7 Chilling Summer Listens

If the air conditioner doesn’t give you goosebumps this summer, these thrillers will.

 

1. A Blood Thing by James Hankins, narrated by Timothy Andrés Pabon

A Blood Thing.

Governor Andrew Kane, is at a public meet-and-greet when a stranger slips him a phone and whispers, “Keep this… you’re going to need it after the arrest.” Hours later, Andrew’s brother is framed for murder, and discovers there is only one way to free him: answer the phone and agree to a blackmailer’s demands. He complies, but the stranger isn’t done. He has another little condition. Then another. And another…
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2. Unwelcome Guests by Anna Willett, narrated by Cat Gould

Unwelcome Guests

A weekend getaway in an isolated country house is just what Caitlin needs to fix her relationship with husband Eli. Her spirits are up as they enter the retreat and cool off in the nearby lake. But her husband is cold and dismissive so Caitlin decides to drown her sorrows, and heads into the wine cellar. What she finds there will change their lives forever.
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3. Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding, narrated by Kirby HeyborneCassandra CampbellRebekkah Ross

Her Pretty Face

Frances Metcalfe thought her troubled son getting accepted into an elite school would change their lives. But after an incident that ostracizes the Metcalfes, she feels more alone than ever. Until she meets Kate Randolph. Kate is everything Frances is not: beautiful, wealthy, powerful, and confident. As they bond, a secret erupts. One of these women is not who she seems. Her real name is Amber Kunik. And she’s a murderer.
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4. The Cabin At The End Of The World by Paul Tremblay, narrated by Amy Landon

The Cabin At The End Of The World.

Seven-year-old Wen and her parents are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet lake. As Wen catches bugs, a stranger appears. Leonard is the large, young, and friendly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and says, “None of what’s going to happen is your fault.” Three more strangers arrive, beginning a gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival.
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5. Half Moon Bay by Alice Laplante, narrated by Gabra Zackman

Half Moon Bay

Jane loses everything when her teenage daughter is killed in an accident. Devastated, she makes one tiny stab at a new life: she moves to the tiny seaside town of Half Moon Bay. She is able to cobble together some version of a job, friends, and peace. And then, children begin to disappear. As the disappearances continue, her neighbors wonder is if it is Jane herself who has unleashed the horror of loss.
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6. The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker, narrated by Edoardo Ballerini and Graham Winton

The Fifth To Die

Detective Porter has been pulled from the hunt for Anson Bishop, the Four Monkey Killer, by the feds. When the body of a young girl is found beneath frozen waters, she is identified as Ella Reynolds, missing three weeks. But how did she get there? The lagoon froze months earlier. More baffling? She’s found wearing the clothes of another girl, missing less than two days. 
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7. Last Girl by J. G. Hetherton, narrated by Laura Jennings

Last Girl Gone

Fired from the Boston Globe, Laura Chambers takes a job with the local paper. The work is boring – at least until a missing girl turns up dead. Years earlier, child after child disappeared, a reign of terror the town desperately wants to forget. Now that terror has returned to seize another girl. And another. And another. She dives deeper into a case, only to discover the truth may be far closer to home than she could have imagined.
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STAFF PICK: From The Corner Of The Oval

Post by Pam Campbell

Title: From The Corner Of The Oval
Author: Beck Dorey-Stein
Narrator: Beck Dorey-Stein

 

Thanks to Beck Dorey-Stein and her book From the Corner of the Oval, I know with absolute certainty that I don’t have the stamina or the party animal ability to work for the White House.

After answering a Craigslist add online, Dorey-Stein lands the job of a lifetime (and yes, the White House really did put a job posting on Craigslist) working as a stenographer for the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. She takes us inside the daily lives of the lucky individuals who travel around the world with the president and it is nothing short of a whirlwind: a high-flying, up-and-down party that is mixed in with hard work, and long hours. Dorey-Stein and her colleagues are dedicated to their jobs, but that doesn’t stop them from letting loose on a regular basis.

This is not a tell-all book of the president’s or nation’s secrets. You will not get any dirty gossip about Obama. This book is in fact a front row seat to a woman discovering who she is while she is learning the ropes of her new job in a high stakes working environment. She makes mistakes – professionally, yes, but mostly personally – and I found myself wanting to shake her and say “NO! Not again! Stop.” But just when you think you can’t keep up with the full throttle pace of her life, Dorey-Stein gifts the listener with moments of stillness, reflection, and exhalation.

Most of these moments come from her interactions with Obama himself or her watching his interactions with others. We learn of the heartfelt moments that Obama shares with survivors, we learn of his genuine kindness and more importantly we see the proof that the kindness, leadership, and grace of one person can have a profound impact on those around them. It was these moments throughout the book that really resonated with me. Knowing that in the midst of the very loud, adventurous, chaotic everyday comings and goings, your actions, your words, and attitude can have a positive impact both directly and indirectly.

So while this is a memoir of a stenographer for the 44th President of the United States of America, it is so much more than that. While Dorey-Stein’s story unfolded in a most amazing setting, at a daily pace much faster than the average person, it is easy to relate to her; to her setbacks, her triumphs and her doubts. The fact that Dorey-Stein narrates herself lends to the personal nature of the audiobook experience. I found myself not only cheering her on, but also enjoying her eloquent and witty perspective on navigating life.

From The Corner Of The Oval.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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STAFF PICK: Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding

Post by Laura Laidman

Title: Her Pretty Face
Author: Robyn Harding
Narrator: Kirby HeyborneCassandra CampbellRebekkah Ross

Frances Metcalfe has a secret; a secret that could tear apart her home, her family, and the one real friendship she has managed to forge. But in Robyn Harding’s Her Pretty Face, Frances isn’t the only one holding on to a dark secret that lies in waiting just below the surface of her life.

Between her distant husband, her difficult son, and the gossiping mothers at her son’s school, Frances finds solace in Kate Randolph. Kate is everything Frances is not – confident, beautiful, successful, and happy. It’s with her that Frances finds motivation to come out of her shell and move past the pain that haunts her. Unfortunately for Frances, Kate isn’t everything she seems. Darkness looms in Frances’s new friend, one that might be worse than anything Frances herself has to hide away from the world.

Told from three perspectives, Frances herself, Kate’s rebellious teenage daughter Daisy, and DJ, a young man with a haunting past of his own, Her Pretty Face is a perfect pick for fans of domestic dramas and thrillers alike.  Each perspective is read by its own narrator, with Kirby Heyborne (Gone Girl), Cassandra Campbell (Small Great Things), and Rebekkah Ross (All The Missing Girlsall giving amazing performances. They bring Frances, Daisy, and DJ to life with the passion and desperation that each character radiates.

Full of twists and turns, Her Pretty Face was an audiobook I just couldn’t press pause on. Each chapter brought the characters deeper down their own dizzying rabbit holes, which twisted together as the story progressed. Fans of true crime will love this one too, with its subtle influences from famous crimes that were interesting to pick up on. Her Pretty Face is the perfect listen for those long summer nights.

Her Pretty Face

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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STAFF PICK: The Woman In The Woods by John Connolly

Post by Miranda Winters-Sayle

Title: The Woman In The Woods
Author: John Connolly
Narrator: Jeff Harding

A young woman is found buried in the Maine woods, her body showing signs that she gave birth shortly before her death. Private detective Charlie Parker is hired to recover the missing child — but he isn’t the only one looking him. Someone else is interested in the whereabouts of the child, and they are leaving a trail of bodies in their wake.

The latest installment to John Connolly’s Charlie Parker series has something for lovers of various genres: mystery, paranormal thriller, and horror. What makes the audiobook even more exciting is that it isn’t a typical “whodunit” mystery — in fact, the reader is made aware of the whereabouts of the child within the first few chapters. The question is: Who will find him first?

I was a little hesitant to listen to this book as a first time Connolly reader. Launching headfirst into the 16th title in a series can be intimidating. However, the author does a fantastic job of giving enough information that I felt like I knew Charlie Parker without being overwhelmed with exposition of the events from previous titles in the series.

Listeners are able to follow both Charlie Parker and his adversary Quayle as they search for the missing child. This was hands-down my favorite part of the novel, as many authors do not allow the reader inside the head of the antagonist. Quayle is the perfect villain: clever, cruel, and absolutely creepy.

Fans of previous Charlie Parker audiobooks will be pleased to know that Jeff Harding continues narrating the series. His tone matches what you would expect from the protagonist in a gritty detective novel that doesn’t disappoint.

The Woman in the Woods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 Books That Prove Wasting Time isn’t a Waste of Time

Ever feel like there just aren’t enough hours in a day to get everything done?

Living in a frenetic, connected world has pushed us to fill every waking second of our days with work for fear that wasted time will mean wasted potential. But, this isn’t healthy, and we must find a way to cope with the overwhelming stress fueled by our addiction to speed.

These seven books will help you do just that. Take a step back, relax, and discover why wasting time may just be the best way to use your time.

 

1. In Praise of Wasting Time by Alan Lightman, narrated by Alan Lightman

In this timely and essential book that offers a fresh take on the qualms of modern day life, Professor Alan Lightman investigates the creativity born from allowing our minds to freely roam, without attempting to accomplish anything and without any assigned tasks. Break free from the idea that we must not waste a single second, and discover how sometimes the best thing to do is to do nothing at all. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

2. The Art of the Wasted Day by Patricia Hampl, narrated by Patricia Hampl

The Art of the Wasted Day is a picaresque travelogue of leisure written from a lifelong enchantment with solitude. Patricia Hampl visits the homes of historic exemplars of ease who made repose a goal, even an art form. The real job of being human, Hampl finds, is getting lost in thought, something only leisure can provide. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

 

3. Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, narrated by Adam Sims

Overwork is the new normal. Rest is something to do when the important things are done—but they are never done. Looking at different forms of rest, from sleep to vacation, Silicon Valley futurist and business consultant Alex Soojung-Kim Pang dispels the myth that the harder we work the better the outcome. “Deliberate rest,” as Pang calls it, is the true key to productivity, and will give us more energy, sharper ideas, and a better life. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

4. Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self by Manoush Zomorodi, narrated by Manoush Zomorodi

Has your smartphone become your BFF? Do you feel bored when you’re not checking Facebook or Instagram? Bored and Brilliant: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Spacing Out explains the connection between boredom and original thinking and explores how we can harness boredom’s hidden benefits to become our most productive selves. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

 

5. In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed by Carl Honre, narrated by Carl Honore

We live in the age of speed. We strain to be more efficient, to cram more into each minute, each hour, each day. Living on the edge of exhaustion, we are constantly reminded that the pace of life is spinning out of control. Realizing the price we pay for unrelenting speed, people all over the world are reclaiming their time—and living happier, healthier, and more productive lives. A Slow revolution is taking place. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

6. An Oasis in Time: How a Day of Rest Can Save Your Life by Marilyn Paul, narrated by Vanessa Daniels

Now, more than ever, people are seeking a reprieve from the constant pressure to achieve, produce, and consume. While many turn to mindfulness and meditation, organizational change expert Marilyn Paul, Ph.D. offers a complementary solution that is as radical as it is ancient.  Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

 

 

7. The Art of Stillness by Pico Iyer, narrated by Pico Iyer

In this age of constant movement and connectedness, when so many of us are all over the place, perhaps staying in one place and locating everything we need for peace and happiness there is a more exciting prospect and a greater necessity than ever before. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Other Side of the Castle: 6 Fairy Tales as Told by the Villains

For centuries, fairy tales have delighted the young and the old. Passed down through fireside fables and aged storybooks, these stories have been told and retold, yet they continue to captivate readers. As the tales typically go, good triumphs while evil is punished. Yet, nothing is ever what it seems. There are stories untold even in the most classic and familiar tales. Step into the shoes of some of the most infamous villains with these new spins on classic fairy tales.

 

1. All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella’s Stepmother by Danielle Teller, narrated by Jane Copland

As rumors about the cruel upbringing of beautiful newlywed Princess Cinderella roil the kingdom, her stepmother, Agnes, who knows all too well about hardship, privately records the true story. The story of their relationship reveals that nothing is what it seems, that beauty is not always desirable, and that love can take on many guises. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

 

2. Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust, narrated by Jennifer Ikeda

Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy re-imagining of the Snow White fairy tale.
After the death of her mother, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart and become queen. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother to fifteen-year-old Lynet. Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

3. Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller, narrated by Elizabeth Marvel

In this novel authorized by the Little House estate, Sarah Miller vividly recreates the beauty, hardship, and joys of the frontier in a dazzling work of historical fiction, a captivating story that illuminates one courageous, resilient, and loving pioneer woman as never before—Caroline Ingalls, “Ma” in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved Little House books. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

 

4. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao, narrated by Kim Mai Guest

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns reimagines The Evil Queen legend as a tale of one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress. Growing up in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But, in order to achieve greatness, Xifeng must embrace the darkness within her. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

5. Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker by Gregory Maguire, narrated by Steven Crossley

Hiddensee recreates the backstory of the Nutcracker, re-imagining how this entrancing creature came to be carved and how it magically guided an ailing little girl named Klara through a dreamy paradise on a snowy Christmas Eve. It also brings to life the mysterious godfather Drosselmeier, the ominous, canny, one-eyed toymaker who presents the Nutcracker to Klara, his goddaughter. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

6. Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes, narrated by Moira Quirk

Dinah, the future Queen of Wonderland, has not yet seen the dark depths of her kingdom; she longs only for her father’s approval and a future with the boy she loves. But when a betrayal threatens her throne, she is launched into Wonderland’s dangerous political game. Queen of Hearts brings to life the epic origin of Wonderland’s infamous villain. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

 

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