Twin Sisters Pen an All-Too-Plausible Dystopian America

Did you know today is National Siblings Day?

National Siblings Day was first recognized in 1998 and celebrated on April 10 every year since. Today we celebrate the strong relationships and unique bonds between siblings, and what better way to do that than honoring siblings who have written a book together?

Today we are featuring a wonderful fantasy audiobook, The Rule of One, written by twin sisters, Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders, and narrated by Karissa Vacker. The book started as a screenplay and eventually evolved into a novel, with Leslie, the younger of the pair, writing Mira’s chapters, and Ashley writing Ava’s.

In The Rule of One, identical twins Ava and Mira are secretly and illegally residing in the United States, which has instituted a strict one-child policy. Ava and Mira are trying their best to masquerade as the same person so their secret remains undiscovered. Unfortunately, it only takes a moment for their cover to be blown and their whole world turned upside down. What, exactly, will the twins have to endure to stay safe?

The Saunders sisters are currently developing their book into a TV series with producer Ginger Sledge (Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Miss Congeniality). The sequel to this book, The Rule of Many, is slated for release in the spring of 2019, so make sure to keep an eye out for it!

Publisher Summary:

In their world, telling the truth has become the most dangerous crime of all.

In the near-future United States, a one-child policy is ruthlessly enforced. Everyone follows the Rule of One. But Ava Goodwin, daughter of the head of the Texas Family Planning Division, has a secret—one her mother died to keep and her father has helped to hide for her entire life.
She has an identical twin sister, Mira.

For eighteen years Ava and Mira have lived as one, trading places day after day, maintaining an interchangeable existence down to the most telling detail. But when their charade is exposed, their worst nightmare begins. Now they must leave behind the father they love and fight for their lives.

Branded as traitors, hunted as fugitives, and pushed to discover just how far they’ll go in order to stay alive, Ava and Mira rush headlong into a terrifying unknown.

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STAFF PICK: The Lost Night by Andrea Bartz

Title: The Lost Night
Author: Andrea Bartz
Narrator: Kristen Sieh

Sometimes, a book can really sum up a particular time in history, or a feeling. When I had just finished university, two books really spoke to me. One was Generation X, by Douglas Coupland, and the other was The Graduate by Charles Webb. Both of these novels summed up the feeling of having been given opportunities, but not living up to them, and not knowing where to go next in life.

If you lived in Brooklyn in the late 2000s, then The Lost Night may very well be your “Zeitgeist” novel. Set in a time of mass unemployment and economic uncertainty, this dark “whodunnit” is a unique murder mystery, since you’re very much enveloped in the dark world that the characters inhabit, in addition to being wrapped in the mystery itself.

In 2009, Edie is a graduate with the world at her feet – or so it seems. From the outside, she has a supportive family, friend group, and is incredibly talented and bright. But one fateful night, she’s found dead – an apparent suicide, leaving her friends and family devastated. This brings the drug-fueled party lifestyle that her friends are living to an abrupt halt. Lindsay (the main narrator, and Edie’s best friend) is so anguished that she decides to disappear, from both Brooklyn and her friends, for a decade.

Fast forward ten years, and Lindsay’s life has changed dramatically from the hedonistic party lifestyle she once had. After a meet up with Sarah, another friend of Edie’s, Lindsay starts to suspect Edie’s death was not a suicide. After she discovers a disturbing video from the night in question, she becomes convinced that there was foul play. This is further backed up by the fact that Lindsay is unsure of where SHE was on that night, due to random blackouts. So she begins to investigate, which ruffles feathers, disrupts and breaks relationships, and ultimately, leads Lindsay to confront her own violent past.

The story is told mostly from the perspective of Lindsay, who is not a very reliable narrator, since we know that she cannot remember what happened. A few of the chapters are also narrated by other friends in the group, which adds perspective, but also confusion. This multiple-narrators format really lends itself to audio and reinforces the notion that Lindsay’s story alone isn’t enough to solve the mystery. Kristen Seih‘s narration (who narrates the Lindsay sections) really adds to the darkness and suspense of the story.

The end of the book has a great twist. Of course, I’m not going to ruin it for you, but because of the different perspectives that you hear the story from, you go from character to character, wondering if they are the murderer, or if it was ever a murder at all….

I would recommend this listen to anyone who was in their twenties in the early 2000s, and anyone who is a fan of Paula Hawkins or Gillian Flynn.

Publisher Summary
“Tightly paced and skillfully plotted, The Lost Night is a remarkable debut.”—Jessica Knoll, New York Times bestselling author of Luckiest Girl Alive

What really happened the night Edie died? Years later, her best friend Lindsay will learn how unprepared she is for the truth.

In 2009, Edie had New York’s social world in her thrall. Mercurial and beguiling, she was the shining star of a group of recent graduates living in a Brooklyn loft and treating New York like their playground. When Edie’s body was found near a suicide note at the end of a long, drunken night, no one could believe it. Grief, shock, and resentment scattered the group and brought the era to an abrupt end.

A decade later, Lindsay has come a long way from the drug-addled world of Calhoun Lofts. She has devoted best friends, a cozy apartment, and a thriving career as a magazine’s head fact-checker. But when a chance reunion leads Lindsay to discover an unsettling video from that hazy night, she starts to wonder if Edie was actually murdered—and, worse, if she herself was involved. As she rifles through those months in 2009—combing through case files, old technology, and her fractured memories—Lindsay is forced to confront the demons of her own violent history to bring the truth to light.

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STAFF PICK: The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

Title: The Hunting Party
Author: Lucy Foley
Narrators: Moira Quirk, Imogen Church, Elle Newlands, Morag Sims, Gary Furlong

When I was 12, my mum and I used to go to the library every week, and I would get four Agatha Christie novels, read them all in a couple of days, return them, and then pick out another four the following week. This was my first introduction to the mystery genre, and it lead me into becoming a big fan of everything mystery, thriller, and suspense.

I was intrigued by this book, because the premise seemed very like And Then There Were None, but apart from the idea of a group of people going to a remote house in the country, this psychological suspense thriller is quite different.

A group of old college friends spend every New Year’s Eve together. Now in their thirties, they have grown apart but still continue to plan this event (even though you get the feeling that for many of them, it’s not something that they want to be a part of). This year, they have chosen to stay in a secluded Scottish hunting lodge, which is the perfect place for them to unwind and reconnect with each other…in theory.

They arrive on December 30th, but within a day, a blizzard has trapped them inside the lodge, and by New Year’s Day, one of them is found murdered. But who did it? One of the other guests? A lodge staff member? Or one of the friends themselves?

Lucy Foley does an amazing job of creating characters who, on one hand, are sympathetic enough for you to identify with, but on the other, have enough secrets and faults to make you dislike them, and think that they might be the murderer. The chapters are narrated by a series of narrators, so you can’t be entirely sure that the accounts you are listening to are at all accurate. Not only do you not find out who the murderer is till the very end, you also aren’t entirely sure of the victim until part way through, which is quite an interesting twist on the “whodunnit?” theme.

In an almost Breakfast Club way, each character is quite different, and at points, somewhat stereotypically so. Miranda is beautiful, but troubled. Katie is seen as quiet and plain, but is hiding a secret. Emma seems like the perfect girlfriend and friend, but is she? Emma’s boyfriend, Mark, seems calm, but has a wicked temper, and Miranda’s husband Julien is certainly hiding something, but what is it? And what about the staff at the lodge? Heather, Doug and Iain? Who would choose to live in the middle of nowhere, unless they had something to hide or were running away from something?

The multi-narrator format of this book really lends itself to the audiobook format. It feels like a group of people are narrating an account of what really happened – which makes it even more spooky.

I truly loved this book. I went through the whole thing in one day, and didn’t want to stop listening. If you’re a fan of Ruth Ware or Gillian Flynn, this is definitely the listen for you. So far my favorite listen of the year!

Publisher Summary:

Everyone’s invited…everyone’s a suspect…

For fans of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a shivery, atmospheric, page-turning novel of psychological suspense in the tradition of Agatha Christie, in which a group of old college friends are snowed in at a hunting lodge . . . and murder and mayhem ensue.

All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.
During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.

They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.

Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.

The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.

Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.

Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?

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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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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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