STAFF PICK: An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendriks and Sarah Pekkanen

Title: An Anonymous Girl
Author: Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Narrator: Julia Whelan and Barrie Kreinik

After getting pulled into the deep end of The Wife Between Us fan base, I was ecstatic to hear that Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen were coming out with a new thriller, An Anonymous Girl (and devastated that I had to wait an entire year before I could listen to it). I always get anxious with anticipation whenever an author I love (or in this case, authors) comes out with a new audiobook. Will it live up to my expectations after being blown away by their first work? In the case of thrillers, will it follow a similar climax be too predictable? Of course, the very best suspense audiobooks are the ones we think we have figured out before being knocked off our feet and high horses.

When Jessica, a struggling makeup artist signs up for a psychology study conducted by Dr. Shields, she thinks she’s in for answering a few questions and collecting an easy check. But the questions are uncomfortably intense, and Dr. Shields is more interested in Jessica than she ever could’ve imagined.

The more Dr. Shields is inserted into Jessica’s life, the more paranoid she grows — but so does the money she’s being offered. A wicked game of cat and mouse is played throughout the book, which had me hooked right from the beginning. I was so pleased that Julia Whelan performed, as she did a fabulous job narrating The Wife Between Us. She speaks fluidly in a low, tantalizingly suspenseful tone. Having her paired with Barrie Kreinik made me extra glad I listened to the audio version of this book.

Each time I thought I had things figured out, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen threw me for a loop. Just as their last one did, this book kept me up into the wee hours of the night so I could finally get to the end. I was sad when I did, but one can hope that this powerful duo will return with another delicious thriller.

An Anonymous Girl.

Read more and sample the audio.

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STAFF PICK: Vox by Christina Dalcher

Post by Miranda Winter-Sayle

Title: Vox
Author: Christina Dalcher
Narrator: Julia Whelan

Imagine you could only speak 100 words a day. How do you determine the importance of every word? This is the decision that Dr. Jean McClellan and all female citizens of the United States must make every day, in the world of this debut novel.

Vox, by Christina Dalcher, is a precautionary tale of a possible future for the United States. Women are not allowed to speak more than 100 words a day – a law that is upheld by bracelets that emit an electric shock that grows worse with every word spoken above the limit. Women are not permitted to have jobs, read, or travel outside the United States.

(I reached the end of my own 100 words in the middle of the previous sentence. Of course, in the society in Vox, I would not be permitted to write this review at all.)

Dr. Jean McClellan is a cognitive linguist who was researching the reversal of brain damage that caused a person’s inability to speak. Her research abruptly ended when religious extremists took over the United States and the subsequent introduction of patriarchal laws forbid women’s participation in society. But when the president’s brother is injured, she is given a choice: regain her voice and continue her research to save one of the men responsible this new world, or refuse and face implicit consequences – in silence.

As a fan of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, I was incredibly excited to listen to Vox — and it did not disappoint. The premise is well-executed and the world that Dalcher creates is terrifyingly believable. Like The Handmaid’s Tale, Vox’s dystopia is in its early days, which allows the audience to witness the before and the after of the new world. The description of the evolution of modern day society into this universe was easily my favorite part of the novel.

Julia Whelan is a narrator I’ve heard before and she never fails to disappoint. Her tone perfectly reflects the anger that Dr. McClellan feels through the duration of the novel. She captures the somber tone of the novel expertly.

Vox was included on many most-anticipated summer releases lists, and now I understand why: its timely subject matter and original storytelling make it a compelling listen, and one I would definitely recommend.

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!

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STAFF PICK: Educated by Tara Westover

Educated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title: Educated: A Memoir
Author: Tara Westover
Narrator: Julia Whelan

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love coming-of-age memoirs almost as much as air. Reminiscent of one of my all-time favorites, The Glass Castle, Educated is a perfect example of the power of curiosity, ambition, and education.

Kept out of school by her survivalist family, Tara Westover didn’t experience her first day of school until she was 17-years-old. Growing up in the Idaho mountains, she spent her childhood preparing for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned goods, stewing herbs, salvaging metal, and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills” bag. Four out of the seven Westover children don’t have birth certificates. None of them have medical or school records, as the children were all born at home and rely on natural medicine made by Tara’s mother, courtesy of her father’s distrust in modern medicine.

After one of her brothers goes to college and returns armed with stories of the outside world, Tara was inspired to teach herself enough math, grammar, and science to get herself into Brigham Young University, eventually earning a PhD from Cambridge University. It was here that she learned about major world events like the Holocaust and Civil Rights Movement, but not without shock, judgement, and curiosity from her peers.

Tara’s storytelling abilities, beautiful and vivid, are powerful enough to make me feel as though I’ve met the characters and been to the locations in a dream:

my father was not a tall man, but he was able to command a room. he had a presence about him, the solemnity of an oracle. his hands were thick and leathery — the hands of a man who’d been hard at work all his life — and they grasped the bible firmly.

Narrator Julia Whelan does an excellent job of embracing the author’s thirst for knowledge, zest for life, and struggle to adapt to a new life while realizing that maybe you can’t truly go home again.

Sample the audio and get the whole story.

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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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