STAFF PICK: Brotopia by Emily Chang

Title: Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley
Author: Emily Chang
Narrator: Emily Chang

Bloomberg Technology reporter Emily Chang confronts Silicon Valley’s rampant sexism, which has excluded women from the greatest wealth creation of our generation.

For a really terrifying listen this Friday 13th, look no further than Brotopia. From the very beginning, this book had me riled! It features example after example of women systemically being excluded from the tech industry. From unconscious bias to very conscious harassment, the industry is at best unwelcoming and has led to women dropping out of tech at a rate 45% higher than men, if they can even breach the walls at all.

With each new stat and story, I grew increasingly agitated. I’m quite good at multitasking with audiobooks, but here and there this one required me to pause to absorb the gravity of what she was saying. During some parts my jaw dropped and I glared at my audio-producing phone as if it would return my incredulous expression.

The narration feels unsurprisingly like a news report, which is not my preference but was subtle and suited the book’s content. Emily Chang is clear and steady, just as you’d expect from a trained reporter.

While it may make your blood boil, it ends on a high note, with encouraging stats and advice to build the solution’s momentum. Whether you’re in the tech industry or not, you can benefit from what Chang has to say. This listen certainly won’t brighten your day, but it will broaden your perspective.

Brotopia

 

 

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Perfect Audiobooks for Friday the 13th

This Friday the 13th, let the hair on the back of your neck stand a little taller with seven new horror and thriller audiobooks.

1. The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian, narrated by Mark DeakinsErin Spencer and Grace Experience

The Flight Attendant

When Cassandra Bowden awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police, Cassie begins to lie.
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2. Drifters by John L. Campbell, narrated by Richard Ferrone

Drifters

The survivors of the Omega Virus make a desperate effort to find the living. But the walking dead aren’t done with them yet. Helicopter pilot Vladimir Yurish is a man of his word. The last thing he wants is to abandon the safety of the U.S.S. Nimitz and his newly adopted son Ben. Still, a promise is a promise, no matter how close to death it brings him. 
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3. The Terminal List by Jack Carr, narrated by Ray Porter

The Terminal List

A Navy SEAL has nothing left to live for and everything to kill for after he discovers that the American government is behind the deaths of his team in this ripped-from-the-headlines political thriller. On his last combat deployment, Lieutenant Commander James Reece’s entire team was killed in a catastrophic ambush that also claimed the lives of the aircrew sent in to rescue them. 
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4. The French Girl by Lexie Elliott, narrated by Katharine McEwan

The French Girl

They were six university students from Oxford – friends and sometimes more than friends – spending an idyllic week together in a French farmhouse. It was supposed to be the perfect summer getaway… until they met Severine, the girl next door. There are some things you can’t forgive. And there are some people you can’t forget… like Severine, who was never seen again.
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5. Fifty Fifty by James Patterson and Candice Fox, narrated by Federay Holmes

Fifty Fifty

What are the chances that convicted killer Sam Blue is innocent of the serial murders of three young women? Determined to clear his name, Detective Harriet Blue reassigns to a remote town where a found diary reveals a murderous plan. The clock is already ticking. Meanwhile, back in the city, a young woman holds the key to crack Harriet’s brother’s case wide open. If only she could escape the madmen holding her hostage.
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6. The Clarity by Keith Thomas, narrated by Robin Eller

The Clarity

Psychologist Matilda Deacon must protect 11-year old Ashanique, whose memory of past lives makes them both targets. When Ashanique claims to harbor the memories of the last soldier killed in World War I, Matilda is skeptical. But when she talks about being chased by the Night Doctors – a term also used by an unstable patient who was later found dead – Matilda realizes she may be telling the truth.
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7. Caribbean Rim by Randy Wayne White, narrated by George Guidall

Caribbean Rim

Murder, sunken treasure, and pirates send Doc Ford on a nightmare quest in the thrilling new novel in the New York Times-bestselling series. Marine biologist Doc Ford’s been known to help his friends out of jams occasionally, but he’s never faced a situation like this. Greed makes people do terrible things: rob, cheat, even kill. With stakes this high, there’s no way anyone will go quietly.
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STAFF PICK: Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

Title: Only Child
Author: Rhiannon Navin
Narrator: Kivlighan De Montebello

First grader Zach Taylor’s school is the latest to be flocked by reporters and thrown into the headlines for the most devastating reason: it has been added to the long list of school shootings in the United States. Told from the perspective of a six-year-old boy facing trauma and loss, Only Child could easily and heartbreakingly pass as non-fiction.

Crammed in a coat closet that smells like pee and his teacher’s coffee breath, six-year-old Zach and his classmates listen to gunshots firing through the halls of their school. A gunman entered the building, taking 19 young lives and forever changing the once peaceful community and Taylor family. Growing up far faster than any child should, Zach is a stunning example of the wisdom, optimism, and forgiveness of children that is so often forgotten as we age.

In the aftermath of tragedy, the Taylor family struggles to cope. Zach’s mother focuses on pursuing justice against the shooter’s parents, holding them accountable for the pain their son caused, despite backlash from the community, while his father is more distant than ever. As Zach’s world begins to crumble around him, he loses himself in a magical world of books and art that help lead him, and the adults in his life, on a path of healing and forgiveness.

The author’s ability to storytell from the perspective of a six-year-old boy is striking. Rhiannon Navin dug so deep in subtle, aching ways that I found myself pausing it for the sake of gathering myself. What made the story even more compelling was the narration by young actor Kivlighan De Montebello, who perfectly portrays Zach and made me even more emotionally invested in the story. While I always prefer listening to audiobooks over print, I strongly encourage anyone interested in Only Child to listen to it in audio in order to get the most powerful experience.

Only Child.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Audiobooks.com interview with Jody Gehrman, author and narrator of Watch Me

If you’re a fan of dark, twisted psychological thrillers, Jody Gehrman‘s Watch Me: A Gripping Psychological Thriller, will leave you guessing until the very end. Listen to our interview with the author to find out the inspiration behind the story, her advice for aspiring narrators and authors, and more!

 

Audiobooks.com: Watch Me is a psychological thriller about how far obsession can go. Where did the inspiration for the novel come from?

 

Jody: I’m a professor at a small college and I’ve been teaching at the college level for two decades, so I’ve seen a lot of changes on campus and was thinking about how much fear had entered into the campus equation in the last two decades. We were doing trainings about active shootings and what to do if God forbid that ever happened, and I was thinking about that and wanted to find a way to personalize that fear, to express it through two characters. At the same time, I had been thinking a lot about women – and certainly this happens to men, too, but especially women – when you turn a certain corner in your life and you no longer feel very visible or relevant. You start to feel less seen, and I realized how vulnerable that can make a person feel, especially if there’s someone who does give them that attention.

 

Audiobooks.com: You describe yourself as a lifelong audiobook lover. What ignited your passion for audiobooks and audio in general?

 

Jody: My obsession with it predates this wonderful renaissance we’re going through with audiobooks. I found a collection of tape cassettes at the library ages ago that were old, 1940s radio drama. I just fell in love with this form of storytelling and drama. there’s something so nurturing about coming home, doing the dishes, and having someone tell you a story. it’s the most fantastic, nurturing thing to just shut off and become the listener.

 

Audiobooks.com: Absolutely! So how did the opportunity to narrate your own novel arise?

 

Jody: I let Macmillan Audio know that I listened to one or two books a week and am really obsessed with [audiobooks], and had all kinds of ideas about narrators. They were open to that and I sent them a list of narrators. As I was listening to possible narrators for the role of Kate, I couldn’t fight this nagging feeling that I wanted to read it myself. So I told them I really do understand that sometimes, the author is not the best person to read their work. But I wanted them to audition me on equal footing with other narrators just to pick the person they felt would work best and so they asked me to do it. I absolutely loved reading my own work and kind of visiting it from that angle. It was a completely different perspective on the book for me.

 

Audiobooks.com: What do readers gain from listening to the audiobook that they miss out on if they just read the print version?

 

Jody: One of the things that struck me in listening to especially Holter [Graham]’s section was that he really brought out a lot of humor in the character, Sam, and he’s not inherently a funny character – he’s a really demented person, rather a scary brain to inhabit. i love the way he was able to make me laugh out loud. i don’t know that i would have that experience just reading the book.

 

Audiobooks.com: What advice would you give someone interested in narrating, writing a book, or both?

 

Jody: I’m not going to pretend to be an expert, but because I do listen to so many audiobooks, I notice a lot of things narrators do well and things they do not so well. I think a big part of it is trying to sink into the spirit of the work and not overdramatize.

Part of what a good narrator does is they disappear; they’re no longer thinking about their voice. they’re lost in the story.

The temptation for actors much of the time is to really have a huge variation in the voices – for example, for a man to go really high on the woman’s voices or vice versa for women. I think that’s mostly distracting. In my opinion, less is more.

If the hope is to be a novelist because you love to write, because you love to write more than anything, that’s the biggest secret to making it – indulging that love and writing as often as you can. I know most of us have busy lives and it’s hard to carve out space. Figure out a daily practice to keep working and use that love of writing to balance out the more crazy making aspects of the industry. For example, pitching, promoting and selling your work are necessary, but they’re not the heart of being a writer. The actual heart is writing.

 

Audiobooks.com: Do you think you’ll narrate any future novels you put out into the world?

 

Jody: I would love to. I don’t want to force it. If I write a character that isn’t in the right age range or demographic, I certainly would prefer that someone who fits better would be the person. But I’m also getting more interested in the issues of being in your late 30s and 40s and experiencing the changes you go through in those time periods, so maybe I will fit the right demographic. I certainly would love to do it again.

 

Watch Me.

Kate Youngblood is disappearing. Muddling through her late 30s as a creative writing professor, the follow-up novel to her successful debut tanked. Her husband left her for a woman a decade younger. She fears no one will ever truly look at or know her again. Except for Sam Grist, her most promising student. A talented writer who gravitates towards dark themes and twisted plots, he’s not just there to be a great writer. He’s been watching her. Wanting her. Working his way to her for years. As he makes his way into her life, they enter a deadly web of dangerous lies and forbidden desire.
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This interview has been condensed and edited. For the full interview, listen here.

 

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March’s Top 10 Audiobooks.com Member Downloads

Listen to this month’s roundup of the top fiction and non fiction titles downloaded by Audiobooks.com members.

Fiction

1. The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian, narrated by Mark DeakinsErin Spencer and Grace Experience

Flight Attendant.

A flight attendant wakes up in the wrong hotel, in the wrong bed, with a dead man – and no idea what happened. Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She’s a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. Afraid to call the police, Cassie begins to lie.
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2. Look For Me by Lisa Gardner, narrated by Kirsten Potter

Look For Me.

The home of a family of five is now a crime scene: four are savagely murdered, and a 16-year-old girl is missing. Was she lucky to escape? Or is her absence evidence of something sinister? Detective D.D. Warren is on the case, but so is the survivor-turned-avenger Flora Dane. Seeking different types of justice, they must make sense of the clues left behind by a young woman who, whether a victim or suspect, is silently pleading.
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3. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, narrated by Julia Whelan

The Great Alone.

Alaska, 1974. Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed. For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival. Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.
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4. The Shape Of Water by Daniel Kraus and Guillermo Del Toro, narrated by Jenna Lamia

The Shape Of Water.

The Shape of Water is set in Cold War-era Baltimore at the Occam Aerospace Research Center, which has recently received its most sensitive asset ever: an amphibious man captured in the Amazon. What unfolds is a stirring romance between the asset and one of the janitors on staff, a mute woman who uses sign language to communicate with the creature.
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5. The Escape Artist by Brad Meltzer, narrated by Scott Brick and January LaVoy

The Escape Artist.

Who is Nola Brown? Nola is a mystery. Nola is trouble. And Nola is supposed to be dead. Her body was found on a plane that mysteriously fell from the sky as it left a secret military base in the Alaskan wilderness. Her commanding officer verifies she’s dead. The U.S. government confirms it. But Jim “Zig” Zigarowski has just found out the truth: Nola is still alive. And on the run.
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Non-Fiction

1. Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump by David Corn and Michael Isikoff, narrated by Peter Ganim

Russian Roulette.

The incredible, harrowing account of how American democracy was hacked by Moscow as part of a covert operation to influence the U.S. election and help Donald Trump gain the presidency.
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2. Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis, narrated by Rachel Hollis

Girl, Wash Your Face.

With wry wit and hard-earned wisdom, popular online personality and founder of TheChicSite.com founder Rachel Hollis helps readers break free from the lies keeping them from the joy-filled and exuberant life they are meant to have.
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3. The Kremlin’s Candidate by Jason Matthews, narrated by Jeremy Bobb

The Kremlin's Candidate.

In the final, thrilling installment of the Red Sparrow Trilogy, Russian counterintelligence chief Dominika Egorova and her lover, CIA agent Nate Nash, must find a Russian agent about to be appointed to a very high office in the US government.
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4. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara, narrated by Gabra Zackman

I'll Be Gone.

A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer-the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade-from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.
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5. Educated by Tara Westover, narrated by Julia Whelan

Educated.

An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University. Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills” bag.
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STAFF PICK: The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Title: The Wife Between Us
Author: 
Greer HendricksSarah Pekkanen
Narrator: Julia Whelan

I’m ashamed to admit my ego convinced me I could figure out the tangled anatomy of the love triangle in The Wife Between Us. The book description even warns that listeners will make many assumptions.

you will assume you are listening to a story about a jealous ex-wife.
you will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
you will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing.

I thought my creative thinking and investigative skills would allow me to piece things together on my own long before the plot unfolded. I was dead wrong.

Filled with wild twists and turns that make it painful to hit pause, The Wife Between Us swallowed me into the rabbit’s hole of a seemingly picture perfect marriage with unimaginable secrets and dangerous truths. Narrator Julia Whelan makes this story even more tantalizing with her ability to transform into a spectrum of characters, from the calculating Vanessa to the condescending Richard to the impressionable Emma.

At the end of every chapter, I was dying to know more, hoping there would be a critical piece of evidence in solving the plot’s puzzle. More often than not, I was left with more questions than answers. Nothing could’ve braced me for its shocking ending.

The spellbinding relationship between authors Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen began nearly a decade ago when Hendricks was the editor of Pekkanen’s debut novel. They credit their similar narrative instincts and approaches to storytelling, as well as their ability to be “curious students of human nature,” to the success of The Wife Between Us.

The Wife Between Us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to a sample and get the whole story here.

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