STAFF PICK: A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson

Title: A Nearly Normal Family
Author: M.T. Edvardsson
Narrators: Emily Watson, Richard Armitage, Georgia Maguire

If you haven’t heard of M.T. Edvardsson, the author of A Nearly Normal Family, then that is going to change really, really, soon. Edvardsson is not a new writer, and has written a number of critically acclaimed books in his native Sweden, both in the genres of thriller, and young adult. You can see these different aspects of his writing at play in A Nearly Normal Family, which is the first of his novels to be available in audio in Canada and the US.

A Nearly Normal Family initially appealed to me because of a question asked in the synopsis of the book: “How far would you go to protect your children?” As a parent, instantly you want to say “I’d do anything”, but then you start to think. Would you lie to the police? Lie in court? A Nearly Normal Family challenges these ideas through the story of eighteen-year-old Stella Sandell, a girl accused of the murder of a shady businessman. Her father is a pastor, her mother, a criminal defense attorney. They find their morality tested to the extreme as they, of course, defend their daughter, even in the face of evidence, and in the aftermath of their daughter’s strange behavior.

The book is told in three parts. The first section is from the perspective of Adam, the father, the second, from the perspective of Stella, and the third, from Ulrika, Stella’s mother. What I find incredibly interesting is that with each section, your perception of the characters changes. Without giving anything away, I found that when Adam narrated, I felt sympathy for him, and very little for Stella. When Stella narrated, I began to dislike her parents, and felt so sorry for her. It’s a roller-coaster of emotions!

While this is listed as a legal thriller, and there’s a lot of great courtroom drama, it’s also very much a domestic thriller, with a lot of flashbacks, and background about the family, and psychological twists and turns.

The narrators of this book are amazing! Emily Watson, Georgia Maguire, and Richard Armitage, all of whom are excellent actors and narrators, bring gravitas to this serious and dramatic listen.

If you’re a fan of legal thrillers, domestic thrillers, or anything with psychological twists and turns, then this will certainly appeal to you. I think we will be seeing much more of Edvardsson in the future,  if this amazing novel is anything to go by.

Publisher Summary: 

M.T. Edvardsson’s A Nearly Normal Family is a gripping legal thriller that forces the listener to consider: How far would you go to protect the ones you love? In this twisted narrative of love and murder, a horrific crime makes a seemingly normal family question everything they thought they knew about their life-and one another.

Eighteen-year-old Stella Sandell stands accused of the brutal murder of a man almost fifteen years her senior. She is an ordinary teenager from an upstanding local family. What reason could she have to know a shady businessman, let alone to kill him?

Stella’s father, a pastor, and mother, a criminal defense attorney, find their moral compasses tested as they defend their daughter, while struggling to understand why she is a suspect. Told in an unusual three-part structure, A Nearly Normal Family asks the questions: How well do you know your own children? How far would you go to protect them?

Read more and sample the audio →

New to Audiobooks.com? Get 2 free audiobooks when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

SHARE

STAFF PICK: City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

Title: City of Girls
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Narrator: Blair Brown

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert is my first foray into the author’s fiction and what a first experience it was. This book is everything you could want and more. There is tension, sex, subtlety; there is despair, there is realness, and there is life.

Gilbert’s narrator is Vivian, an old (in age only) woman who is looking back at her life with clear eyes and telling her story in all its gritty glory. Blair Brown’s performance as Vivian is steadfast yet spunky, capturing perfectly the airs that Vivian exudes as she shares her stories. We are transported back to the world of the New York theatre in the 1940s with such depth and layers that you feel the fabrics, people, and joie de vivre of the era.

Vivian is 19 when she is sent to live with her eccentric Aunt Peg in New York City after she failed out of Vassar College. She is self-assured in the sense that she knows who she isn’t and is open to who she is about to become. She throws herself into the life of the theater and she puts her sewing skills to good use. Through parties and engaging with nightlife, Vivian ends up perfecting a few other skills as well. This lifestyle, however, doesn’t last for long. As we have the benefit of Vivian telling her story from old age, we get to see how she moves past scandals, the war, and the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s.

The first two-thirds of the book are upbeat, carefree, and almost flippant. But it’s the last part that drew me in the most. Vivian in her middle age is a true treasure. She continues to live by her own rules but does so with such poise and determination that you can’t help but cheer her on and wish she could impart more life lessons on you.

Gilbert expertly transports you to another time and place, and they consume you as Vivian’s story unfolds. Don’t be disheartened by the switch in the pace of the book. It is here in the slowness that we truly see the beauty of a woman building her life, her values, and her family. And it is here that we are treated to perhaps the most endearing part of Vivian’s life. It is here that she offers the best of herself to us, dear reader: she offers a reminder of the value in the love of friendship.

New to Audiobooks.com? Get 2 free audiobooks when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

SHARE

#TipTuesday – Get More Books!

We’ve heard from some of our subscribers that one audiobook a month is just NOT enough. With this in mind, today’s #TipTuesday social post is all about getting more books. And we have SO MANY ways to do this that a quick post on Facebook wasn’t enough to go into detail about the different ways you can get your listen on!

So what can you do to get more listens? Let us tell you!

1. Be a part of our VIP program

If you have a subscription with us, then you are automatically entered into our VIP program! What does this mean? It means you get to choose one free book from a curated selection every month! Browse this month’s special VIP Rewards book selection and choose your free title, either on your app, or on our website. VIP Rewards books will refresh on the first day of every month, at which point you’ll be able to browse the new selection and make your choice for one free download. All of your VIP Rewards books will remain in your library as long as you remain a member.

Check out our VIP rewards for this month here: https://www.audiobooks.com/vip-rewards

2. Upgrade your account

If you want the freedom to choose any available book, then upgrading your subscription to one where you get more credits each month might be a better option for you. If you go to your account page on our website, you can change your subscription level from one credit to two, or even three. That means if you add your VIP book choice to that, you get the chance to listen to up to four books a month!

3. a la Carte purchasing

Maybe you’re happy with your one + VIP book selection most months, but you’re going on a road trip, or your dream listen is out this month and you already used your credit. DON’T DESPAIR! When you find the book you want, look and see if there is a price visible. If there is, you can buy the book and own it outright! Easy!

4. Deals and Sales

Who doesn’t like saving money? Check out our deals and sales page here.

One way you can save yourself some hard-earned cash is by purchasing books at a discounted price in our a la carte sales. Oftentimes, you can save up to 80% off your books! You can add your books to the cart, pay via credit card, and get some awesome deals, saving your monthly credit for another listen. You can access sales on our website.

The other way to save is to take advantage of our deals that allow you to get two (or sometimes more) books for just one credit! You can access them via your app or on our site.

As always if you need assistance with any of these purchases, you can contact our support team who are always happy to help!

New to Audiobooks.com? Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

SHARE

Enrich Your Life With These Listens!

In celebration of Audiobook Month, we want to focus on the many ways that audiobooks add to our lives and make them better. Last week we chatted about how audiobooks can help you stay entertained. This week we’re highlighting how you can enrich your life with some noteworthy listens.

Why not give one of these life-changing titles a listen and add a little enrichment to your day? To see our full “Books That Make You Think” book list, click here. Also, don’t forget to visit our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram accounts, and use the hashtag #IListenFor to let us know why you love audiobooks. Lastly, don’t forget to enter our contest for a chance to win the ultimate audiobook lovers prize pack!

Inspiring Listens

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas, narrated by Karissa Vacker

Follow five different women in a small Oregon fishing town in a time when abortion is, again, illegal in America and every embryo is given citizenship under a “Personhood Amendment.” How do these women handle this new way of life and the challenges that come along with it?

Read more and sample the audio →


Room by Emma Donoghue, narrated by Suzanne TorenEllen ArcherRobert PetkoffMichal Friedman

Room is all five-year-old Jack has ever known, it’s his whole world. In reality, Room is where his Ma has been held captive for the last seven years by Old Nick. Room was made into an award-winning motion picture in 2015.

Read more and sample the audio →


Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor, narrated by Yetide Badaki

Kabu Kabu means “unofficial taxi,” which is fitting for this collection of stories from award-winning author, Nnedi Okorafor. Each short-story (or novella) included in this collection will take you to a new and exciting part of Okorafor‘s imagination.

Read more and sample the audio →


Award Winners


There There by Tommy Orange, narrated by Alma CuervoKyla GarciaDarrell DennisShaun Taylor-Corbett

There There is the debut novel from Tommy Orange, which follows 12 different Native American characters. Each character’s story is beautifully interwoven throughout the novel and it all coalesces at the Big Oakland Powwow. There There received the Gold Medal for First Fiction from the California Book Awards, the National Book Critics Circle Award’s “John Leonard Prize,”the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, and was short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize.

Read more and sample the audio →


The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, narrated by Bahni Turpin 

Cora is working as a slave at a cotton plantation in Georgia when she meets Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia. He tells her all about the underground railroad, which, in this case, is an actual railroad that runs beneath the ground. In this Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning novel, follow Cora as she discovers a new world at every train stop on her quest for true freedom.

Read more and sample the audio →


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, narrated by Bahni Turpin

Living in a poor neighborhood while attending a fancy prep school already has sixteen-year-old Starr Carter teetering between two worlds. This fragile balance is shattered when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Starr must then decide between speaking out for Khalil and staying quiet for her and her family’s safety. The Hate U Give not only won countless awards, but the audiobook also received the Audie Awards for Best Young Adult and Best Female Narrator.

Read more and sample the audio →


Diverse Listens


The Atlas of Reds and Blues by Devi S. Laskar, narrated by Jeed Saddy

The Atlas of Reds and Blues features a narrator known only as “The Mother” who moves with her family to Atlanta to start fresh but finds that racism is still running rampant. Eventually, a police raid of her house ends with her being shot. As she lies bleeding, she replays her life and tries to find out how she got there. Drawing inspiration from the author’s own experience of a raid on her home, The Atlas of Reds and Blues tackles what life is like as a second-generation American and a woman of color.

Read more and sample the audio →


Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala, narrated by Julia WhelanPrentice Onayemi

Speak No Evil follows the story of Niru who appears to have it all; however, he has a secret—he’s queer. Only his friend, Meredith, knows and keeps this secret. Once Niru’s father discovers his son is queer and Meredith is unable to provide support for him due to her own emotional stress, Niru’s future and everything he expected is thrown into chaos.

Read more and sample the audio →


Training School For Negro Girls by Camille Acker, narrated by Bahni TurpinJanina Edwards 

A compelling debut from Camille Acker, Training School for Negro Girls is a collection of short stories told from the perspectives of women of color about race, gender, family, identity, and more. These women navigate the pressures of society while also challenging the stereotypes of what it means to be black.

Read more and sample the audio →

New to Audiobooks.com? Get a free audiobook when you sign up for our one month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobook!

SHARE

Page to Screen in June 2019

Thinking of going to see a movie in June? Get the best experience by listening to the books they were based on before seeing the film & TV adaptations.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, narrated by Kate Mulgrew
Expected Release Date: June 2

Charles Talent Manx (Zachary Quinto) likes to take children for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the vanity plate NOS4A2. In the Wraith, he and his innocent guests can slip out of the everyday world and onto hidden roads that lead to an astonishing playground of amusements he calls Christmasland. The journey across the highway of Charlie’s twisted imagination transforms his precious passengers, leaving them as terrifying and unstoppable as their benefactor. Only one has escaped Charlie’s evil: her name is Vic McQueen (Ashleigh Cummings), she is grown up and craving revenge. Who will win this life-and-death battle, Vic or Charlie? This thrilling mystery debuts this June on Amazon.

Read more and sample the audio →

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, narrated by Caroline Lee
Expected Release Date: June 9

The first season was so suspenseful that it left us wanting more. What will happen next with this group of ladies who have become friends? Another murder, tragic accident, even more lies? Listen to the audiobook before watching the much anticipated second season of Big Little Lies which is back on HBO this month.

Read more and sample the audio →

Leila by Prayaag Akbar, narrated by Tania Rodrigues
Expected Release Date: June 16

This novel is a wonderful blend between The Girl in the Red Coat and Slumdog Millionaireand will be available on Netflix this month starring Huma Qureshi, Siddharth, and Rahul Khanna. Leila disappears on her 3rd birthday. Every year her mother, Shalini, kneels by a specific wall and buries 2 candles for herself and her husband. If Leila is found, she plans on going back and digging every single candle out of the ground. But will Leila ever return?

Read more and sample the audio →

Instinct by Howard Roughan & James Patterson, narrated by Edoardo Ballerini
Expected Release Date: June 16

A copy of Dr. Dylan Reinhart (Allan Cumming) novel about criminal behavior shows up at the scene of a gruesome murder, and it is found with a note from the killer himself. Will Detective Liz Needham (Bojana Novakovic) and Dr. Reinhart find the serial killer responsible for these murders? Instinct, based on James Patterson’s Murder Games, is returning for season two this month on CBS.

Read more and sample the audio →

Hamlet (Film Adaptation: Ophelia) by William Shakespeare, narrated by Frank Muller
Expected Release Date: June 28

Ophelia is an adaptation of Hamlet, told from (you guessed it!) Ophelia’s perspective. With Daisy Ridley in the titular role, This film adaptation is hitting theaters at the end of the month. If you’ve never listened to Shakespeare’s classic play or just need a refresher, Frank Muller’s performance of Hamlet is an excellent place to start.

Read more and sample the audio →

New to Audiobooks.com? Get a free audiobook when you sign up for our one month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobook!

SHARE