Jake, and the angel and devil that talk into each of his ears. Jake lives under a dark cloud; his struggles with alcohol add to his character, making him more likable. As Jake's friends help him through his life crisis and point him toward more adventures, McCarthy engages listeners through his fluid cadence and steady pacing. The twists and turns of this whodunit make it a fun listen. S.C.A. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

ANNABEL LEE Coffey & Hill, Book 1
Mike Nappa, Read by Romy Nordlinger • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Oasis Audio • Trade Ed.
Oasis Audio • Library Ed.

Narrator Romy Nordlinger's animated voice captures a variety of compelling characters in this unusual mystery, whose title alludes to Edgar Allan Poe's poem of the same name. Nordlinger's accomplished portrayals capture the story's main characters: a frightened 11-year old named Annabel Lee; her mysterious uncle, Truck; a Special Forces sniper called "Mute"; and private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill. Giving the principals appropriate age and character traits, Nordlinger uses emphatic enunciation to create dramatic tension when Uncle Truck rushes the young girl to a military-style bunker deep underground, leaving a German shepherd that is trained to kill with her for protection. Nordlinger's ominous delivery of Uncle Truck's warning not to unlock the door for anyone— even him—is chilling. While this Christian suspense story features forgiveness, it's far from a typical faith-based mystery. G.D.W. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Laura McHugh, Read by Sarah Scott • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Random House Audio • Trade Ed.
Books on Tape • Library Ed.

Arden Arrowood knows loss. Arden's younger sisters went missing when she was just 8 years old, and she has spent the 20 years since searching for them—and for the girl she was before. Narrator Sarah Scott does a compelling job of bringing Arden to life for listeners. After several moves, and the death of her father, she returns to Arrowood, her family home. Once home, she tries to discover what happened to her sisters while also attempting to figure out who she is and what comes next. Scott transitions between characters—and between memory and the present day—seamlessly altering tone, inflection, and cadence. Her delivery enhances the story while building toward the chilling conclusion. Despite the darker plot points, Scott makes Arden's journey relatable for anyone who struggles to avoid being defined by the past while also trying to understand it. K.S.M. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

G.M. Best, Read by David Thorpe • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
ISIS Audio Books • Trade Ed.

Narrator David Thorpe flawlessly re-creates the nineteenth-century England of Anthony Trollope's Barchester Towers in this remarkable mystery featuring Trollope himself as an unlikely sleuth. Trollope's post office work takes him to Hiram's Hospital for Men, where he witnesses a shocking murder. Thorpe convincingly portrays people of all classes and educational levels and delivers the quavering voices of the hospital's patients as Trollope and Inspector Becker seek the killer among the frail old men. In addition to Trollope, Thorpe's standout characters are kind, gentle Reverend Harding, warden of the home, and nasty Archdeacon Grantly, Harding's son-in-law and polar opposite. Vivid descriptions of the glorious countryside and the horrors of prison, workhouses, and public hangings take listeners into the action. A clever afterword recommends THE WARDEN by Anthony Trollope as a follow-up to this audiobook. S.G.B. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

CLOSED CASKET The New Hercule Poirot Mystery
Sophie Hannah, Agatha Christie, Read by Julian Rhind-Tutt • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Harper Audio • Trade Ed.

Narrator Julian Rhind-Tutt's only real challenge in this mystery is keeping the story moving as Poirot struggles uncharacteristically to solve the mystery of who killed a dying man (and why). Rhind-Tutt makes Poirot immediately recognizable. His portrayal of Edward Catchpool—previously seen in the first Poirot reboot, THE MONOGRAM MURDERS—is the perfect Poirot foil, expressing equal parts irritation and affection for the master detective. The suspects—the flighty Lady Athelinda Playford, her hearty son and his whining wife, her bitingly modern daughter and her forceful fiancé, and assorted upstairs and downstairs staff—are all distinct and well crafted. Despite story imperfections, Poirot fans will be delighted by Rhind-Tutt's second resurrection of the beloved Belgian detective. K.W. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

CRY OF THUNDER Sherlock Holmes & Kolchak the Night Stalker
Joe Gentile, Read by Johnny Heller • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Blackstone Audio • Trade Ed.

Fans of both the 1970s TV detective Kolchak, "The Night Stalker," and the iconic Sherlock Holmes will be delighted with this improbable tale in which these famous investigators work on the same crime a century apart. Narrator Johnny Heller's skills are on display as he shifts from the cynical coolness of a 21st-century crime reporter to the unflappable sophistication of the British arch-sleuth and to some minor characters, including an American cowboy. Heller's rapid yet distinct delivery allows him to keep the listener on track through the intense action, snappy dialogue, and multiple plotlines typical of this story's original graphic novel format. In its new form, this remains a clever, well-presented story with broad audience appeal. M.O.B. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

DIE LIKE AN EAGLE Meg Langslow, Book 20
Donna Andrews, Read by Bernadette Dunne • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Dreamscape • Trade Ed.

When Michael and Meg's twin sons join the youth baseball team, he coaches the team, and she becomes team mom even though, as the town mayor's assistant, she doesn't get along with league president, Biff Brown. When Meg discovers Biff's look alike brother dead in the portable toilet, she suspects the intended victim was Biff in this comical, avian-themed murder mystery. Narrator Bernadette Dunne uses diverse rhythms, pitch, tone, and pace to portray an assortment of entertaining characters and wacky family members who are caught up in sports fever, parental passions, and comical baseball politics. Her nuanced descriptions of Biff's bullying tactics and Meg's inquiry into Biff's construction company's possible shadiness are convincing in this newest addition to the Meg Langslow mystery series. G.D.W. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Susan Elia MacNeal, Read by Susan Duerden • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Random House Audio • Trade Ed.
Books on Tape • Library Ed.

Narrator Susan Duerden artfully depicts wartime Britain and the indomitable Maggie Hope as she works in the war effort AND encounters the Blackout Beast—a Jack the Ripper-like killer. Vivid descriptions of the countryside and Nazi atrocities evoke a you-are-there feel in the ever-changing setting. Duerden's best creation is gutsy 85-year-old air raid warden Vera Baines, who discovers a body and then provides vital clues to what happened. Listeners will be saddened to hear that WWII heroines (and their families) received no compensation if they were injured or killed. It's also frustrating to hear how men viewed these brave women. Good portraits of "K" the cat and a belligerent drunk, along with Hope's thoughts, add to the listening pleasure. The wonderful conclusion features a commanding Queen Mother. S.G.B. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Personal Growth To Category List

PRESENT OVER PERFECT Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living
Shauna Niequist, Read by Shauna Niequist • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Zondervan • Digital Download

Shauna Niequist invites listeners to leave behind an anxious, chaotic life for a more peaceful and purposeful one. The author narrates her collection of essays with the intent that sharing her journey from being busy and unfulfilled to slowing down and embracing simplicity will help others who know the same burned-out feeling. Niequist's soothing, warm voice supports her message of seeking grace. Her delivery is smooth, and her pace leisurely; she sounds authentic as she encourages others to relish the present and consider each piece of advice. Each essay reflects an openness to life and is spoken in a gentle way—as to protect listeners from the burden of perfectionism and overextending themselves. D.Z. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Romantic Fiction To Category List

Marie Force, Read by Felicity Munroe • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Harlequin Audio • Trade Ed.
Blackstone Audio • Library Ed.

Narrator Felicity Munroe's facility with shifts in tone and subtle, effective accents and pacing enlivens the characters in this fast-paced and fun listen, the tenth book in the Fatal series. Lt. Samantha Holland, gorgeous top homicide cop, and wife of the nation's hunky vice president, is serving a four-day suspension from the D.C. police force. She's even facing possible action by the U.S. Attorney when she's approached by a man who believes he was abducted as a baby by his father, who is the current FBI director. The combination of Munroe's acting talents, an engaging story, and likable characters makes for an enjoyable listen. A.C.P. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Debbie Macomber, Read by Suzanne Elise Freeman • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Random House Audio • Trade Ed.
Books on Tape • Library Ed.

Narrator Suzanne Elise Freeman conveys Macomber's yearly Christmas present to her fans with bubbly warmth. Listeners will share the joy of the season in Seattle, Washington, in this seamlessly paced rendition. Julia Paddon's grouchy neighbor, Cain Maddox, annoys her to no end. A friend advises Julia to kill him with kindness. Julia decides to blog about her interactions with him in the 12 days leading to Christmas. Julia loves Christmas, and Freeman shows her enthusiasm vibrantly. The gruff timbre of Cain's voice illuminates how sparks fly as he attempts to resist her friendly efforts. Then things turn romantic, and they plan to spend Christmas together. When Cain learns about the blog, Julia must prove their love can last all year long. S.H. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Young Adult To Category List

ASHES Seeds of America Trilogy, Book 3
Laurie Halse Anderson, Read by Siiri Scott • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Brilliance Audio • Trade Ed.
Brilliance Audio • Library Ed.

The Seeds of America Trilogy comes to a close with Siiri Scott, a narrator new to the series, portraying the resilient Isabel. The former slave is continuing to search for her younger sister, Ruth, with her close friend, Curzon, during the last months of the American Revolution. With crisp diction and even pacing, Scott captures Isabel's complex emotions when she finally finds her sister and is then tasked with keeping her safe during times of uncertainty. Scott shifts her tone to create a youthful voice for stubborn Ruth and deepens her voice to reflect the matter-of-fact personality of Curzon. Listeners will be captivated by this powerful story of family, survival, and freedom. M.D. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

THE DUEL The Parallel Lives of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr
Judith St. George, Read by John H. Mayer • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Listening Library • Trade Ed.
Listening Library • Library Ed.

John H. Mayer's narration of this engaging chronicle of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr brings to mind a fireside storyteller recounting an oft-told tale. His tone strikes an excellent balance between solemn and conversational, showing a reverence for both men and a lighthearted sense of humor in recounting their human flaws. However, even when the narrative moves quickly, giving it great potential to draw young readers into the current wave of interest surrounding both historical figures, Mayer's pacing remains slow and measured. Furthermore, he misses the opportunity to convey the high stakes of the infamous duel to which the audiobook owes its title. E.M.C. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Elizabeth Fama, Read by Julia Whelan • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Elizabeth Fama • Digital Download

Julia Whelan's impassioned narration enhances the author's story of an alternate reality. In this world, citizens are divided—living either by day and or by night. Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a "smudge"—someone relegated by law to live under the veil of night. Sol fakes an injury as part of her plan to give her dying grandfather one last gift—to hold his great-granddaughter, Sol's niece, who is a ray, someone who lives her life during the day. Unknowingly, Sol sets in motion a series of events that lead to political unrest and unlikely love. Sol's desperation and intense love come through powerfully in Whelan's delivery as the members an intriguing subculture come to life. A.L.C. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Gregg Hurwitz, Read by Todd Haberkorn • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Brilliance Audio • Trade Ed.
Brilliance Audio • Library Ed.

In this chilling account of an alien invasion, Todd Haberkorn portrays young Chance Rain—a small-town teen who fights for his life as the world descends into madness around him. This is Gregg Hurwitz's first YA novel, and teen audiences will find courageous, relatable protagonists; rousing action; and a mystery that unfolds against a background of horror and suspense. Haberkorn's pacing is admirable—he keeps a fast-moving story on track without rushing the narrative and treats the serious moments with appropriate gravity. His warm, wry delivery reflects Chance's thoughts as he tries to save the world, and his impressive range captures Chance's friends and enemies. An ideal listen for fans of horror, dystopian novels, or sci-fi. K.S.B. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Jay Asher, Read by Mandy Siegfried • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2016
Listening Library • Trade Ed.
Listening Library • Library Ed.

Listeners follow the story of Sierra, a high school junior who feels like she's living two lives. Her family owns a Christmas tree farm in Oregon, but every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas they move to California to sell their trees at the lot they've owned for 30 years. Narrator Mandy Siegfried portrays Sierra as she tries to balance her life in both places. Siegfried's delivery is well paced as she shares Sierra's love for both the tree farm and the sales lot. The author deserves credit for making Sierra, her friends, and her romance seem credible in spite of this book's sounding somewhat like a made-for-TV holiday movie. N.E.M. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine


SoundReviews To Category List

Hear excerpts from each title and listen to a candid AudioFile review.
A new SoundReview is posted each weekday!

AGE OF MYTH by Michael J. Sullivan, read by Tim Gerard Reynolds

CAPTAIN TO CAPTAIN by Greg Cox, read by Robert Petkoff

THE DARK SIDE by Anthony O'Neill, read by Steve West

WATCHING EDIE by Camilla Way, read by Heather Wilds and Fiona Hardingham

SIRACUSA by Delia Ephron, read by Darren Goldstein, Talia Balsam, Katie Finneran, and John Slattery



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